When you first go vegan, it may be easy to assume that eating out will become a trickier task! However, the happy reality is that major restaurants across the world are rapidly increasing their vegan offerings in response to growing consumer demand – and that includes ten of the world’s largest fast food chains.
Global restaurant chains such as Burger King, Domino’s, Starbucks, Subway and Taco Bell have all launched dedicated vegan menu items – whilst major players such McDonald’s are heavily invested in new product development.
Aside from menu items specifically designed for a vegan diet, many restaurant chains also serve ‘accidentally vegan’ foods. These items are inadvertently produced without animal products, and can be a convenient option next time you’ve got a hankering for fast food!
McDonald’s is arguably the most recognized fast food chain in the world, so when their product team decides to trial a McVegan burger – you know plant-based diets are on the rise.
The McVegan burger is currently being market tested in Finland, and consists of a soy-based patty topped with tomato, salad, pickles and vegan sauce on a sesame seed bun.
And in January 2019, McDonald’s revealed it’s trialling a McFalafel meal at stores across Sweden. Falafel ‘nuggets’ are made from chickpeas, parsley, garlic and cumin, and served with a pepper sauce. Fingers crossed this option becomes available internationally!
Whilst the McVegan and the McFalafel are not yet available in other markets, there are a number of ‘accidentally vegan’ options available at McDonalds, including:
- Hash Browns
- Side Salads
- Baked Apple Pie
- English Muffins
- Customised burgers ingredients such as: Sesame Seed Bun, Regular Bun, Pickles, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, Ketchup, Mustard, Tangy BBQ Sauce, Sweet N’ Sour Sauce
Editor’s Note: The fries at McDonald’s in the US are not vegan as they contain meat flavoring.
Subway is now the world’s biggest fast food chain, with 42,431 sandwich shops across 93 countries. Last year, Subway debuted the Vegan Delite at its stores in Finland – a sub served with a soy-based ‘steak’ patty, red onion, peppers, carrot, spinach, corn, chilli and garlic.
- Breads: Hearty Italian, Italian, Sourdough
- Salads: Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Peppers (Capsicum), Red Onions, Cucumber, Spinach, Olives, Pickles, Jalapenos, Guacamole and Avocado
- Sauces: Yellow Mustard, Deli Brown Mustard, Vinegar and Vinaigrette, Sweet Onion Sauce, Fat-free Italian Dressing, Buffalo Sauce
- Sides: Apple Slices, Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, Lay’s Oven Baked, SunChips Original
In most countries, Starbucks drinks menus can be made suitable for vegans with just a few minor adjustments – including the use of plant-based milks. And there are an increasing number of food options, too.
- Caffe Americanos
- Brewed Coffee (served black, or with plant-based milk)
- Ombre Iced Coffee (with plant-based milk)
- Java Chip Frappuccino (with plant-based milk)
- Matcha Lemonade
- Hazelnut Mocha Coconut Milk Macchiato
- Pink Drinks and Violet Drinks (with coconut milk)
- Protein Blended Cold Brew: Almond or Cacao
- Smoothies: Chocolate and Strawberry (with plant-based milk)
- Espresso coffee: Latte, Flat White, Long Black, Mocha, Caramel Macchiato (with plant-based milk)
- Charles Chocolates’ Caramelised Crisped Rice Bar
- That’s It Fruit Bar
- Vegan Superberry Acai
- Dang Sticky-Rice Chips
- Classic Oatmeal and Blueberry Oatmeal
- Macadamia Oat Cookie
- Emmy’s Organic Coconut Cookies
- Bagels: Plain, Sprouted Grain, Cinnamon Raisin, and Blueberry
And big news! In January 2019, Starbucks began trialing two vegan menu items across select stores in the UK. A vegan mac n’ cheese and an all-day breakfast burrito aligns with Starbucks’ commitment to increasing its vegan-friendly product offerings.
Whilst the name Kentucky Fried Chicken doesn’t necessarily lend itself to plant-based dining, even KFC has been trialing meat-free ‘vegetarian chicken.’ There are also several accidentally vegan options on the current KFC menu, including:
- Fries (which are cooked separately in vegetable oil)
- Corn on the cob (without the butter)
- Green Beans
- House Salad (with Golden Italian Light dressing)
Burger King/ Hungry Jack’s
Burger King is the second largest fast food chain in the world, and its Australian brand (Hungry Jack’s) recently launched a hugely successful vegan burger – which will now be a permanent menu fixture Down Under.
