Living vegan means living a lifestyle free of cruelty to animals by avoiding eating meat, dairy, and eggs. And although this may sound like a difficult task initially, you’ll be glad to learn that you don’t have to give up the convenience of fast food when you make that choice. Afterall, a lot of vegans are just like everyone else, and would prefer to choose a Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme over an organic kale and beet salad. So whether you’re wanting to truly enjoy your cheat day, or need to choose a restaurant that accommodates you and your non-vegan friends and family, here are the top five chain restaurants that offer delicious and filling vegan friendly options on their menus.
Vegan Friendly Chain Restaurants #5 – Olive Garden
In case you didn’t already know, this may be the best news you’ll hear all day.
The breadsticks at Olive Garden are vegan friendly!
Keep in mind though, this doesn’t mean they’re healthy. What many mistake for a cheesy and buttery topping, is really a blend of plant-based oils on these savory, addictive, and bottomless breadsticks.
Their minestrone soup is also vegan-friendly, delicious, and complementary to any pasta you choose. The restaurant now also offers a side of garden vegetables you can add to any of their dairy and egg free pastas.
Their list of vegan pastas include:
- Angel hair
- Gluten-free rotini
As of right now, their marinara and tomato sauce are the only vegan sauce options. For a full allergy list, click here.
Vegan Friendly Chain Restaurants #4 – Taco Bell
It’s cheap, they have a huge menu, and they cater to vegans! When you’re out on the road, or need something to calm down those drunk cravings after a night out, Taco Bell has always been your savior.
That doesn’t have to stop when you go vegan. You can customize nearly anything on their menu to suit your dietary needs. Just replace the meat with your choice of pinto beans, black beans, or potatoes. Or maybe all three! Then make sure to ask for no sour cream, or cheese. Add guacamole if you’d like.
A simple order that you can order in a pinch is a
- Bean burrito with no cheese and add potatoes
Or you can get a classic, a crunch wrap supreme ‘fresco style’, and then order a Baja Blast Freeze to enjoy after your meal.
Though Del Taco recently added Beyond Meat Meatless Crumbles to their menu, we’re giving this spot on the list to Taco Bell, strictly because of the restaurant’s ease of access and convenience.
Taco Bell locations are everywhere from college campuses to the sides of busy highways.
Some of their other vegan friendly options include:
- Cinnamon twists
- Seven-layer burrito *minus the cheese and sour cream of course*
#3 – Blaze Pizza
What about for those days when you’re craving a slice of pizza covered in gooey cheese and all your favorite toppings? While many build-your-own pizza chains are starting to carry dairy free cheese, very rarely will you find a place that also sells a ‘meat’ alternative to add to your pizza.
However, if there is a Blaze Pizza in your area, you’re in luck! Build your own pizza on one of their thin or high rise crusts and ask for their ‘spicy chorizo’. They also have a long list of veggies you can add to your pie.
The employees will also do a ‘glove change’ to avoid cross contamination if you ask for vegan cheese. For a more in depth list of their toppings and ingredients, click here.
#2 – Chipotle
Chipotle is another easy option, since you can find a location practically anywhere.
Build your own taco, burrito, or bowl from these ingredients:
- Cilantro white rice
- Cilantro brown rice
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Veggie fajitas
- Corn salsa
- Pico de gallo
- Red salsa
- Green salsa
If you’re craving something heartier than the veggie fajitas, the sofritas —tofu seasoned to spicy perfection— pairs deliciously with the cilantro white rice and is Chipotle’s most popular vegan protein.
#1 – Panda Express
Just this year, Panda Express announced that they would vegan-ize some of their menu items. This is a huge win considering last year, the only vegan friendly item was their steamed white rice. Everything else was previously cooked in chicken stock, from their vegetables to their chow mein.
But now, you can choose from:
- A hearty tofu and vegetables entre
- Veggie spring rolls
- Steamed white rice
- Chow mein
These options sound a lot more filling and flavorful, than just a simple order of rice, so the next time you need a quick meal, stop by their drive-thru and give these vegan-friendly items a try.