If you have enjoyed a vegan diet for any length of time, you understand the struggle of finding plant-based options on the go. Many fast food spots are overrun with meat and cheese on almost every menu item (why is there chicken on all of the salads?) leaving vegans to fend for themselves. Luckily, it is getting easier and easier to find vegan fast food options, as more people and businesses are embracing a plant-based lifestyle. Whether you’re on an epic road trip or are just overdue for a grocery run, these five restaurants chains have got your back–and your stomach.
As plant-based eaters know, sandwiches can be so much more than just meat and cheese. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch during a busy day, Subway is a fantastic option for vegan fast food. Its classic “build your own” counter-style service offers a wide array of veggies and condiments, giving you plenty of ingredients for a satisfying, nutrient-dense meal. Start with a Veggie Delite sandwich, and take care to avoid any breads that contain animal ingredients, like the flatbreads or any with “cheese” in the name. If you don’t consume honey, avoid the 9 Grain and Honey Oat breads as well. Add some vegan chips, sliced apples, or black bean soup to make it an extra filling meal.
This national chain is a healthy heaven for vegans who want a big meal that’s packed with flavor. With the new addition of spicy sofritas made from tofu, you can take your lunch to the next level with an extra punch of protein. Typically, Mexican-style cuisine contains tons of hidden animal ingredients like lard and dairy, but all of the non-meat and dairy items at Chipotle are completely vegan. This gives you plenty of choices from a big burrito to a crunchy and refreshing salad. One of our favorite dishes is the Sofritas Salad, topped with black beans, sofritas, fajita veggies, salsa, and of course, plenty of guacamole. Just make sure to skip the vinaigrette as it contains honey.
Known as carnivore territory, the Taco Bell menu is surprisingly accommodating to a vegan diet. At this fast food joint, the name of the game is substitutions. Most items, while not normally plant-based, can easily be altered, giving you a wealth of choices for a cheap meal that will cost you less than a cold brew. Their black and pinto beans are vegan, meaning that you can swap them out for meat on burritos, tacos, tostados, and more. Pro tip: order items “fresco style” to easily remove cheese and sour cream from anything. If you can’t decide what you want, a Fresco Crunchwrap Surpreme with black beans has a little bit of everything. And if you’re craving something sweet to finish your meal, Taco Bell’s beloved cinnamon twists are also vegan. How’s that for a surprising source of vegan fast food?
If you’re frequently on the go, chances are you need a little coffee in your life. While Starbucks drinks are famed for their sugary syrups and mountains of whipped cream (we’re looking at you, Unicorn Frappuccino) this global café carries soy, almond, and coconut milk, making it easy and delicious to get your cruelty-free caffeine fix. Starbucks also carries a few great breakfast options, which is a true rarity for American fast food. Try their classic or blueberry whole grain oatmeal or a bagel with avocado spread and a fruit cup to power up in the morning.
If you haven’t yet tried Bareburger, you must check it out ASAP. Contrary to its name, this regional, full-service restaurant chain is a delicious and clean-eating approved choice for plant-based eaters. They not only have one but four vegan protein options, with the famous Impossible Burger now available in NYC. Their plant-based items are plentiful and clearly marked, offering a stress-free dining experience. In addition to being very vegan-friendly, they also have a good number of gluten-free options, like the delish collard green bun. Some of our favorite items include the Guadalupe Burger, the Farmstead Burger, and the Cali Fresh Salad. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on the Cococado Shake. You won’t regret it.
What are your favorite vegan fast food options?
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