Fast Food Options for Vegetarians and Vegans

Annette McDermott
Arby's Apple Turnover
Arby's Apple Turnover

For most people, fast food options abound, but most restaurant menus are geared for meat eaters. However, many fast food joints offer foods that fit into a vegetarian and vegan diet.

Fast Food Options

The following list includes vegetarian and vegan selections from popular fast food restaurants. Egg and dairy items are included since they are eaten by lacto or lacto ovo vegetarians. Items that are vegan (no known animal products) are specified. Although French fries, other fried menu items are usually considered vegetarian, they may be cooked in oil also used to fry fish or chicken. Check with the restaurant manager to determine if cross-contamination is possible.

If you're vegan, opt for a balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing when choosing a salad. Vegetarians who eat dairy or eggs have a wider selection of dressings to choose from. Sodas, bottled water, coffee or iced tea are vegetarian and vegan. Milkshakes, cakes and cookies can be enjoyed by lacto ovo vegetarians but are not options for vegans or vegetarians. Most items on the following list are self-explanatory; those that aren't are described.

Arby's

Although Arby's is known for roast beef, there are several meat-free choices.

  • Apple slices (vegan)
  • Apple and cherry turnovers (vegan)
  • Side salad with or without cheese (vegan if no cheese)
  • Homestyle fries
  • Crispy onions
  • Garlic Parmesan chips (contains dairy)
  • French toast sticks

Burger King

Burger King fries
Burger King fries

If you're a vegetarian looking to "have it your way," Burger King has several choices for you:

  • Egg and cheese muffin, biscuit or croissant
  • French toast sticks
  • BK veggie burger (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Garden salad with or without cheese (vegan if no cheese)
  • French fries
  • Onion rings
  • Quaker Oatmeal original or maple flavor (vegan when made with water)
  • Pancakes (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Egg and cheese Croissanwich
  • Cinnamon roll (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Apple slices (vegan)

BK's English muffins, biscuits and croissants contain dairy.

Carl's Jr.

Vegetarians and vegans can choose from the following foods at Carl's Jr.:

  • Criss-cross fries
  • Bean and cheese burrito (contains dairy)
  • Cheese quesadilla (contains dairy and eggs)
  • Side of beans with or without cheese (vegan if no cheese)
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole or salsa (vegan)
  • Onion rings (contains dairy)
  • Fried zucchini (contains dairy)
  • Side salad with or without cheese (vegan if no cheese)
  • Hash brown nuggets
  • Biscuit (contains dairy)

Chipotle

Chipotle has many alternatives available to create a vegetarian or vegan culinary masterpiece . These include:

Chips and guacamole
Chips and guacamole
  • Soft and crispy tortilla (vegan)
  • Cilantro lime rice (vegan)
  • Black and pinto beans (vegan)
  • Sofritas -- seasoned tofu (vegan)
  • Chips and guacamole (vegan)
  • Fajita vegetables (vegan)

Jack-in-the-Box

Pair a side salad with black beans and roasted corn and you'll have a nice vegetarian meal from Jack-in-the-Box. Other choices include:

  • Black beans (vegan)
  • Broccoli and carrots (vegan)
  • Apple bites with caramel (contains dairy)
  • Roasted corn (vegan if no butter)
  • French fries
  • Hash browns and potato wedges
  • Spicy corn sticks
  • Stuffed jalapenos (contains dairy)
  • Side salad (vegan if no Ranch dressing)
  • Onion rings (contains dairy)
  • Pancakes (contains dairy and eggs)

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

KFC Coleslaw
KFC coleslaw

KFC is the last place you'd think of for vegetarian food, but in a pinch you can find some items.

  • House side salad (vegan)
  • Caesar side salad (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Apple turnover
  • Applesauce (vegan)
  • BBQ baked beans (vegan)
  • Biscuit (contains dairy)
  • Coleslaw (contains egg)
  • Corn on cob (vegan without butter)
  • Cornbread muffin (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Green beans (vegan)
  • Macaroni and cheese (contains eggs and dairy)
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy (contains dairy)
  • Potato wedges

Little Caesar's

Pizza loving vegetarians will rejoice when they find our about Little Caesar's meat and/or dairy free options.

