These days it’s becoming much easier to eat vegan at fast-food establishments. It used to be a stressful debate while on a road trip about where to stop off and eat, knowing what your limited options were. Or that fast-food urge most of us get after a night of drinking, just didn’t always mix with a vegan diet.
Well here are some ideas for eating vegan at fast-food restaurants to make ordering simpler!
1. Taco Bell
Taco Bell has a plethora of menu items that can easily be made vegan with the removal of shredded cheese and sour cream. Just politely ask for these items to be removed next time you’re ordering such items as the crunch wrap supreme, while also being sure to omit the shredded beef. Or you can order a bean burrito, crunchy taco or soft taco and ask them to make it a fresco. “Make it a fresco” are like the magical vegan words at Taco Bell, it pretty much equates to “open sesame.”
You could also order the power menu burrito that is vegetarian-friendly, and ask them not to include cheese, sour cream or avocado ranch sauce to make it vegan. Lastly on the menu, Taco Bell offers that could easily be modified is their spicy tostado without the cheese or chipotle sauce.
There you have it, the lowdown on ordering vegan from Taco Bell. The next time your friends have the munchies, you won’t be left out!
2. Burger King
Many of us know by now, because we often scour the land in search of a fast-food restaurant that has a veggie burger, well the proclaimed King of Burgers himself, has graced us with such a menu item. Just keep in mind this a veggie burger and NOT a vegan burger, but hey its a step in the right direction! And you got yourself a burger, fries and drink combo like everybody else!
If burgers aren’t your thing though, Burger King actually has several other menu items you can enjoy-that claim to contain no animal products. Hash browns and French fries are always at the top of your list for vegan-friendly items, but they also have French Toast sticks which are void of animal ingredients. Shocking right?! They’re probably not at all French toast if they don’t contain eggs or milk, so what are they really? Does it really matter? It’s something fluffy and delicious we can eat, we’re not going to ask too many questions beyond, “yeah can I have an order of French toast sticks and a medium fry?”
Another breakfast item you can order at Burger King that is vegan is the oatmeal if you request it be made with water instead of milk because it otherwise just contains Quaker oats and the brown sugar or maple flavor options the oats come as.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try Burger’s King’s Dutch Apple Pie-that is surprisingly totally vegan and totally sweet!
Lastly, if you’re really gonna be “that person”, you could order a Whopper Jr, hold the patty and hold the mayo, getting yourself a veggie sandwich, if this is really what you want. Just be prepared for some stares by the cashier.
For a fast food place, Wendy’s does pretty good on salads. They have an interesting variety, that as long as you make sure to order without any of the meat or cheese it may come with, and ask for a vegan-friendly dressing like one of the three vinaigrettes and you’ve got yourself a healthy, and somewhat substantial meal. Their house or Strawberry Fields Forever salads or tasty and sufficient.
Obviously, the fries are a no-brainer, and Wendy’s prides itself on cooking their natural-cut fries in vegetable oil. Be aware, however, there could be cross-contamination in the use of cooking oil for their fish and other meat products. If you want a healthier side than fries, Wendy’s does offer apple slices. Might seem boring but you know for sure they’re vegan!
Wendy’s also carries a baked potato, just be sure to order it without the sour cream or butter, and pair that with your salad and you have a pretty filling meal. This potato may be bland with the removal of those ingredients so get creative. Salt and pepper are your friends here, and honestly, I’d be that person who uses ketchup because otherwise, your options are rather slim. I know, I know, this is getting sad.
You can also get a veggie sandwich much like at Burger King where its basically the burger but without the patty, and it is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and hopefully plenty of mustard. You could also get really crazy and order the Frywhich, the same sandwich as before only this one includes fries. Just combine your whole meal into one hand-held item.
4. Pizza Hut
Eating vegan at Pizza Hut (or Dominos) is considerably more exciting than Wendy’s because you have far more options and basically get to make your own totally vegan pizza! Pizza Hut was one of the few things I really missed when I first went vegan. #pizzalsut
Let’s start by building your own pizza. You have crust options of Thin N’ Crispy, Hand-Tossed or Deep Dish, all differ in texture, but all delicious, and safe to order. As for the sauces you can opt for the classic marinara, a healthy go-to, or to add extra flavor and compensate for lack of cheese try the buffalo sauce. As for the toppings, go crazy with all the veggies you want! You don’t have to worry about your veggies being cross-contaminated here.
Other Pizza Hut vegan menu options are French fries or cinnamon sticks, skip the cream cheese frosting. You could essentially build your own vegan pizza at Dominos as well, but in addition, Dominos offers more than just pizza. You could order their penne pasta, hold the sauce, and ask for it to be served in a dish rather than the bread bowl to avoid any dairy and ask them to wild with all the veggie toppings for a more substantial meal.
Additionally, at Dominos they offer salads, two out of three which can be made vegan. Order their classic garden salad or the Chicken Apple Pecan, skip the chicken and cheese, and ask for an Italian, Cataline or balsamic dressing and you and your pizza are squared away.
5. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle is one of the best places to eat if you’re vegan! They have so many vegan-friendly options, so if you’re lucky enough to have a Chipotles near you, you’ll be in vegan heaven rather than fast food hell. And you won’t be leaving the restaurant feeling hungry, but instead of feeling full, satiated and not concerned about having consumed any animal products!
You can easily order sofritas, which is a tofu-based protein made with chilis, roasted poblanos and other spices, which can easily be used as a substitute for chicken, beef or pork. Another protein alternative is pinto beans with rice, a serving of these is a full serving of protein, and Chipotle’s rice and beans are made with onions, garlic, and seasonings, so they could be more accommodating to their vegan customers. How thoughtful of them!
In addition to ordering any tortilla and protein-based meal, be sure to include all the caramelized onions, bell peppers, lettuce, and tomato to get your fill of vitamins and flavor. Top off your burrito or taco with mild (tomato), medium (green chili) or hot salsa (red-hot chili), and guacamole because they are all vegan too. Be sure to try their corn salsa too if you like jalapenos!
6. Carl’s Jr.
Remember how I got your hopes up about Burger King’s veggie burger? Well, Carl’s Jr. has a VEGAN BURGER! As of 2019, they are the first fast-food chain offer a veggie patty completely void of dairy or eggs, called the Beyond Famous Star Burger! Just be sure to order it without mayo or cheese and you’ll be singing the praises!
But that’s not all they have!
At Carl’s Jr. you can also order the rice, beans and chip platter, hold the cheese. As for vegan-safe sides, they offer French fries, waffle-cut fries, hash browns, cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans if you ask them to hold the cheese, guacamole, and a side salad without the cheese, crotons or virtually any dressing as long as its not the Low-Fat Balsamic.
Unfortunately l you’ll have to avoid their deep-fried zucchini and onion rings if you’re a strict vegan, as the batter contains milk. But Carl’s Jr. really has come a long way in what it offers to vegans making ordering from their menu straight-forward and stress-free!
7. Dairy Queen
A place that literally had the word “dairy” in the name doesn’t sound like it should or would offer anything remotely vegan, but Dairy Queen does have a few things so we don’t go without, and they’re doing a lot better than Panda Express on those regards (whose food options that could have even been vegan-friendly are cooked in chicken stock. *glares in the direction of Panda Express*).
Dairy Queen has fruity slushies’ to quench your thirst and they come in Cherry Mist, Strawberry Kiqi Mist, Blue Raspberry, Lemon Lime, and Grape. Of course, like every restaurant on this menu, ordering a soda like Sprite, 7UP, Pepsi, Coke, or Dr. Pepper is always a safe bet.
If you happen to get hungry while you’re there you can always try their side salad with a balsamic, vinaigrette or Italian dressing. The sides they offer that they claim are vegan are French fries, onion rings, and hash browns, but if you want something a little healthier they do have bananas as part of their kid’s menu.
Eating vegan at Subway is super easy because the whole basis of this restaurant is that you get to customize your own sandwich. The only trick is making sure you pick out the right bread and sauce because the veggies are fair game.
To avoid honey, order an Italian bread, which is also void of eggs and dairy if you’re sticking a strict-vegan diet. If you’re not concerned with honey, 9-Grain wheat is an option too. For other bread options that are vegan approved, but not available in all stores, try the Sourdough or Roasted Garlic if you can! Or for a lighter meal, that’s less filling than a bread sandwich, try any of their flavorful wraps!
As an alternative to requesting every single individual veggie order the Veggie Delite (if it comes with cheese ask for it without). Or if you’re tired of your standard veggie sandwich ask for the Malibu Garden Patties, which are completely vegan, made with vegetables, herbs, spices, and whole grains. Don’t get the Malibu Garden Patty confused with the Vegimax Patties though, as those contain eggs.
As for the sauces on your sandwich, most of them are pretty vegan-friendly, such as yellow mustard, Deli Brown mustard, Sweet Onion Sauce, Fat-Free Italian Dressing, Vinaigrette, Buffalo Sauce, and oil and vinegar.
Usually, when we have a Subway sandwich we like to add a bag of chips to order. Try Classic Lay’s, Baked Lays, BBQ Lays or Original Sunchips. Or instead of chips, for a healthier side, ask for apple slices if they have them.
9. Taco Time
We started this list with a Mexican fast food place and were going to end it with some others. If you have a Taco Time (West, Northwest region) or if you’re in Idaho you’ll see Fiesta Ole, then it’s not too tricky to find vegan options or have vegetarian-friendly options modified to be made vegan from these places.
Among those items are soft or crisp bean burritos, without the cheese, Mexi fries (tater tots), Mexi rice at the Taco Time, or tortilla chips. Taco Time also offers a veggie burrito, that can be made vegan without the cheese. If you have a Sweeto Buritto in your area this rule applies to them as well (and their Veggie Avenger is seriously delicious!)
Taco Time’s guac is vegan approved as is their salsa fresco, salsa verde and salsa nuevo so load those on your burritos next time! And for dessert, you have a choice of apple empanada, cherry empanada or cinnamon twist!
There you have it. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be this daunting challenge, that frustrates you and everyone else when it comes to finding a place to eat and ordering food.