Best Vegetarian Fast Food Choices

veggie burger

Best Vegetarian Fast Food Choices

Dining out is often a challenge for people with “special” diets, and a person who is a vegetarian or vegan is no exception to the rule. So what are some fast-food restaurants that – even if they don’t cater to vegetarians – offer decent meals that vegetarians can eat? Here are a few options, along with a couple to avoid.

Burger King Has Great Vegetarian Options

Burger King has several options for vegetarians. First of all, they offer the BK Veggie Burger which features a Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Patty. This sandwich has 16 grams of fat. However, this patty isn’t currently vegan-friendly.

Compare that to Burger King’s signature sandwich, the Whopper, which has 40 grams of fat. Even meat eaters will appreciate the relative healthiness in comparison.

But for 2019 they also have the recent Impossible Whopper launch which is about to go nationwide.

In August 2019, the meat-free Whopper rolled out to every Burger King in the U.S.

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The burger was developed in collaboration with Bay Area vegan startup Impossible Foods. The chain will decide if it will be a permanent addition to their menu.

Along with the US the Impossible Whopper will also ‘likely come to Canada’ sometime later in the year.

Upon trying the burger the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam said “I’ve tried the ‘Impossible Burger’, and it’s actually very tasty”, he wrote on his Facebook page.

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“This is a huge deal for those who want to see meat alternatives replace actual meat because of growing concerns over animal cruelty and or climate change. If this becomes increasingly popular, it could help save hundreds of thousands of animals from suffering on factory farms, and it could fight global warming by reducing the number of methane-producing cattle. It could also combat other problems like antibiotic resistance.”

The BK Veggie Burger from Morningstar Farms has 420 calories and 46 grams of carbohydrates, but the Whopper has 670 calories and 51 grams of carbs.

And if a diner loses the mayonnaise and ketchup and substitutes mustard, the BK Veggie Burger drops to 330 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 43 carbs.

But, of course, there are healthier options, as in the Side Garden Salad and BK Fresh Apple Fries.

The nice thing is that Burger King has a variety of vegetarian foods. Other vegetarian foods include onion rings, French fries, and Cheesy Tots.

Of course, you have to watch out for the high fat content on these offerings.

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Burger King isn’t the only fast food restaurant offering the Impossible Burgers. Before Burger King, White Castle partnered with Impossible Foods.

They offer Impossible Sliders which are available in all of White Castle’s 377 restaurants.

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Taco Bell Offers Fast Food Vegetarian Choices

Craving Mexican food? Taco Bell has a lot of vegetarian choices, and food can be custom made to suit the diner.

Foods that are already suitable for vegetarians are the Cheese Roll-up, the Crispy Potato Soft Taco, Triple Layer Nachos, bean burrito, tostada, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Pintos ‘N Cheese, and Mexican Rice.

The Fresco Bean Burrito is probably the healthiest option, with 8 grams of fat, 56 carbs, and 340 calories.

Compare the Fresco to the regular bean burrito which has 370 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 55 carbohydrates.

Other Fast-Food Choices

Wendy’s doesn’t have many options, but the restaurant does offer various side salads, Hot Stuffed Baked Potatoes (vegetarian choices are sour cream and chives and broccoli and cheese), French fries, and mandarin oranges.

Sonic has fewer choices, mostly side dishes. Vegetarian choices at the drive-in include onion rings, French fries, tater tots, apple slices with caramel dipping sauce, and bananas.

But there are no main dishes that are vegetarian, and both of the salads come with chicken.

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McDonald’s Offers Versatile Vegetarian Choices Outside the US

McDonald’s offers various vegetarian and vegan offerings expanding to it’s menu depending on your location. Earlier in the year they added a vegan burger option at its global HQ in Chicago.

The new McAloo Tikki – which is served in India – was introduced at the end of 2018. See recipe at the end of this post.

