You probably would not have thought to put vegan food and fast food in the same sentence. Well, we have a surprise for you! We listed a few of the options you can have when you are in a rush. Some of them are even gluten-free vegan restaurants that now only vegans can enjoy, those with leading a gluten-free lifestyle, too!
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. Some of the options you have are Whataburger Onion Rings, Jack In The Box Garlic Fries or even Newks Soup!
The main problem with fast food is that it is unhealthy. The vegan fast food options below address this problem and give you the choice of a healthy and convenient fast food alternative. Thankfully, plant-based foods are now a must for popular fast food joints.
Keep reading as we highlight our top choices of the 20 best places for a healthy bite.
21 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.
Most of these food chains are available across the country and offer a wide variety of vegan options for you to enjoy.
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!
The vegan market is expanding and so are the options. Baskin Robbins began with a few vegan flavors and then expanded their selection.
They now offer Chocolate Extreme and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. These flavors sold so successfully that Baskin-Robbins has added a third: Coffee Caramel Chunk.
So if you are craving some cold and chocolatey dessert you should check out Baskin Robbins’ vegan delights.
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. These are some pretty basic side dishes but Burger King are also supporting the vegan life in their main dishes.
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.
The Impossible Burger is a groundbreaking culinary invention that is pushing the limits of vegan cuisine. Thankfully these kinds of vegan options at popular fast-food chains mean that you won’t have to settle for just eating chips!
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.
As the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger is at the forefront of plant-based meat and is taking the nation by storm. For some people, it is too good to be true! The thick and juicy patties are a great culinary achievement and the perfect treat for hungry vegans.
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.
For a fast-food chain known for their grilled meat, Carl’s Jr now have some great vegan options.
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®
The Impossible Burger is appearing everywhere now! It is obviously the burger of choice for restaurants that want to cater to vegans and maintain a meaty aesthetic.
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!
Dining out with friends does not have to be a hassle when you go to the Cheesecake Factory. Their endless menu has many plant-based options that will ensure you have a healthy and ethically sourced meal.
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.
With many other fast-food joints offering vegan options it doesn’t seem long before even dairy-free ice creams will appear on the Dairy Queen menu. Fortunately, there are many other places to buy vegan ice creams that taste great.
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
The Denny’s vegan options also include the Beyond Burger. “After working with PETA to expand vegan options, Denny’s has added a Beyond Burger to menus nationwide. The burger is topped with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and pickles and comes on a multigrain bun” (PETA).
While Denny’s vegan options are not extensive they are updating their menu to accommodate different dietary requirements every year.
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.
It’s called Pollo Loco for a reason so if you want a proper hearty vegan meal you may want to look elsewhere.
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!
The IHOP vegan options are a testament to the delicious meals you can make with plant-based foods. They have plenty of vegan options for you to munch on. The rise of veganism can certainly be seen in the prevalence of plant-based meals that are now available at some of the most popular fast-food restaurants in the country.
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).
There are plenty of Olive Garden vegan options for you to enjoy. Italian restaurants are usually pretty good for vegans as long as you ask them to leave the cheese off the pasta.
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?
The vegan options at P.F Chang’s are healthy alternatives to their meaty meals. Some of the vegan meals have become popular even with non-vegans. They’re that good!
They also have a P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Buddha’s Feast and tofu lettuce wraps. So if you are looking for a quick vegan feast and you are craving Chinese food then you should consider heading to P.F. Chang’s.
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
Caribbean food is packed full of flavor and there is a great tradition of centering main meals around wonderful spices and fresh fruit or vegetables.
Pollo Tropical’s “Miami-based chain is now offering a vegan TropiChop and a vegan wrap with “picadillo” made from Beyond Meat (Miami). Clearly having ‘pollo’ in your name does not preclude your restaurant from having great vegan options.
Also, ask about their Balsamic Tomato and Vegetarian TropiChop®. Their meals are sure to fill you up and may inspire you to make your own vegan Caribbean food.
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.
They provide some easy plant-based snacks that are the perfect kind of uncomplicated treats you need at the end of the day.
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.
There are not many vegan options at the Red Lobster but the Dragon Broccoli is a delicious snack that makes the visit worth the time. The Ruby Tuesday vegan food can fill you up in no time at all. Their Endless Garden Bar is a great place to load up of fresh and healthy vegetables.
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.
You should also lookout for any of the seasonal snacks and drinks that pop up at Starbucks throughout the year. Their menu has quite a few vegan mainstays but there are also various plant-based options that are featured during Halloween and the holiday period.
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.
The customizable nature of the Subway menu means that you have control of everything that goes into your sub. You can fill your sub with as many vegan options that Subway offers. And they have quite a few plant-based options!
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.
Similar to Subway, the complete customization on offer means that you can stack your meal high with vegan-friendly ingredients. Taco Bell now has a dedicated nationwide vegan menu so that whatever state you live in you can enjoy some tasty vegan fast food options.
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.
In the next few years, the vegan options on offer at Wendy’s will likely expand as the plant-based population continues to grow.
21. Buca Di Beppo
This family-style restaurant is perfect for any event. From baptisms to weddings, every celebration will truly be memorable.
There are many vegan options you can choose from at this Italian restaurant chain, Buca Di Beppo. For your appetizer, start with the bruschetta, just remember to hold off the cheese. You can also order an off-the-menu dish, their Pasta Puttanesca (a must-try!) One thing we love about Buca di Beppo is that they are very a vegan-friendly restaurant. If you don’t like what you see on the menu, you can always ask for them to customize your dish. They offer a great selection of ingredients that are certified vegan so you don’t have to worry!
Swing by Buca Di Beppo San Antonio today.
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!