When you think of eating vegan you probably think no meat + no dairy = NO FUN. Being vegan means you can’t eat anything with animal products as an ingredient–no eggs, no cheese, no meat, and very little junk food or fast food. No more late-night binging on pepperoni pizza and milkshakes. No more fettuccine alfredo, no more mac n’ cheese, and no more Java Chip Fraps from Starbucks. I began eating vegan just two weeks ago for my health. I’ve always had a suspicion that I’m lactose intolerant, but I could never commit to a week without dairy to test out my theory. That is until I decided that indulging in dairy was less important that finding out if I’m really lactose intolerant or not. So far, I’ve really enjoyed eating vegan. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, and I’m eating much more consciously than I was before. I feel healthier and less lethargic. But there is one draw back, and it’s breaking my little vegan heart. No more fast food. No more Taco Bell, Del Taco. No more burgers. But as it turns out, that isn’t totally true. You don’t have to completely delete fast food from your diet. With just a few tweaks, you can continue to indulge in your favorite fast food places once or twice a week and still stick to your commitment to eat vegan.
No one is denying that their nacho cheese is a crucial part of what makes Taco Bell so amazing. I’ll take nacho cheese on everything and anything, please. But for vegans, that sadly isn’t an option anymore. But there are still ways to veganize your favorites at Taco Bell. Let’s start with the Crunchwrap Supreme. This amazing piece of fast food engineering has beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes in it, and it’s as heavenly as it sounds. To make it vegan, try this: ask for no beef, no nacho cheese, and no sour cream. Add black beans, and you’ve got a delicious vegan Crunchwrap. In fact, you can make anything at Taco Bell vegan by removing the meat, sour cream, and cheese and instead adding black beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole or avocado. Asking to make your order fresco means they’ll remove the cheese, sour cream, and any creamy sauces and replace them with pico de gallo. Not only does this make it easier to make your food vegan, it also practically cuts the calories in half! Try a Seven-Layer Burrito, making sure to request no sour cream or cheese. Taco Bell also has items on their menu that are vegan without requiring any changes. Try their cinnamon twists, chips, or their black beans and rice side.
The world is split between Taco Bell lovers and those who prefer Del Taco. Thankfully, they both offer vegan options, so we no longer have to choose between one or the other. Del Taco is a little bit different, however, because this taco joint actually offers vegan meat–Beyond Meat. Beyond is a protein-packed substitute for meat that you can get in tacos and burritos at Del Taco. The Beyond Avocado Taco is vegan as is. It comes with Beyond Meat, fresh avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes. Or maybe try the Epic Beyond Cali Burrito, the Beyond Taco, or the Beyond 8-Layer Burrito, just make sure to ask for no cheese and no sour cream. If Beyond Meat is not your thing, you can replace meat with beans in any of the burritos and tacos and voilà! Vegan Del Taco. More great news: Del Taco’s fries and hash browns are 100% totally vegan.
Sometimes you just need a burger. No judgment here because as I write this, I’m drooling. I love a good, meaty, cheesy burger. It’s one of the simplest pleasures in life. But jokes on me! Finding a good vegan burger is hard. But Burger King is trying their best to change that. Burger King has recently debuted their Impossible Whopper–made with Impossible Foods’s plat-based patty. This burger is vegan-friendly, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and ketchup and mayo on a bun. So if you ask for no mayo, you’ve got a vegan burger! But be aware, these patties might just be cooked on the same grill as their non-vegan counterparts. So keep that in mind! Hold on, though, because there’s more. Burger King’s French Toast Sticks (which are freakin’ amazing) are vegan, as are their fries, hash browns, Dutch apple pies, and their garden side salad. Maybe none of these items interest you like a juicy burger does, but it’s good to know you can get an apple pie that’s both quick, vegan, and delicious.
Carl’s Jr. has always been my go-to hangover cure. I’m talking a Western Bacon Cheeseburger with fried zucchini and lots and lots of ranch. But those days are over. Or are they??? Select Carl’s Jr.’s are now selling Beyond Burger patties, which means you can substitute this patty in any burger or sandwich you want. Their Big Hamburger, when ordered with a Beyond Burger patty, is totally vegan as it’s ingredients are simply the patty, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard on a sesame-seed bun. The Beyond Famous Star is also vegan with just one tweak: ask for it with no cheese or mayo. You can also ask for any burger or sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of served on a bun for a gluten-free and lower calorie option. And get this! Both the regular fries and the criss-cut waffle fries are vegan. As are the hash browns, pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, and guacamole. Wait, Carl’s Jr. has beans and rice?
Being vegan is quite a commitment. Whether you’re doing it for ethical purposes or for your health, being vegan doesn’t mean you don’t crave meat and cheese. I know I do! But it’s never been easier to stick to your commitment and still indulge in yummy fast food. Comment down below your favorite ways to eat vegan at your most-loved fast food places!
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Recent college graduate, avid reader, lover of music and all things Yankees. Collector of pins, patches, and records.