If you want to grab a bite with friends and family, sometimes deciding on a place to go can be stressful, and even more so if you’re a vegetarian.
Well, the good news is that vegetarianism has been a trend long enough that many of the most common chain restaurants have caught on.
There are plenty of vegetarian options to choose from at restaurants that you may think only cater to meat-eaters.
Check out our list of the best chain restaurants for vegetarians and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the variety of vegetarian menu items that exist, so the vegetarians in your group don’t feel limited to boring side salads.
No matter what you are in the mood for, one of these restaurants is sure to be close by and has nutritious, scrumptious, and filling options for vegetarians.
Even vegans can find something that satisfies their needs at most of the restaurants on our list.
These 13 chain restaurants are located across the U.S. and encompass a wide range of cuisines from Mexican to Asian.
Asian food is usually dairy-free and gluten-free, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
You can find a wealth of vegetarian and vegan options at P.F. Chang’s, from appetizers like spring rolls to main vegetable dishes like eggplant stir fry, vegetable fried rice, and miso ramen noodles.
We recommend the Ma Po Tofu dish with broccoli in a deliciously spicy red chili sauce.
Chipotle is a multinational Mexican fast-food chain specializing in burritos and burrito bowls with over 3000 locations in the U.S. alone.
The first location opened in Denver, Colorado, in 1993, serving burritos inspired by San Francisco’s Mission District taquerias founder Steve Ells frequented during his time living there.
Despite its fast-food designation, Chipotle’s menu breaks the mold by using fresh produce. It is very easy to make a vegetarian burrito as the only ingredient you leave out is the meat!
All veggies, salsas, beans, and rice are visible to customers who choose which ingredients they want in their burrito or burrito bowl.
By far the largest, most globally famous franchise on the list, Taco Bell has over 7,000 locations worldwide, serving a whopping 2 billion customers annually.
Taco Bell’s founder, Glen Bell, opened the first Taco Bell in Irvine, California, in 1962.
Taco Bell has excellent vegetarian and vegan options because their menu is customizable and offers options to substitute sour cream and cheese for pico de gallo, which is great for vegans.
Vegetarians can enjoy bean and cheese burritos, quesadillas, or tostadas.
Taco Bell is even testing out Beyond meat!
Founded in Missouri in 1981, Panera is a bakery and clean eating haven, incorporating fresh bread seamlessly into their healthy menu.
They have numerous vegetarian options, including sandwiches, soups, pasta, warm grain, and veggie bowls, and salads. Getting a whiff of the smell of freshly baked bread is enough to convince you to order a meal at Panera.
To be able to sample their delicious bread, we’d recommend a soup and sandwich combo, like creamy tomato soup with their decadent grilled cheese.
You might try a bowl of their ten vegetable soup and a Mediterranean veggie sandwich that is essentially a fresh Greek salad with hummus on tomato basil bread. Yummy!
The Cheesecake Factory
Cheesecakes aren’t the only vegetarian menu item at the Cheesecake Factory.
The Cheesecake Factory has a massive menu with ample vegetarian and vegan options in every section. In the burger section alone, there are three different veggie burger options, including a portobello burger, a rice and bean burger, and the latest Impossible Burger.
They even have a vegan Cobb salad that is full of roasted vegetables like asparagus, beets, and green beans, as well as avocado quinoa and farro.
Needless to say, you’ll cover all the nutritional bases no matter what you order, and you’ll leave more than satisfied. With their gargantuan portion sizes, you’ll probably get to enjoy your meal twice!
Olive Garden has plenty of vegetarian pasta and appetizer options, from classic marinara sauce bases to creamy Alfredo sauce.
You can also request pasta without meat and add grilled or steamed veggies instead. Whatever you order, it comes with all the vegetarian salad and breadsticks you can eat.
There are currently 900 locations of Olive Garden in the U.S., so don’t miss out on those endless salads and hot steamy breadsticks.
In case you were wondering, the breadsticks aren’t just vegetarian, they’re vegan! To achieve their buttery garlic bread crust, they use soy, garlic, and olive oil.
Noodles & Company
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, and Noodles & Company serves every variation of pasta you can imagine. Their menu indicates all the vegetarian options, of which there are dozens.
Their pasta dishes range from classic Italian cream and tomato sauces to American-style mac and cheese; they’re to Asian Pad Thai.
They even have a section dedicated to veggie-based noodles like zucchini-zoodles or cauliflower gnocchi.
Contrary to the notion of delis being meat-centric, Jason’s Deli has long been a favorite spot for vegetarians.
Not only can you find vegetarian soups and sandwiches, but their salad bar is unparalleled in its variety of lettuces, toppings, and dressings.
You could make a completely different salad every day for a week if you wanted to. Jason’s Deli quite literally has everything from soup to nuts!
If you want something heavier than a salad, we recommend the fully loaded baked potato that comes in different vegetarian varieties, including classic sour cream, cheese, and chives, and broccoli and cheddar. Just tell them to leave the bacon out of it. They’re always happy to oblige!
Le Pain Quotidien
Originating in Brussels in 1990, Le Pain Quotidien is a bakery and restaurant offering a wide variety of bread, upholding the meaning of its name (Le Pain Quotidien means “daily bread” in French).
The bread and pastries are very high-quality French-style offerings that use organic ingredients.
There are plenty of healthy and wholesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for vegetarians with everything from steel-cut oatmeal with fresh fruit and seeds to a delicious vegetarian bowl that includes Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, microgreens, and whole grains.
Originating in California, Blaze Pizza was founded on the premise that pizza can be a healthy and environmentally sustainable take-out meal.
Their pizzas have delicate, crispy, thin crusts with organic vegetable toppings. Best of all for vegetarians, their pizzas are 100% customizable
Their menu prompts you to build your own pizza from a selection of fresh doughs, cheeses, and vegetables.
They have something for every dietary need, so if you are a gluten-free vegetarian, you can choose between a cauliflower crust or a keto crust pizza. If you aren’t a fan of red pizzas, you can order a pesto or white pizza. They’re known for having great vegan pizza options!
We especially like the variety of finishes that include flavorful ingredients like balsamic reduction or fresh arugula.
TGI Fridays was founded in 1965 in New York and has been a staple happy-hour joint and family restaurant ever since, serving up classic American fare at accessible prices.
You might not associate classic American diner food with vegetarianism, but TGI Fridays has kept up with the times by adding vegetarian options to their menu.
They added a Beyond Meat meatless burger to their menu with the option to add the patty to a salad as a meat substitute.
Of course, vegetarians and vegans can agree with meat-eaters on one thing: the indisputable deliciousness of fries and onion rings, both available in mass quantities at TGI Fridays.