Originating as a small-scale bakery out of founder Evelyn Overton’s Detroit basement in the 1940s, the Cheesecake Factory got its big start as a brick-and-mortar bakery in Los Angeles a few decades later.
Spearheaded by Evelyn’s son David Overton, the first Cheesecake Factory Restaurant opened in Beverly Hills in 1978 under the premise of a scratch-made American menu where the dessert items were as plentiful as the savory items.
Over 40 years later, The Cheesecake Factory has expanded to three continents with over 100 restaurants and counting. Known for its massive 250+ item menu that spans the American culinary spectrum and, of course, includes over 30 varieties of cheesecake.
With such a robust menu, The Cheesecake Factory has something for everyone, including vegans. So while you might be skeptical that vegan items exist at a restaurant famous for its indulgent dairy-laden desserts, you can lay any doubts to rest.
The following list reveals a wealth of Cheesecake Factory vegan items that will surely delight and satisfy meat and dairy-free customers.
Avocado toast has been all the rage in recent years.
Since Cheesecake Factory is based out of California, the largest producer of avocados in the US, you better believe they caught onto the craze before the competition!
Their avocado toast is a lot more elaborate than smashed avocados on bread.
Cheesecake Factory’s Avocado Toast starts with thick artisanal bread slathered with a heaping portion of fresh avocado, then topped with arugula, radish, red onion, marinated tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon.
The ultra-rich creamy avocado complements the acidic tart garnishes and super-crunchy crusty artisanal toast.
Vegan Cobb Salad
If a Cobb salad lacks egg, bacon, and bleu cheese, is it really a Cobb salad? It is in the Cheesecake Factory’s definition.
They don’t try to imitate the animal products that define an original Cobb Salad recipe.
Instead, they create an entirely different concept for a vegan Cobb salad that takes inspiration from an original Cobb Salad plating.
The Vegan Cobb Salad contains everything but the kitchen sink!
It starts with a bed of mixed lettuces over which lie a rainbow of raw and cooked veggies, seeds, nuts, beans, and grains that are then drizzled with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.
The Cheesecake Factory started with a black bean and rice burger for vegetarians, but when the Impossible brand debuted, they quickly incorporated it as a heartier, meatier second vegan option.
The Impossible Burger is as close to meat in taste and textures as you can get, with nearly the same amount of fat and protein.
Cheesecake Factory serves the Impossible Burger on a vegan brioche bun with all the classic veggie fix-ins like lettuce, pickles, tomato, onion, and their special sauce, which is a vegan 1000-Island dressing.
They now offer vegan cheese to make it an Impossible Cheeseburger upon request. A burger this good will make a vegan out of the staunchest meat lover.
Check out other popular plant based burgers if you’re a fan of this one!
The Pasta Pomodoro is a new menu item at Cheesecake Factory and a naturally vegan option.
Pasta Pomodoro is a traditional Italian pasta dish of spaghetti and marinara sauce.
Cheesecake Factory makes all sauces and dishes from scratch, using fresh spaghetti, house-made marinara sauce, cherry tomatoes imported from Italy, and fresh basil.
This simple dish is fresh and flavorful. The whole cherry tomatoes add a nice juicy pop of flavor and texture, and the basil wilts into the mix, infusing its sweet, distinct flavor evenly throughout the dish.
Plus, with the Cheesecake Factory’s massive portions, you can take some home for some of the tastiest leftovers.
Guacamole & Chips
As far as appetizers go, guacamole and tortilla chips reign supreme.
You don’t have to go to an authentic Mexican food restaurant to get it, either. Guacamole is by its nature a vegan option, consisting of avocados, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and lime juice.
The Cheesecake Factory dolls their guacamole up and makes it more authentic with the addition of fresh chiles and cilantro.
It also comes with a serving of sour cream and fresh tomato salsa. You can simply ask for extra salsa instead of sour cream to make it a fully vegan appetizer.
Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta
Founder and beloved Cheesecake Factory muse Evelyn Overton’s favorite meal happens to be vegan!
Well, almost, as it does have parmesan cheese grated over the top – but you can ask to exclude the cheese. Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta made vegan consists of spaghetti filled with broccoli, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, kalamata olives, onions, garlic, peppers, and fresh herbs.
It’s a bright and healthy taste of spring in one large, colorful bowl. To add some extra spice, you can request that the parmesan be substituted with red pepper flakes.
I especially loved the pop of salt and umami that you get with the kalamata olives. The veggies and spaghetti are also delightfully al dente.
