12 Most Popular Vegetarian Items at Fast Food Restaurants
Demand? Meet supply: With more Americans eyeing a plant-based diet for healthy living, fast food restaurants are getting in on the action. Here's a guide to the tastiest options.
If you’re craving a quick-serve meal with south-of-the-border flair, Del Taco is the place to be. According to USA Today, they were the first national Mexican fast-food chain to put plant-based meat on their menu in all of their locations. Vegetarians are ecstatic over the Beyond Taco, featuring Beyond Meat flavored with the restaurant’s “signature seasoning.” Unfamiliar with Beyond Meat? According to the brand’s website, their plant-based products are comprised of “a unique combination of pea, mung bean, and rice proteins that provides a meatier texture that mimics the chew and juiciness of ground beef.” If you’re new to a meat-free lifestyle, these are the best vegan protein sources to stay healthy.
While Dog Haus serves up some delicious hot dogs, they introduced a line of plant-based menu items in November 2018. The top vegetarian “dog” is actually their Impossible Burger—a veggie burger made by Impossible Foods— with pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, white American cheese, and secret sauce; it’s served on a grilled King’s Hawaiian roll. Curious what exactly is in those impossible burgers? Find out.
Getting in on the meatless action is Blaze Pizza, the chain backed by NBA superstar LeBron James. They just added a vegan Spicy Chorizo as a topping option for their quick-fire pies. “We wanted to create a vegan protein option that could be enjoyed by all pizza lovers regardless of their dietary preferences,” Executive Chef Bradford Kent told VegNews. The chain also offers a vegan cheese option.
Recently, Taco Bell announced it would be testing a vegetarian menu—and the most intriguing entry is a Power Menu Bowl that you can customize with black beans, seasoned rice, and guacamole. Other options include a 7-Layer Burrito and Cheese Quesadillas, all of which join vegetarian items the chain has offered in select restaurants since 2015—Taco Bell was the first national chain to offer dishes certified by the American Vegetarian Association. Feeling hungry? These are some world-famous dishes vegetarians can finally eat.
In 2018, White Castle introduced a meatless version of its famous sliders. White Castle Impossible Sliders use the increasingly popular Impossible Burger patties in miniature form, shaped to mimic their classic beef patties. While the Impossible Slider started out in just 140 of the chain’s locations, it quickly exceeded projections, according to a press release, and was rolled out to the rest of their restaurants by September 2018.
In January 2019, Carl’s Jr. unveiled their Beyond Famous Star with Cheese, a meatless version of their traditional Famous Star with Cheese. This version features the vegetarian Beyond Burger patty paired with all of the classic fixings of the Famous Star, including lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, dill pickles, special sauce, and mayo, on their signature seeded bun. If you’re thinking about eating vegan, check out the things that will happen to your body.
Vegetarians and vegans can easily build a delicious burrito at Chipotle with its Sofritas—essentially braised tofu. For a four-ounce serving of Sofritas, you’ll get just 145 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Watch out for the sodium, though—they have 710 mg per serving.
True to its name, Veggie Grill’s menu is a mecca for hungry vegetarians. According to the company, a bestseller is the VG Beyond Burger made with the ever-popular burger by Beyond Meat. If you’re following a vegetarian lifestyle, be aware of any nutrients you may be missing out on.
In early April 2019, Burger King made a whopper of an announcement that they were kicking off a pilot program to introduce the Impossible Whopper (using the Impossible Burger) that seems to stand in nicely for the real thing. The chain is only testing the veggie burger at its St. Louis locations at the moment, but if things go well, you’ll be able to find it nationwide. According to the Washington Post, the Impossible Whopper actually tastes better than the original beef burger!
Unless you live west of the Rockies, you’ve probably only heard about these delectable burgers. In-N-Out is beloved— the fast-food joint has a drive-thru line wrapped around the block at all hours. Although the chain doesn’t have a veggie burger, vegetarians go all in on their Grilled Cheese, which includes a burger bun, cheese, special sauce, lettuce, and tomato. Every business has its secrets, but these are some tidbits fast-food workers typically won’t tell you.
The “sandwich artists” over at Subway make it easy for vegetarians to gobble up a quick lunch with their Veggie Delite. It’s piled high with a double serving of crisp vegetables and clocks in at under 400 calories; however, that’s before you add on any sauces or cheese.
The fast-food icon hasn’t really stepped up to the plate much in terms of vegetarian options, but since McDonald’s began serving breakfast all day, the most popular option for those in favor of a meat-free diet is an Egg McMuffin, sans the bacon and sausage, according to Spoon University. Unfortunately, this still leaves vegan meal seekers at a loss for options at the home of the Golden Arches, but with fast food big wigs like Burger King introducing plant-based sandwiches, there’s hope that McDonald’s will soon follow suit. Of course, there is a vegetarian option on McDonald’s secret menu.