The Hungry Jack’s Vegan Cheeseburger features two veggie patties (made with carrots, peas, potato and peppers), vegan cheese, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and vegan mayo on a sesame seed bun. And in a recent development, Hungry Jack’s has launched a Vegan Breakfast Muffin throughout Australia. Select stores Down Under are also trialing a ‘Kinda Meat’ burger that is vegan-friendly, and incorporates a mock meat patty made to taste like genuine beef.
In addition to this ongoing product development, a Veggie Burger is also served at select Burger King outlets – which is suitable for vegetarians, and Burger King also has a number of accidentally vegan menu items, including:
- Fries (which are cooked separately in vegetable oil)
- Hash Browns (which are cooked separately in vegetable oil)
- Garden Salad (side)
- French Toast Sticks
- Dutch Apple Pie
Pizza Hut has over 16,000 outlets worldwide – and recently launched a vegan jackfruit pizza throughout the UK.
The Jack ‘n’ Ch**se pizza features a tomato base and dairy-free cheese, with sweet corn, red onion, peppers, BBQ jackfruit, and drizzled sauce.
Whilst we’re still awaiting the roll-out of vegan pizzas across other countries, the following Pizza Hut ingredients are vegan friendly:
- Bases: Pan Dough, All American Thin Dough, Flatbread Dough, Gluten Free Dough
- Sauces: Tomato, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Hot and Spicy Sauce, Hut House Seasoning, Low Fat French Dressing, Salad Bar Oils
- Toppings: Black Olives, Mixed Peppers, Mushroom, Red Onion, Sweetcorn, Green Chilli, Cherry Tomato, Jalapeno, Pineapple, Rocket, Spinach, Roquito Peppers, Caramelised Onions, Onion and Pepper Mix
- Salad Bar: Lettuce Mix, Mixed Peppers, Red Onion, Sweetcorn, Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, Shredded Carrot, Apple, Croutons, Tortilla Chips, Crispy Onion, Sultanas, Pickled Beetroot, Undressed Slaw
- Sides: Oven Cooked Chips and Onion Rings
And here’s a little mind-bender: The ‘bacon bits’ served at Pizza Hut within the UK are in fact vegan friendly!
Domino’s Pizza is available in at least 75 countries – and in Australia the chain offers a dedicated vegan menu, served with dairy-free mozzarella.
Vegan Avocado Veg, Vegan Margherita and Vegan Spicy Veg Trio pizzas have all been permanent fixtures on Australian menus since 2018 – and Domino’s has just launched an all-new Vegan Summer BBQ pizza locally.
More information about vegan-friendly ingredients can be sourced via the Domino’s website specific to your country. It’s also handy to note that Domino’s traditional garlic bread is vegan!
Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest ice cream chain – where you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a range of dairy-free ice creams and sorbets! Vegan-friendly flavors include:
- Blue Raspberry Fruit Blast Bar
- Lemon Sorbet
- Lime Daiquiri Ice
- Mango Fruit Blast Bar
- Strawberry Fruit Blast Bar
- Strawberry Sorbet
- Tropical Ice
- Horchata Ice
- Fruit Blast Drinks (Berry Pomegranate, Peach Passion, Strawberry Citrus)
Taco Bell has embraced the plant-based movement, and recently released a helpful guide detailing ‘How to Eat Vegan at Taco Bell.’ A number of tasty Mexican meals can be enjoyed at Taco Bell, with just a few simple adjustments:
- Crunchwrap Supreme (Add: black beans; Remove: seasoned beef, reduced-fat sour cream, and nacho cheese)
- Bean Burrito (Make it fresco)
- Power Menu Burrito – Veggie (Remove: cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, and avocado ranch sauce)
- Crunchy Taco or Soft Taco (Add: black beans; Remove: seasoned beef)
- Spicy Tostada (Remove: cheese, chipotle sauce)
Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in 1950, and now has over 11,300 locations worldwide! Last year, the company signaled its intention to add a vegan doughnut to their line-up, following significant customer demand.
Whilst we’re still waiting for our vegan slam dunk, there are a range of vegan-friendly snacks and beverages currently on offer:
- Hash Browns
- English Muffins
- French Roll
- Pretzel Twist
- Bagels (Cinnamon Raisin, Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Twist, Everything, Garlic, Onion, Plain, Poppy Seed, Salt, and Sesame)
- Turbo Shot
- Coffee (Original Blend, Dark Roast, Dunkin’ Decaf, Espresso)
- Peppermint Mocha Latte (with almond milk)
- Tea (blueberry, Raspberry, Early Grey, Peach, and sweet flavors)
With ten of the world’s largest food chains increasingly catering to our growing vegan market, you can be sure that adopting a plant-based diet has never been easier, more convenient or more enjoyable!
For more information on where to eat out, download our Vegan Starter Kit today.
(*As ingredients may change, it’s helpful to check the dietary information specific to your area.)