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The Healthiest Vegetarian Fast Food Orders

When you head to most fast-food restaurants, you may feel that the menus are predominantly targeted toward meat-eaters. Therefore, it can be pretty hard to dine out at fast-food joints if you’re a vegetarian.

Baked brussels sprouts, zucchini, pumpkin, carrots and hummus in a bowl.

Thankfully, fast-food chains cater to vegetarians far more than in the past. In recent years, the biggest fast-food joints such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell have begun adding further plant-based items to their menus. However, some of these options are still not awe-inspiring so many vegetarians just take one look, give up, and simply order fries.

That’s not to say there are not good vegetarian fast-food options out there, however. With more and more restaurants offering vegetarian fast foods, there is a growing number of food items that are not only tasty but also healthy and nutritious. Wait, fast-food and healthy? Yes, it is possible!

So, to find the healthiest vegetarian fast-food orders around today, we did some research. Below are some of the best, most nutritious, and healthiest vegetarian fast-food items available in popular chains and restaurants. No longer are these establishments stuck in their meaty pasts. They are beginning to see the needs of others and, thankfully, the menus continue to impress.

What is Vegetarian? 

As you know, vegetarians do not eat any meat. A Vegetarian’s diet is mainly based on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. Unlike vegans, many vegetarians consume dairy products such as milk as well as eggs. Some even eat fish but these are officially regarded as pescatarians.

Vegetarian fast food vegetable bowl

Vegans solely eat plants and fruits. It has been found that only 5% of American adults are vegetarians but this is increasing every year. With this increase, we are seeing more vegetarian fast food options emerging on the market. 

If you’re a vegetarian and struggling to find fast food options out there, read on as we count down the very best choices available right now.

Best Vegetarian Fast-Food Orders 

  1. Arby’s – Mozzarella sticks and curly fries
  2. Wendy’s – Sour Cream & Chive Baked Potato
  3. McDonald’s – Egg McMuffin
  4. Bojangles – Cheddar Bo, mac & cheese, and seasoned fries
  5. Panera – Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa
  6. Chick-fil-A – Waffle fries with Chick-fil-A sauce
  7. Taco Bell – Veggie Power Bowl
  8. Sonic Kid – Grilled Cheese
  9. Whataburger – Jalapeño Cheddar egg and cheese biscuit sandwich
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Arby’s – Mozzarella Sticks and Curly Fries 

Despite Arby’s slogan that reads “We have the meats,” there are some treats for vegetarians, as well as vegans, on the menu. If that slogan hasn’t scared you off yet, you should head to Arby’s and check out their side menu.

Here, you will find some delicious mozzarella sticks and curly fries. Golden and crunchy, they are exactly what we all crave when in need of a fast-food treat. 

Wendy’s – Sour Cream & Chive Baked Potato 

Next up is this vegetarian gem but, as with any gem, it is quite hard to find. Explore the menu in enough detail and you come across Wendy’s Sour Cream & Chive Baked Potato. 

Once you find it, there’s no going back. Because you won’t want to! If you want to enjoy a truly healthy snack with a range of vitamins and fiber, this is your golden ticket. 

McDonald’s – Egg McMuffin 

McDonald’s Egg McMuffins may be the perfect way to start any day. While these typically come with a sausage patty or a slice of bacon, you can ask for your McMuffin without any meat or, if you’re not a strict vegetarian, just remove the meat. You’ll still be left with an egg and cheese in a classic McDonald’s bun.

For the more ethical vegetarian, you should probably move on to the next option on our list. 

Bojangles – Cheddar Bo, Mac & Cheese, and Seasoned Fries

Bojangles may not be the first fast food joint you think of when ordering a vegetarian meal. However, hiding deep in the sides section of the menu, behind the endless chicken meal options, there are some meat-free items.

One example is the Cheddar Bo consisting of mouth-watering cheese and biscuit. Combine this with the creamy goodness of mac & cheese and Cajun-spiced seasoned fries and you have vegetarian fast food! 

Panera – Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa 

That’s right! Fast food isn’t all burgers, fries, and fatty foods. Good old-fashioned Greek salads can be considered fast food as well and, best of all, it’s pretty healthy! With added quinoa, Panera offers up this fiber and protein-rich meal that is bursting with flavors.

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While the salt levels are pretty high in this salad, it should keep you full for a good few hours until you move on to another vegetarian fast food.

Chick-fil-A – Waffle Fries with Chick-fil-A Sauce

When someone says “hey, I know a great place for vegetarian food – Chick-fil-A,” you’re probably not going to believe them. For a start, the fast-food joint has chicken in its name. However, you should never judge a book by its cover.

Check the sides and opt for the Waffle fries, they’re literally some of the greatest fast food french fries around.

Crispy and heavenly, these fries rocket into another hemisphere of deliciousness when you dip them into Chick-fil-A’s smoky sauce. To get some greens into the meal, add the Superfood Side. This contains dried cherries, broccoli, and nuts for a more balanced meal. 

Taco Bell – Veggie Power Bowl 

Okay, we’ll be the first to admit that Taco Bell’s vegetarian portion of the menu is pretty poor. But, as well as their meatless bean burritos, you can enjoy the vegetarian delights of their Veggie Power Bowl.

Although this bowl usually comes with chicken, you can ask for it to be left out. Just ask for black beans as substitutes. Or, ask for whatever ingredients you want. That’s the beauty of Taco Bell. 

Sonic – Grilled Cheese 

You can’t beat a good old classic like a grilled cheese sandwich. When you head to Sonic, this is pretty much the only vegetarian option on their menu other than some snacks and sides. But, this sandwich is not on the main menu.

Find the kid’s menu and this regular yet delicious grilled cheese delight will be waiting for you. If that’s not enough, add some small fries into the mix and you have yourself a tasty treat. 

Whataburger – Jalapeño Cheddar egg and cheese biscuit sandwich

While it may seem like sacrilege to go to a place with a burger in its name and not choose a burger, it can sometimes be the best decision you make on that day. As well as being famous for, you guessed it, burgers, Whataburger also boasts some incredible flaky buttermilk biscuits.

We strongly encourage you to pair this with jalapeno cheddar for the complete taste sensation. You could even go one step further and add some hash brown sticks to the meal. Sweet, spicy, and savory, this vegetarian fast food option has it all. 

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With the rising numbers of vegetarians in the country, it is no surprise that fast food restaurants are offering more vegetarian options on their menus.

But, as you can see, some of these joints have a long way to come if they want to match their meat offerings. But, at least vegetarians can now enjoy some fast food other than a piece of lettuce leftover from a friend’s burger.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.