  • Cheese pizza (contains dairy)
  • Cheese pizza with vegetables (contains dairy)
  • Vegetable pizza without cheese (vegan)
  • Crazy bread (contains dairy)
  • Crazy bread without cheese (vegan)

Moe's Southwest Grill

Art Vandalay vegetarian burrito
Art Vandalay vegetarian burrito

Moe's Southwest Grill is vegan friendly. You can watch them prepare your food to be sure you're getting exactly what you ordered.

  • Fried corn chips, taco shells and tortillas (vegan)
  • Tofu (vegan)
  • Black or pinto beans (vegan)
  • Art Vandelay vegetarian burrito (omit cheese and sour cream to make it vegan): Seasoned rice beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo in a soft tortilla
  • Unanimous Decision vegetarian taco (omit cheese and sour cream to make it vegan): Beans, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole in a soft or crispy tortilla
  • Super Kingpin vegetarian quesadilla (contains dairy): Beans, cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream wrapped in a soft tortilla
  • Julia Gulia vegetarian stack (contains dairy): Beans, cheese, pico de gallo and queso between two crunchy corn shells and wrapped in a tortilla
  • Ruprict vegetarian nachos (contains dairy): Beans, queso, pico de gallo and jalapenos, and black olives
  • Band Camp vegetarian burrito bowl (omit cheese to make it vegan)
  • Personal Trainer vegetarian salad (omit cheese and choose vinaigrette dressing to make it vegan): Chopped romaine lettuce, black olives, pico de gallo, beans, cheese, and cucumbers in a crispy tortilla bowl
  • Salsa (vegan)
  • Guacamole (vegan)
  • Seasoned rice (vegan)

Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company is a vegetarian and vegan's dream. They have a great selection of items that contain no animal by-products.

  • Penne Rosa (vegan without cream and cheese): Spicy cream sauce with tomatoes, penne pasta, mushrooms, spinach, Parmesan cheese, and feta cheese
  • Japanese pan noodles (vegan): Udon noodles with broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, sprouts, and sesame seeds in a sweet soy sauce
  • Wisconsin mac & cheese (contains dairy): Elbow macaroni mixed with cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, and cream
  • Pesto cavatappi (contains dairy): Pesto, garlic, mushrooms, cream, tomato, and wine blended with curly pasta
  • Bangkok curry: Coconut curry and vegetables with rice noodles, served over cabbage
  • Whole grain Tuscan fresca (vegan without cheese): Whole grain linguine with white wine, tomato, spinach, Parmesan cheese, and feta cheese
  • Indonesian peanut saute (vegan): Spicy peanut sauce stir fried with vegetables, lime, and crushed peanuts
  • Spaghetti with marinara (vegan without cheese)
  • Cucumber tomato salad (vegan)
  • Tossed green side salad (vegan with balsamic vinaigrette)
  • Buttered noodles
  • Tomato basil bisque soup (contains dairy): Contains tomatoes, cream, basil, sherry, and garlic
  • Thai curry soup (vegan): A coconut curry broth with vegetables and rice noodles
  • Margharita flatbread
  • Cheesy garlic bread

Papa John's

You can build your own vegetarian pizza using veggies you like at Papa John's or go with these options instead:

  • Garden Fresh veggie pizza with or without cheese (vegan if no cheese)
  • Spinach Alfredo pizza (contains dairy)
  • Cheese sticks (contains dairy)
  • Breadsticks (vegan)

Panera Bread

Panera Bread is known for fresh, wholesome food and doesn't disappoint vegetarians and vegans.

