9 Vegetarian and Vegan Fast Food Options to Try, Including Shake Shack's New Plant-Based Menu
These popular fast food chains have some great plant-based options, allowing you to enjoy a planet-friendly meal on the go.
When you're in a rush or on the road, fast food is always a quick, easy, and accessible choice. But long gone are the days of only being able to order a burger and fries. With the increase in demand for plant-based menu options, more and more companies are beginning to serve up some of their signature dishes planet-friendly style.
Whether you're driving across the country or need a speedy lunch for work, these vegetarian and vegan fast food options make it easy to be green. From KFC's new Beyond Fried Chicken to Chipotle's just-launched plant-based chorizo, here are some picks you should know about.
8 Vegan Fast Food Options to Try
1. Shake Shack
After an initial testing period at select New York City locations, Shake Shack has officially launched its first-ever plant-based menu at all U.S. locations. Both vegans and vegetarians can now enjoy three new offerings: the Veggie Shack, Non-Dairy Chocolate Shake, and Non-Dairy Frozen Custard.
The Veggie Shack burger features a patty made from a mix of mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, farro, and quinoa for a meaty texture. Better yet, it comes topped with American cheese, as well as crispy onions, pickles, and ShackSauce. There are animal-derived ingredients in the cheese, sauce, and bun.
Want a different burger option? Shack Shack also offers its 'Shroom Burger, which is a portobello mushroom patty stuffed with cheese.
The dessert options are entirely dairy-free and are made using The Not Company’s ("NotCo") proprietary technology.
McDonald's finally brought its McPlant burger to the United States! After a trial in England, it made its way to the U.S. to be tested in Irving and Carrollton, Texas; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana; and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California.
Made with a pea protein Beyond Meat patty, the McPlant is the chain's first time offering a faux meat burger in the U.S. (Note: While the burger is completely vegan in the UK, the U.S. version features non-vegan mayo and American cheese. The fries aren't vegan either, as they contain "natural beef flavor.")
The burger is currently available at select locations. Here's a full list on McDonald's website, but call ahead to ensure it's still available.
3. Panda Express
Panda Express previously partnered with Beyond Meat to introduce a plant-based version of its famous orange chicken, but it's no longer available. With that being said, there are still some options for vegetarians and vegans at Panda Express.
The Eggplant Tofu comes with a stricky sweet and spicy sauce, and there's also the Veggie Spring Rolls that are stuffed with shredded veggies and noodles and wrapped in a crispy vegan-friendly wonton wrapper. The Cream Cheese Rangoons contain cream cheese, but no crab, making them vegetarian-friendly.
4. Little Caesars
Little Caesars currently has two crusts (Original Crust and Thin N Crispy Crust) and one sauce (Marinara Sauce) suitable for vegans.
As for toppings, vegans will have to skip the cheese—there's currently no plant-based option available. As for other toppings aside from veggies, select locations may still have the option to enjoy the chain's vegan "planteroni," a meat-free pepperoni option made in partnership with Field Roast. Those cities include: Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Portland, and Detroit
5. Burger King
Burger King's Impossible Whopper has been a massive success, and for good reason. It's everything you love about their OG signature burger, sans the meat. You can order it as-is with mayo for a vegetarian option, or get it without for a vegan fast food option.
Not a burger fan? Burger King also has vegan-friendly French Toast Sticks, Hash Browns, and a Garden Side Salad (so long as you order it with no cheese or croutons).
Your next trip to Starbucks doesn't have to end at cookie butter lattes or cold brews. The Impossible Breakfast Sandwich is the classic breakfast sandwich everyone loves, only this time it's made with delectably savory Impossible Sausage. Unfortunately, it's only vegetarian; it's not vegan-friendly due to the cheese and egg it comes pre-packaged with.
If you're looking for a quick snack, the chain also has a Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box. You can also order one of the many vegan Starbucks drinks.
7. Taco Bell
Taco Bell's plant-based menu offers a wide variety of options that both vegetarians and vegans will enjoy. Try out the Veggie Power Menu Bowl or the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme for that signature Taco Bell taste with a plant-based twist.
If you're vegan, you can easily customize your order. Simply order any menu item "Fresco style," which automatically replaces the dairy (like mayo-based sauces, cheese, and sour cream) with diced tomatoes. You can also swap meat for beans for a vegan protein boost.
Chipotle makes plant-based eating on the go easier than ever. With the endless customizable options, you can make the bowl or burrito of your dreams in just a couple of minutes.
Besides the chain's famous sofritas (made from tofu), you can also try its new plant-based chorizo. It's made from freshly-grown peas and loaded with flavor from chipotle pepper, tomato, garlic, and smoked paprika. Or, stick with a classic beans, rice, and veggies combo.
9. White Castle
White Castle launched its Impossible Slider years ago, but it's still going strong. You can order it with cheese if you're vegetarian, without if you're not. And either way, you can get it with a side of fries.
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