THE ULTIMATE VEGAN ‘FAST FOOD’ GUIDE AND BUSTING A&W’S BEYOND MEAT BURGER

My heart breaks just as much as you when I’m out with friends and wanting to indulge into something a little more fun than just…er…a kale salad. When I transitioned from being a vegetarian to vegan, I never thought I would ever step foot into a regular fast food joint ever again until I realized some places accidentally or not accidentally have vegan options. Not all drive-thru meals use beef oil either, or most have the oh so luxury of using a different grill if you just ask. Now here we are, just you and I diving into our not so cute paper bags to find what we can get our hands on. Just don’t eat all of the onion rings, I like those.

Burger King You can order items such as: French Toast Sticks, French Fries, hash browns, and Dutch Apple Pies.

Planta ( Burger) Take out Now this is cheating just a bit but this downtown all plant-based takeout joint can be just what you are looking for if other fast food joints ain’t cutting it. Home to 4 Temperance St – they’re the brother ( or sister) to the Planta restaurant on Bay Street. We recommended trying out the Crab cake burger, its like the filet-o- fish you can find at McDonald’s but waaay better.

McDonald’s Speaking of McDonald’s, there really isn’t anything suitable for vegans unless you are in the region of the McVegan burger. But, there are sauces such as BBQ dip, Sweet Chilli sauce, Sweet and Sour dip that you can use on one of their salads.  Their hash browns claim to be vegan-friendly if your mates are stopping for breakfast.

Panera Ooo, let’s bless up because they have sooo many options that will make your belly go cray-cray. You can bring home baked goods such as certain bagels like ( plain, blueberry, cranberry walnut, poppy seed, and sesame) French baguette and a hoagie roll. For lunch, you can have the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich just minus the feta and switch to a bread such as sourdough, sea salt focaccia, and rye. To go with that you can have their kettle chips as well or like mentioned a French baguette to dip in their black bean soup ( they say its vegetarian but its vegan friendly – don’t worry) If it’s the morning or you are having a light stomach day, you can grab their oatmeal with strawberries, pecans, and cinnamon crunch topping.

Chipotle There are multiple options you can choose from at Chipotle such as their soft flour tortilla ( burrito or taco), crispy corn tortilla, sofritas, all of their veggies, beans, rice, salsas and of course guac are vegan approved. You don’t have to miss out on their chips either.

Harvey’s Such as surprise! Harvey’s veggie burgers ( even the multigrain bun), onion rings and fries are vegan-friendly.

 Taco Bell You won’t have to miss out on Taco Bell’s bean burritos you just have to minus the cheese, sour cream and double check for any other lingering dairy products of course. We were pleased to find out that you can also munch on their plant-based Cinnamon Twists.

 Panago Pizza – Panago might have turned me a little bias since they did send me complimentary vegan pizzas to test out when they first released them. If you don’t know already you can still toast up to the warm cheese, when we have Daiya ( holla), even with four different sauces, crusts and vegan pepperoni. Joy to the world!

Dairy Queen  So you might not be able to snack on any of their products but on a summer day you can slurp on their dairy-free slush ( Arctic Rush in blueberry, raspberry, lemon-lime, grape + more) yes you can also add some fries on the side as well but don’t be such a bore.

Subway Sandwich Its super simple to order at Subway and so is their vegan options. Breads such as Italian, sourdough, hearty Italian and wrap. Besides all of those veggies, you can also top it off with sweet onion sauce, mustard, buffalo sauce, fat-free Italian dressing, vinaigrette, and deli brown mustard. Oven baked Lays are also an option to go with your meal too!

Thai Express It’s not all fabulous burgers, fries and maybe rainbows. You can have the Pad Thai, Fried Rice (flavors: basil, ginger, cashew nut, sweet and sour, soya garlic and lemongrass) Stir-fry pad salad and pad see-ew. Side note from Thai Express: their eggplant is cooked in the same vegetable oil as other proteins.

Tim Hortons On a chilly day, warm up to their harvest vegetable soup, savor their garden vegetable sandwich ( with no cream cheese) dive into their bagels ( plain, 12 grain, blueberry, everything bagel, cinnamon raisin) with peanut butter and jam and cruise with their potato wedges. They do have vegan-friendly bread too such as whole wheat, white, English muffin, and home style biscuit.

Starbucks With your vegan drink of choice, take our word when we say snag a plain, sprouted grain bagel ( or raisin if you choose) with their guac in a pack. I am telling you it will save you when you’re on the go needing a bite. There are a few other vegan snacks that linger before the counter so make sure you give a double take.

Basil Box All of their ‘ get started’ assortments are vegan, so you don’t need to be the slightest concerned. We recommend the coconut curry tofu for protein, classic peanut sauce ( though all of the other sauces are vegan-friendly too) and toppings to add to your box are limitless. Hey, their sweet mango rice parfait and Chiang Mai trail mix should come home with you too.

On the Road: Ikea is bringing multiple Swedish vegan treats to their locations such as soft serve and veggie hotdog but for now, you can have their organic pasta with marinara sauce, no cheese and veggie meatballs. If you are not feeling that, you can also try out their Moroccan Lentil Soup with Harissa.

BUSTING A MYTH: If you are a true vegan foodie, skip the Beyond Meat Burger “plant-based” at A&W. They use the same grill as their beef, bacon, and eggs as well the mayo they showcase is not vegan. You are left high and dry without many topping options. If you can’t create a proper vegan plant-based burger, and not use vegan mayo which is available, please don’t create it at all. There is no point. I’d rather pay more to try a proper vegan burger than be left with just ketchup, mustard and seasoning if I am lucky.

Vegan tip: if you don’t have to step foot into a non-vegan meat galore spot, there are so many resturants catered to this diet and lifestyle that need to make a living supporting your needs. Urban Herbivore is one of our favorites and like mentioned Planta is too.

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