  • Classic cafe salad (vegan)
  • Greek salad (vegan)
  • Fruit cup (vegan)
  • Mac & cheese (contains dairy)
  • Vegetarian creamy tomato soup (contains dairy)
  • Low-fat garden vegetable soup (vegan without pesto)
  • Bistro French onion soup (contains dairy -- omit cheese and croutons to make vegan)
  • Pasta primavera (contains dairy): Noodles with blend of vegetables in a garlic lemon cream sauce
  • Tortellini Alfredo pasta (contains dairy): Tortellini made with three cheeses and topped with Alfredo sauce.
  • Fontina grilled cheese sandwich (contains dairy): Made with white cheddar and Fontina cheese, reduced fat onion chive cream cheese spread, and a four-cheese Italian blend
  • Mediterranean veggie sandwich (vegan without feta cheese): Peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro -jalapeno hummus on tomato basil bread
  • Classic grilled cheese sandwich (contains dairy)
  • Tomato mozzarella flatbread (contains dairy)
  • Soba noodle bowl with edamame (vegan): Soba buckwheat noodles with vegetables and edamame in a soy miso broth

Roy Rogers

Even though Roy Rogers excels at fried chicken and burgers, vegetarians on the road can still find something to eat.

  • Baked potato with or without butter (vegan if no butter)
  • Fruit cup (vegan)
  • Mashed potatoes (contains dairy)
  • Side salad (vegan)
  • Garden salad (vegan)
  • French fries
  • Macaroni and cheese (contains dairy)
  • Baked apples (vegan)
  • Biscuit (contains dairy)

Subway

Vegetarians who want to "eat fresh" can do so by creating a custom sub at Subway using any of the following ingredients:

  • Hearty Italian bread (vegan)
  • Honey oat bread (vegan)
  • White Italian bread (vegan)
  • Sourdough bread (vegan)
  • 9-grain wheat bread (vegan)
  • Wrap (vegan)
  • Cheese slices (American, Provolone, Swiss, Monterey, Pepper Jack, Cheddar)
  • Fresh vegetables (vegan)

These Subway selections are also vegetarian friendly:

  • Veggie Delite sub (vegan)
  • Veggie Delite salad (vegan)
  • Veggie patty (contains egg and dairy)
  • Cheese or Veggie Flatizza (contains dairy)
  • Cheese pizza (contains dairy)

Taco Bell

If you're craving Mexican food, Taco Bell has these choices:

  • Black beans (vegan)
  • Cinnamon twists (vegan)
  • Nacho chips (vegan)
  • Salsa (vegan)
  • Taco salad (substitute beans and rice for beef; omit cheese and sour cream to make vegan)
  • Bean burrito (omit cheese to make vegan): Made with beans, rice, red sauce and diced onions
  • Black bean burrito (omit cheese to make vegan): Prepared with black beans, Latin rice, red sauce, and three cheese blend
  • Seven-layer burrito (omit cheese and sour cream to make vegan): Includes rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole
  • Veggie cantina burrito (omit cilantro dressing to make vegan)
  • Crunch wrap (substitute beans for beef; omit cheese and sour cream to make vegan)
  • Tostada (omit cheese to make vegan): Includes beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, red sauce and chipotle sauce

Wendy's

Vegetarian options at Wendy's include:

  • Baked potato with or without butter (vegan if no butter)
  • Broccoli and cheese potato (omit cheese to make vegan)
  • French fries
  • Garden side salad (croutons contain dairy)
  • Chocolate or vanilla Frosty (contains dairy)
  • Apple slices

On-the-Go Options

At one time, meat-free food options were few at fast food restaurants. However, with a surge in the number of people going meat and/or dairy and egg-free, restaurants responded, and most have at least some foods for hungry vegetarians and vegans on the go. Besides the choices above, most restaurants will make a custom sandwich or dish upon request. Keep in mind that recipe ingredients sometimes change, so it's a good idea to check out restaurant websites from time to time or before leaving on a road trip to be sure items are still okay for your specific dietary needs.

Fast Food Options for Vegetarians and Vegans