There are dozens of ways to eat a potato, but most of us can agree that French fries take first prize.
French fries are universally loved and always a perfect option for crunchy, greasy potato decadence. They also happen to be vegan.
Cheesecake Factory offers both russet potato fries and sweet potato fries, fried to perfection with super crisp outer layers ceding into steaming hot, pillowy innards.
You can get them as a side dish to your veggie burger.
You can also order them to share as an appetizer. However, no one will judge you if you have a heaping plate of French fries as your main dish.
The authentic Greek salad has no lettuce.
The Cheesecake Factory’s Greek salad is an Americanized version, consisting of tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, feta, and kalamata olives cut into thick chunks over a bed of mixed greens, drizzled in an herby, lemon vinaigrette.
To make it vegan, simply ask for the Greek Salad without feta. It’s a clean, healthy option for a starter.
You could also order it accompanied by a healing plate of French fries. One healthy and one fried dish cancel each other out, anyways, right?
If you want to bulk up the salad a bit, you can ask to swap out the feta with avocado to still get a creamy and hearty element in an otherwise light salad.
Little House Salad
A small starter salad, the Little House Salad is a simple green salad akin to their tossed green salad, with mixed greens, julienned carrots, sliced tomatoes, and the dressing of your choice.
It’s important to consider that not all salad dressings at the Cheesecake Factory are vegan.
The vegan salad dressings available at Cheesecake Factory include lemon vinaigrette, shallot vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, French mustard, Thai Vinaigrette, and Skinny Mustard Vinaigrette.
This simple palate cleanser will whet your appetite for the main course.
While meat-eaters may think that the best vegan products try to imitate meat, most vegans think the opposite.
They’d rather enjoy a plant-based diet that highlights the wide range of flavors that exist outside of the meat and dairy realm.
For vegans uninterested in the meat-simulating qualities of an Impossible Burger, Cheesecake Factory’s veggie burger will hit the spot. They make their veggie patty out of brown rice, farro, mushroom, black beans, and onions.
The meatiness and heftiness of the mushrooms and black beans pair perfectly with the chewy and flavorful whole grains, delivering a wonderfully flavorful and texturally appealing burger.
The veggie burger usually comes with melted Fontina cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo on a toasted bun.
You can ask for vegan cheese or swap the cheese for avocado to make it vegan. Instead of mayo, ask for their special vegan sauce.
A wildly popular bar snack at Japanese sushi restaurants, edamame is cooked fresh soybeans served in their pods with a dusting of sea salt. You can get them hot or cold.
They’re an even healthier and more protein-packed bar snack than peanuts and just as fun to shell and pop into your mouth.
Cheesecake Factory serves them steamed and in their pods in typical Japanese fashion.
A cup of edamame has around 20 grams of protein, making it one of the best sources of lean protein for vegans.
After an appetizer of edamame, you can order a carb-heavy meal guilt-free.
California Guacamole Salad
If you think that guacamole is too good to be shared, you can get it as your main dish with this vibrant and flavorful California Guacamole Salad.
This hearty main course salad is like a vegetarian taco salad.
The California Guacamole Salad contains a heaping serving of scratch-made guacamole over a bed of mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans, onion, radish, crispy tortilla strips, feta cheese, cilantro, and a spicy avocado dressing.
To order it vegan, omit the feta and ask for lemon or shallot vinaigrette instead of the avocado dressing as it contains cream.
Korean Fried Cauliflower
Meant to imitate classic Korean glazed and fried chicken wings, Korean Fried Cauliflower is a wonderful vegan alternative that packs the same amount of flavor.
Cheesecake Factory uses rice flour, baking powder, and seasonings to dry coat the cauliflower before dropping it into the frier to create the perfect Korean tempura.
They then toss the cauliflower in a house-made chili sauce until it’s fully coated. They finish them off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, diced green onions, and lime zest.
While they serve it with Ranch dressing, you can ask for more chili sauce on the side for dipping instead.
Cheesecake Factory is famous for its many iterations of cream cheese-based desserts, but its massive menu has plenty of options for vegans. Their massive menu has various vegan options for sides, starters, and entrée items.
Whether you want a healthy entrée salad, a decadent vegan cheeseburger, or a comforting bowl of pasta, you’ll find the best Cheesecake Factory vegan items on the above list to satisfy your dairy and meat-free cravings.
If you are eating dairy, don’t forget to grab one of their most popular cheesecake flavors for dessert!