With veganism on the rise, there are now more plant-based food options available in supermarkets and restaurants than there ever has been before.
Fast food venues are also catching on to the surge in demand for plant-based offerings. As a result, people following a vegan diet can now choose from a wide array of fast food options.
Read on to discover 33 popular vegan menu items available in fast food outlets around the United States.
The following sections list some plant-based breakfast options available in a range of fast food establishments around the U.S.
1. Dunkin Donuts' Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
For a vegan breakfast on the go, try the Dunkin Donuts' Breakfast Sandwich, featuring the Beyond Sausage on an English muffin.
People interested in the vegan option can ask for the sandwich to come without egg or cheese.
Other vegan items on the breakfast menu include the hash browns and coffee with almond milk.
2. The Hardee's Beyond Breakfast Sausage
The Hardee's Beyond Breakfast Sausage biscuit is typically a vegetarian option.
A person can make it vegan, however.
They will need to ask for the patty on toasted sourdough bread or a tortilla.
3. IHOP hash browns and sides
IHOP have several vegan sides that people can combine to make a meal. For example, they can pair the vegan hash browns with sautéed spinach and mushrooms and a salad with avocado (with no dressing or olive oil).
They can follow this up with a serving of fresh fruit.
The sections below list some plant-based burgers available in fast food venues around the U.S.
4. Burger King's Impossible Whopper
Burger King use the famous Impossible Foods burger patty to make a plant-based version of their Whopper.
When ordering, ask for the burger without mayo or cheese and specify that the staff should prepare it away from any meat products.
Enjoy the Impossible Whopper with a side of garden salad (with a nondairy dressing), french fries, or hash browns. All of these sides are also vegan.
5. The Carl's Jr. Beyond Famous Star
Carl's Jr. use the Beyond Meat patty in this burger, which also contains lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.
Ask the staff to prepare the burger without mayo or cheese, and on a separate area of the broiler to the area they use to prepare meat products.
6. The Carl's Jr. 'Veg it' Burger
For a less meat-like option, choose any burger and ask the staff to "veg it." This means that they will remove or substitute the meat patty.
Consider adding a side of fried zucchini in place of the patty. Make sure to ask them to cook it on a separate fryer to the one they use to prepare meat products.
Also, don't forget to hold the cheese, mayo, and special sauce. Enjoy the burger with a side salad (without cheese).
7. Hardee's Original Beyond Thickburger
The Hardee's meat-free Thickburger contains the Beyond Meat patty with lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles, ketchup, and mustard. To make it a vegan option, order it without the mayo and in a lettuce wrap instead of the bun.
8. The Denny's Veggie Burger
Denny's use Dr. Praeger's veggie burger patty so that people can create a filling, plant-based meal. Build a vegan-friendly burger using the patty, a wheat bun, and a choice of lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapeños, avocado, and pickles.
Pair it with a side of fries, chips and salsa, hash browns, or seasonal fruit.
9. Johnny Rockets' Black Bean Burger
Johnny Rockets have recently added the popular Gardein black bean burger to their menu. The patty contains black beans, brown rice, bell peppers, and corn, and Johnny Rockets serve it on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce and tomato.
Add extra flavor with pickles, avocado, jalapeños, or grilled onions.
10. The TGI Friday's Beyond Burger
At TGI Friday's, the Beyond Burger in a challah bun is vegan. Ask the staff to hold the cheese and use a dairy-free sauce instead. The gluten-free bun is not vegan.
Other vegan offerings include the house salad with cilantro-lime dressing and the chips with guacamole and pico de gallo (without cheese and sour cream).
11. White Castle's Impossible Slider
White Castle's Impossible Slider comes with smoked cheddar cheese, but people who follow a vegan diet can order it without the cheese.
Vegan sauces include the smoky BBQ sauce, Nashville-inspired hot sauce, and regular hot sauce.
The following sections list some plant-based Mexican options available in fast food establishments around the U.S.
12. Chipotle's sofritas
Chipotle have traditionally been one of the more vegan-friendly fast food eateries, with many menu items being easy to "veganize."