Outside of the US, McDonald’s offers vegan friendly veggie wraps and Happy Meals in the UK and vegetable nuggets in Norway. It also announced that it’s working on a meat free option for Australian customers.

In McDonald’s Germany and Israel, customers can get the big Vegan.

Currently only available in Sweden and Finland is the McVegan, which is a soy patty flavored with mushroom powder, onions and peppers.

Forbes reported that more than 160,000 people have signed a petition asking McDonalds to bring the McVegan to its American restaurants.

As of now in the US the fast food giant has yet to release a plant-based protein burger option the likes of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger.

Apparently their goals are to try to tailor its worldwide menu to include aspects of local cuisine and meet socio-cultural and religious dietary requirements.

Plant based foods are currently a key market area for food retailers, as in recent years there’s been a global increase in the number of vegans and flexitarians.

The vegan revolution is so widespread that it’s even making waves in places like Kenya, Mexico and in the UK. Data released in 2018 suggested that the number of British vegans had increased by 700 percent in just two years.

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For now here are McDonald’s Vegan Options in the US

The Veggie McWrap – Roasted corn, black beans, roasted tomato, poblano peppers, lime juice, lime oil, cilantro wrapped in a flour tortilla.

French fries obviously. Side salads – Salad dressings are Newman’s Own brand. The only safe dressing for vegans is the Low Fat Balsalmic Vinaigrette. The remaining dressings (including Italian) contain egg, milk, cheese, and/or anchovies.

Fortunately, McDonald’s no longer fries its French fries in beef tallow, or vegetarians would have few choices at the restaurant.

McAloo Tikki Vegetarian Burger Recipe
Author: Kavitha
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 Medium McAloo Tikki Burgers
Ingredients
  • For the Potato Patties / Aloo Tikki
  • 3-4 Medium or 2 Large Potatoes, washed & scrubbed
  • 1.5 or 2 teaspoons Salt (adjust as per your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar (optional – enhances the flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin (Jeera) Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala Powder (optional)
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 handful of Cilantro or Coriander, chopped finely
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch (cornflour) {Or Use Rice Flour or All Purpose flour}
  • 6 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Semolina / Rava
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • Others
  • 4 Burger Buns
  • Round Slices of Tomato
  • Onion Rigs / Onion Slices
  • Mayonnaise or Southwest sauce (look for eggless-vegetarian version)
  • Tomato Ketchup
  • Optional Ingredients
  • If you want to make the patties even more filling, you can smash some cooked peas into the mixture.
  • You can also add lettuce or cheese or use other sauces too. Typically, a McAloo Tikki won’t have them.
Instructions
  1. Cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker or steamer till they are soft but firm. If you insert a knife, it should go in and out of the potatoes without any trouble. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and mash them. You can use a potato masher, a fork or simply your hands.
  2. Add all the minced garlic, chopped cilantro (coriander), spices, cornstarch, bread crumbs and mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning, if required.
  3. Depending on the size of your burger buns, divide the mixture and make neat patties (Take a portion of the mixture, roll into a neat ball and then flatten it evenly to form a patty)
  4. Heat the oil on a pan (preferably non-stick) and add the patties on to the pan.
  5. Let them cook on one side for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Do not flip. When it is fully cooked and golden brown, it will release itself. Flip and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, slice the burger buns. You can toast them, if you want to. Apply the sauces of you preference.
  7. Place the patty on top. Add a slice of cheese, if you so wish, on top of the patty.
  8. Top the patty with tomato slices and onion rings. Apply sauce to the other half of the bun too.
  9. Close the burgers & enjoy!
Notes
  1. Do not make this on your grill. The mixture is too delicate and may disintegrate. Best option is to use a regular iron or preferably non-stick pan
  2. The spices are typical to the Indian cuisine. Feel free to play with the amounts and make your own customized McAloo Tikki Burger!
  3. Don’t add too much of breadcrumbs or the patties will be tough and wouldn’t have much flavor

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best vegetarian fast food choices