As the number of people following vegetarian and vegan lifestyles grows, fast food restaurants across the country are adding more plant-based fast food options to their menus.
While salad is the most obvious choice for plant-based eaters, there are now lots of other options that pass the vegan food test. Read on to learn more about the best vegan fast foods available at your favorite quick-dining restaurants.
Whether it’s avocado toast sprinkled with hemp seeds every morning for breakfast or a ‘jar salad’ that you take for lunch, even the simplest of meals takes time to prepare.
And while your friends or coworkers might just order some fast food or takeout and call it a day, it can be a trickier choice if you’re following a vegan diet. According to dietitians, it’s possible if you follow a few key steps:
- Begin with a plant-based protein, such as beans, nuts, tofu, lentils, etc.
- Build your meal using veggies, fruits, healthy fats like avocado, and good starches
Here are some fast food vegan options that are readily available at many restaurants.
1. Plain baked potato
Order a plain baked potato from your favorite fast food restaurant and top it with lots of your favorite vegan toppings once you reach home. It is one of the best fast vegan meals that you can eat when you get those pangs signaling an increased appetite .
Many restaurants offer sofritas, which is essentially organic tofu that is braised with spices and roasted peppers. Its options are just about endless, and it’s perfect for making noodle bowls, salads, meatless burrito bowls, and even burritos or tacos. Order a sofritas burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, romaine lettuce, and fresh tomato salsa and you have the perfect spot of vegan-friendly fast food for lunch.
3. Fruit and maple oatmeal
Fruit and maple oatmeal — without cream, of course — is an ideal vegan fast food breakfast that you can take away from your favorite restaurant while on your way to the office.
4. Rice and black beans
Another simple but delicious fast food vegan option to order is rice and black beans. Ask for it topped with lettuce, guacamole, and pico de gallo and you’ve got a quick, easy, a healthy vegan fast food lunch to enjoy.
5. Pacific veggie pizza on a thin crust (no cheese)
While pizza is often a go-to fast food option, it’s usually loaded with cheese and not quite what you’re looking for when it comes to fast vegan meals.
A good option is a pacific veggie pizza on a thin crust and without cheese, which delivers lots of fiber and protein. Some restaurants are also offering vegan cheese, which can be an excellent substitute for plant-based eaters.
6. Vegan cobb salad
A vegan cobb salad is a great vegan-friendly fast food option, and most restaurants are able to accommodate some version of it. While the toppings can vary a bit, this one contains lettuce, green beans, grilled asparagus, roasted beets, cucumber, avocados, tomato, quinoa, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and almonds and is topped with a vinaigrette dressing.
7. Vegan burger
Almost every restaurant you’ll visit has some form of a vegan burger, often with a patty that’s quinoa or bean-based. You can top the vegan patty with just about anything you want, though the classic choice is tomatoes, lettuce, Dijon mustard, and pickles on a whole-grain burger bun. When it comes to sides, vegan fast food options that are also healthy can be challenging. This burger comes with a wedge salad, steamed veggies, or a hummus plate, offering even more great vegan fast food options.
8.Vegetarian black bean soup
Soup is another common vegan option at fast food restaurants — though be sure to ask whether there’s any dairy, which is often used to make soups creamy. The vegetarian black bean soup is always a good choice, containing black beans cooked in a spicy vegan broth with peppers, onions, cumin, and garlic. Make sure to have some ciabatta bread with your soup on the side!
9. Indonesian peanut sauté
This vegan fast food option is made with spicy rice noodles and peanut sauce, stir-fried with loads of veggies. To get a bit of protein, you can also add tofu to the dish.
When we think about vegan fast food options, we generally think about items from restaurants. But there are plenty of quick and delicious vegan meals that you can cook yourself, too.
10. Vegan mac and cheese
Vegan mac and cheese is having a moment, and no wonder! Soaked and blended cashews are perfect for creating a creamy base, while nutritional yeast – which has loads of good-for-you vitamins and minerals — lends a cheesy flavor. Throw in some almond milk, spices, and carrot for natural coloring and you’ve got a vegan take on a comfort food classic.
11. Black bean and sweet potato veggie burgers
These veggie burgers are both gluten-free and vegan. The burger patties are made with black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, millet, and oats. Top the patties with lettuce, ketchup, pickles, mustard, pico de gallo, and avocado and serve naked, in lettuce wraps, or on whole wheat burger buns.
12. Vegetable paella
Though this famous Spanish dish often includes meat or seafood, you can make it vegan by substituting chickpeas and extra vegetables — like broccoli and tomatoes — that pair well with brown rice.
13. Hummus quesadillas
These quesadillas use hummus instead of cheese, forming a healthy vegan meal. This is also a great option for anyone who can’t tolerate dairy but still wants to enjoy quesadillas. Fill the quesadillas with whatever you love most. We think sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and olives pair perfectly with the hummus.
Just because you’re following a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to be left out when your coworkers have their weekly lunch out. Nearly every restaurant offers vegan fast food options, including items like plain baked potatoes that you can top as you please, sofritas, pacific veggie pizzas without cheese, and a wide variety of different salads and plant-based burgers. Of course, there are also lots of quick and easy vegan fast food recipes that you can cook at home, too!