Vegans can use their sofritas, or shredded tofu in a spicy marinade, in place of meat fillings in burritos, tacos, and salads.
Many of the toppings are vegan-friendly, including the:
- fajita veggies
13. Del Taco's Beyond Avocado Taco
Del Taco use seasoned Beyond Meat crumbles to create the Beyond Avocado Taco. The other ingredients include avocado, crisp lettuce, and tomatoes in a crunchy taco shell.
It is also possible to customize some of their Beyond vegetarian offerings to make them vegan. Simply ask the staff to make the Beyond 8-Layer Burrito or the Epic Beyond Cali Burrito without the cheese or sour cream.
Del Taco's crinkle-cut fries are also vegan.
14. Taco Bell's Bean Burrito
People can alter many of Taco Bell's items to be vegan. For example, they can order a bean burrito or other items "Fresco style" to omit the cheese and sour cream.
Use salsa, guacamole, or other salad items to make the burrito more filling.
The sections below list some plant-based pizzas available in fast food venues around the U.S.
15. The Domino's Pacific Veggie Pizza
The Domino's thin crust and gluten-free bases are both vegan, as is their tomato sauce. Top the base with a variety of veggies, or choose the Pacific Veggie Pizza without cheese for a filling meal.
16. Little Caesars' Veggie Pizza
Little Caesars' regular crust and tomato sauce are both vegan. People can build a plant-based, cheeseless pizza using a variety of their veggie toppings.
17. The Papa John's Cheeseless Pizza
At Papa John's, the pizza dough and tomato sauce are both vegan. People can load up the base with veggies and enjoy it with a plant-based dipping sauce such as garlic or BBQ. The plain breadsticks are also free from animal products.
Salads, noodles, and bowls
The following sections list some plant-based salad, noodle, and bowl options available in fast food eateries around the U.S.
18. Chick-fil-A's Superfood Side salad
Containing a blend of broccoli and kale, dried sour cherries, and roasted nuts with a maple vinaigrette dressing, this side salad is small but tasty.
The salad is already vegan, so no alterations are necessary.
19. The Panda Express Chow Mein
Panda Express make these stir-fried wheat noodles using onions, celery, and cabbage.
To add more filling fiber, order a side of "super greens," which is a medley of broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
20. The Panda Express Eggplant Tofu
For a more protein-rich option at Panda Express, choose the eggplant tofu. It contains tofu, eggplant, and red bell peppers in a sweet and spicy sauce.
Both the steamed brown rice and steamed white rice are also vegan-friendly options.
21. Panera's Baja Grain Bowl
This grain bowl offers a more healthful alternative to traditional fast food options. It contains cilantro-lime brown rice and quinoa, black bean and corn salsa, salsa verde, red grape tomatoes, and avocado.
To make it vegan, order it without the feta crumbles and Greek yogurt.
22. Panera's Baja Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Similar to their other grain bowl option, Panera's warm Mediterranean bowl features cilantro-lime brown rice and quinoa, arugula, red grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, diced cucumbers, hummus, and a lemon-tahini dressing.
A person can order it without the feta crumbles and Greek yogurt to keep it plant-based.
23. The Starbucks Lentil & Vegetable Protein Bowl with Brown Rice
For a more filling option at Starbucks, try the certified vegan protein bowl. It contains lentils, butternut squash, roasted tomatoes, brown rice, a lemon-tahini dressing, and sunflower seeds.
The sections below list some plant-based sandwiches available in fast food establishments around the U.S.
24. KFC's Beyond Chicken Sandwich
KFC's Beyond Chicken Sandwich was a sell-out success when the company launched it in 2019. However, it is cooked in the same fryers as the chicken, which some people may not consider vegan.
Other vegan items on the menu include corn on the cob and green beans.
25. The Quiznos Veggie Sub
At Quiznos, order a veggie sub on white or wheat bread. Vegan fillings include lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, black olives, and guacamole.
Ask the staff to leave out the cheese and opt for balsamic vinaigrette instead of the red wine vinaigrette.
26. Starbucks' Bagels
Starbucks offer a wide range of vegan drinks options containing soy, almond, or coconut milk — from their chestnut Praline Latté to their Classic Hot Chocolate.
