You probably would not have thought to put vegan food and fast food in the same sentence. Well, we have a surprise for you!
A number of restaurants offer vegan fast food options. This is especially helpful when you have a million things to get done in a day, and could do without having to prepare a vegetarian meal from scratch.
Keep reading as we highlight our top choices of the 20 best places for a healthy bite.
20 Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants
If you are worried about how nutritious eating vegan fast food actually is, you don’t have to be. They might not all be vegan fast-food chains with drive-thrus, but here are 20 fast-food or fast-casual restaurants with vegan options you can consider.
1. Baskin Robbins
Let’s start with something we all love, desserts!
You may be doubtful; does Baskin Robbins have vegan options?
The answer is a resounding YES!
2. Burger King
The king of the Whopper, Burger King, has several items you can try. These include French toast sticks, hash browns, and the garden salad.
And you’re not going to believe it, but the fast-food chain known for flame-grilled beef burgers is going vegan.
Burger King partnered with plant-based startup Impossible Foods to create the new meatless option using the Impossible Burger (a plant-based patty). Currently, it’s being tested in about 60 locations but will be rolled out everywhere later this year.
The Impossible Whopper is a flame-grilled vegan patty topped with:
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced onions
It’s on a toasted sesame seed bun—but to make it completely vegan, hold the mayonnaise.
If you’re wondering: is Burger King apple pie vegan? Yep, go ahead and indulge in this dessert option too!
These days, you CAN call yourself a Burger King Vegan.
3. Carl’s Jr.
Another fast-food chain that is known for grilled meat! However, enter the Carl’s Jr. vegan burger. There are a few locations, which offer a vegan Beyond Famous Star burger featuring the Beyond Burger patty.
Make sure that while you are dining on Carl’s Jr. vegan options, you request that no mayo or cheese be added to these items. If you are avoiding any gluten, you can also lose the bun and get it wrapped in lettuce.
Typically, to stay vegan at Carl’s Jr. you can stick to the sesame seed bun, onion, pickles, tomato, and lettuce.
4. The Cheesecake Factory
When the name of a restaurant contains the word “cheese”, any vegan might be skeptical. But if you have ever been to The Cheesecake Factory then you know their menu is over 20 pages long. How could you not be vegan at Cheesecake Factory with all the dishes they offer? Don’t worry, you can, even if it means making some modifications.
Cheesecake Factory vegan options include:
- Soy-glazed edamame
- Vegan Cobb salad
- Kale and quinoa salad (sans parmesan)
- Evelyn’s Favorite pasta (hold the butter and cheese)
- Falafel salad (skip the feta)
- Impossible Burger®
Their kitchen also uses black beans, mushrooms, couscous, faro and brown rice in the veggie burger. Replace the cheese and mayo with avocado for creaminess!
You can start with the vegan protein option, Sofritas. This is seasoned and slightly spicy tofu. If you’d rather skip the tofu, go with straight-up veggies.
Then, choose any of the following items to go vegan at Chipotle:
- White or brown rice
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Any salsa
6. Dairy Queen
You may not expect vegan fast food at a place with the term “dairy” in it.
Does Dairy Queen have vegan options?
Alas, there are no non-dairy ice creams on the menu at Dairy Queen yet. However, if you love cold drinks, then try a Dairy Queen vegan Slush. There are many flavors for you to check out, including:
- Cherry Misty Slush
- Strawberry Kiwi Misty Slush
- Blue Raspberry Misty Slush
- Lemon Lime Misty Slush
- Grape Misty Slush
Note: most of the smoothies have yogurt in them, and cannot be classified as a Dairy Queen vegan smoothie.
If salty vegan snacks are necessary to compliment your drink, try the fries, hash browns or onion rings.
The Denny’s vegan options more than got you covered! You can try out their:
- Vegetable plates
- Fresh fruit
- English muffins
- Vegetable sandwiches
- Garden salad with vinegar dressing or light Italian dressing
Also be sure to check out their Fit Fare® Veggie Skillet (no egg, of course).
8. El Pollo Loco
Pollo is certainly not vegan. But, on your next trip to El Pollo Loco, you can choose items such as:
- Corn on the cob
- Pinto beans (they’re not made with pork!)
- BRC burrito
- Chips and guacamole
For most El Pollo Loco vegan options, order the original (such as the Pollo Bowl) and then sub avocado for the “pollo”, add beans and hold the cheese.
Getting a vegan breakfast is no problem at this popular breakfast chain. Opt for some of the following vegan options at IHOP:
- Sautéed spinach or mushrooms
- Fresh fruit cup
- English muffin
Potato lovers have three vegan options at IHOP:
- Hash browns
- Baked potato
- French fries
For those craving hot cereal: try the oatmeal with any fruit and nut topping or syrup (except the Butter Pecan flavor). Also, remember, that coffee at IHOP is vegan as well!
10. Olive Garden
There are no shortages of vegan diet food options at the Olive Garden. You have various salads to choose from on the menu, just hold the cheese and croutons. Go for simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. The Olive Garden house dressing has cheese in it, and the croutons are not vegan.