People who follow a vegan diet can enjoy one of several bagels available here. Choose from the plain, sprouted grain, or cinnamon raisin bagel. Also, opt for a spread of avocado instead of cream cheese.
27. Subway's Veggie Delite and Beyond Meatball Marinara
Subway have recently started serving their Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub. Until now, vegans had relied on Subway for their classic Veggie Delite Sub on Italian bread or wheat bread (without cheese or mayo).
Some locations also stock the veggie patty, which is plant-based. Vegan-friendly sauces available at Subway include mustard, sweet onion sauce, fat-free Italian dressing, and the Subway vinaigrette.
The following sections list some plant-based savory snack options available in fast food venues around the U.S.
28. Auntie Anne's Pretzels
Auntie Anne's have several vegan-friendly pretzels on the menu. Try their original pretzel, sweet almond pretzel, or raisin pretzel. For a spicy kick, give the jalapeño pretzel a try.
When ordering, be sure to ask the staff to handle the pretzels with dairy-free tongs to avoid cross-contamination.
29. Chick-fil-A's Waffle Potato Fries
For a warm and filling option at Chick-fil-A, consider their Waffle Potato Fries. Cooked in canola oil, they are crispy yet tender.
Alternatively, try the hash browns, which are also vegan.
30. Wendy's Baked Potato with Chives
For a simple snack, the Baked Potato with Chives is one of the only vegan-friendly options at Wendy's. Be sure to hold the butter, cheese, and sour cream.
The garden salad — with red Italian dressing and no croutons — and apple slices are also vegan.
The following sections list some plant-based sweet bites available in fast food eateries around the U.S.
31. Baskin Robbins's nondairy options
Baskin Robbins offer a variety of "ice" and sorbet flavors that are suitable for people who follow a vegan diet.
For something a little more indulgent, try their nondairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or nondairy Chocolate Extreme.
32. Burger King's French Toast Sticks
For a sweet vegan option while at Burger King, consider the French toast sticks. The recipe is free from dairy products and eggs.
However, people who follow very strict vegan diets should note that there may be some cross-contamination in the preparation or cooking of these French toast sticks. Ask staff about minimizing this risk during cooking.
33. McDonald's Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
McDonald's is not the most vegan-friendly fast food outlet.
Its fruit and maple oatmeal, however — containing diced apples and a cranberry-raisin blend — is one of the few options suitable for vegans. To ensure that it is plant-based, ask for it without cream.
Why choose vegan?
People who choose to become vegan do so for a number of reasons, including:
- health reasons
- animal welfare concerns
- environmental reasons
- humanitarian purposes
Some research also indicates that those who eat a mostly plant-based diet have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who mostly eat meat. The study also reports that vegans have lower rates of diabetes and heart disease than people who eat meat and dairy.
A 2019 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association also supports the notion that those who eat predominantly plant-based foods have a lower risk of heart disease.
That being said, individuals who eat fast food regularly may not experience these health benefits, and this includes vegan fast food.
For optimal health, vegans should focus on eating whole foods and limiting their intake of processed and fast foods.
Studies also indicate that veganism could help the planet. A review comparing vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous diets states that "the vegan diet is the optimal diet for the environment."
Specifically, one 2013 study suggests that adopting a vegan diet could increase the amount of food available for human consumption, which could provide greater global food security and feed people in areas of famine.
The study reports that farmed animals consume 36% of the calories produced by the world's crops. When people slaughter animals for food, only 12% of those calories are available for consumption through the meat and other animal produce.
If people ate more plant-based foods directly, the study suggests that there would be more produce available to feed up to an additional 4 billion people.
People who follow a vegan diet can now enjoy more food choices than ever before. Many restaurants and fast food outlets now offer a range of vegan options — or at least menu items that can be made vegan with a few alterations and substitutions.
When ordering food, always confirm with the server that the items are free from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey.
The main advantage of adopting a vegan diet seems to be for environmental and sustainability reasons.
However, there are also several potential health benefits. To enjoy these health benefits, it is important to consume fast food and junk food in moderation.