But what we are all probably wondering here is: “Are Olive Garden breadsticks vegan?!”
Not only are they free, but the Olive Garden breadsticks ARE vegan.
Some of the Olive Garden vegan menu pasta choices include:
- Angel hair
- Small shells
To accompany your pasta, top it off with the traditional marinara or tomato sauce (both are classified as Olive Garden vegan food).
They also have soups, dairy-free minestrone, or steamed broccoli. Ask your waiter to share with you any number of vegan fast food options on the menu.
11. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
There certainly are vegan options at P.F. Chang’s (thank goodness!). You will have no problem getting most of your orders altered to suit your vegan diet.
P.F. Chang’s vegan options include:
- Vegetarian lettuce wraps
- Chili garlic green beans
- Buddha’s Feast
- Shanghai cucumbers
- Coconut curry vegetables
I’d say that’s a good lot of vegan appetizers and vegan dinner right there, no?
They also have a P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Buddha’s Feast and tofu lettuce wraps.
12. Pollo Tropical
If you love Caribbean food, then why not try Pollo Tropical vegan options.
On the Pollo Tropical vegan menu you can sample:
- Boiled or fried yucca
- White rice
- Black beans
Also, ask about their Balsamic Tomato and Vegetarian TropiChop®.
At Quiznos, you CAN get vegan to-go food. The Quizno’s vegan menu includes items such as an herb wrap, wheat vegan bread, garden salad or a veggie-filled sub.
14. Red Lobster
If you dine at Red Lobster, you can order the sea-salted French fries, rice pilaf, plain baked potato or the Dragon Broccoli. This comes with fried chili peppers.
15. Ruby Tuesday
If you love salads, then you must have heard about the Endless Garden Bar at Ruby Tuesday. It is practically an all-you-can eat, but for vegans.
You can grab more than just a coffee to go at Starbucks.
This coffee chain has a number of vegan fast food options that you can try (based on location). Starbucks vegan options include:
- Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend
- Multi-grain bagel
- Avocado spread
- Blueberry oatmeal
- Vegan Superberry Açaí
- Vegetable protein bowl with brown rice and lentils
But of course, if you are just there for the coffee, there are a plethora of vegan Starbucks drinks.
All the hot or iced coffee at Starbucks is vegan. Need the creaminess of a milk alternative? Try one of these three vegan options at Starbucks: soy, coconut or almond milk.
There’s a way to make most of the popular beverages at Starbucks, vegan.
Starbucks Vegan Hot Chocolate: ask for soy, coconut or almond milk, and no whip cream.
Starbucks Vegan Frappuccino: order with soy, coconut or almond milk, and no whip cream or java chips.
Starbucks Vegan Latte: try soy, coconut or almond milk, but no caramel drizzles for you.
So, we know that Subway is known for its subs, which you can customize. However, they also have many pro-vegan options as well. These include the Black Bean and Malibu Garden vegan subs.
Plus, they have gluten-free bread.
18. Taco Bell
You will not run out of vegan options at Taco Bell. You can order right from the menu and know that it is already customized for vegetarian consumption.
Some of the Taco Bell vegan menu items include the Veggie Cantina Power Bowl and Black Bean Burrito without the cheese. In addition, you can order:
- Mexican rice
- Black or refried beans
- Cilantro rice
Also, you can customize the Mexican Pizza, Crunch Wrap Supreme, and any of the tacos for a vegan option at Taco Bell.
19. TGI Friday’s
This fast-casual restaurant is known for its sports bar type atmosphere. However, TGIF Friday’s has vegan fast food options, which you can try. The spinach & artichoke dip platter is good. It only has red bell peppers, sautéed onions, Romano, artichokes, and fresh spinach.
You can try the Caesar salad or Million Dollar cob (hold the cheese on both). Then there is the buffalo sandwich (hold the chicken) or have just guacamole and tortilla chips, as your nachos.
The Beyond Burger is another vegan option at TGI Friday’s. You can have them substitute the bun with a challah bun or lettuce. Remember to tell your waiter no cheese, and use dairy-free sauces, dressings and opt for cilantro-lime dressing and balsamic vinaigrette.
Here you can simply remove the meat from your burger, to get a vegan-friendly meal. Complement your meal with some French fries garden side salad or a baked potato.
You can also order the veggie sandwich option, right from the cashier at Wendy’s.
Buy Fast Food With Vegan Options From Your Favorite Restaurant
As you can see, many of the popular fast food joints are now carrying items, which you can safely consume on your vegan diet.
Some dishes may require modifications such as removing cheese or mayo.
This is definitely a step in the right direction.
Who knows, ten years from now, there might be some popular vegan chains across the North American continent. And they would carry more than just a few options!
Eating healthy vegan food is a great way to live a healthy life.
However, it is good to know that on our busiest of days, we can easily venture into our local restaurant and order up vegan fast food options.
Are there any vegan fast food restaurants in your area, where you can get vegan fast food options? Which ones?
Share your comments below!