Its 6:30 pm and you’re crammed in a car with the rest of your family. Your younger brother says “Mom, I’m hungry are we stopping soon?” Instantly, everyone else in the car decides they’re hungry too. Driving past exit signs, there are billboards promoting “freshly sliced roast beef” at Arby’s or “beefy, cheesy, glory” at McDonalds or “stop and smell the bacon” from Wendy’s.
Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Arby’s, Cook-Out, and many more can often prove to be a vegetarians worst nightmare. You suggest looking for a Subway or Panera because of their bountiful vegetarian options, but you are out-voted by your carnivorous siblings.
Consult this list on your next road trip so you’ll never be stuck picking apart the bun on a hamburger again. We’ve nailed down the best vegetarian options at every fast food chain:
Arby’s: Mozzarella Sticks
There’s not many vegetarian options at a restaurant known specifically for their mountains of roast beef. While you’re trapped there, the best bet is to look beyond the meat mountain and try some fried mozzarella sticks. Crunchy on the outside, melty on the inside, easy on the wallet and ultimately, delicious.
Burger King: Veggie Burger Combo
#Snapchat #Screenshot #ThisCouldBeUs A photo posted by Burger King (@burgerking) on Nov 4, 2014 at 3:49pm PST
Conveniently named the King, this burger joint is giving vegetarians the best gift of all –a complete meal that is actually an official menu item. This isn’t a strange secret menu item that will make the employees hate you. This veggie burger is legit, made with a Morningstar veggie patty and complete with all of the necessary accouterments. Order this combo paired with some onion rings if you’re feeling like indulging in more veggies.
Chick-fil-A: Waffle Fries
When a restaurant is named after the animal it serves, vegetarians will definitely find themselves in a slight predicament. But since you’re here, the waffle fries are awesome paired with some Polynesian sauce for the perfect fry-dipping experience. If you haven’t tried this sweet and salty combo, it’s a must. PSA: The waffle fries are allegedly vegan.
Chipotle: Sofritas Burrito
Chipotle, appropriately nicknamed Chipot-Bae, has become an iconic Mexican quick restaurant, famous for their huge burritos and chips and guac. Vegetarians everywhere rejoiced when Chipotle unveiled their signature sofritas, which is delicious shredded tofu cooked with lots of spices. Whether you’re in the mood for a filling burrito, a cheesy quesadilla, or a light salad, they can all be made completely vegetarian by choosing black beans instead of pinto beans, and sofritas instead of meat. Perfect for real and accidental vegetarians.
Cook-Out: Cheese Quesadilla and Hush Puppies
I know, they aren’t healthy at all, but they’re delicious nuggets of happiness. #hushpuppies #friedcornbread #callmeadoctor A photo posted by Jeremy Thompson (@lillitnn92) on May 19, 2014 at 11:45am PDT
This iconic southern institution has a massive menu, with many items costing less than $1. A great option is a cheese quesadilla with spicy sauce. Don’t forget a side of hush puppies, or as the true fans call them, amazing golden fried cornbread nuggets. Good thing an order comes packed with 12 of these babies, so there’s a bit of room to share.
Five Guys: Cheese Veggie Sandwich With Cajun Fries
Five Guys Fries @five_guys #fiveguys #five_guys #fiveguysburgers #fiveguysfries #fiveguysculvercity #five_guys_burgers #fries #frenchfries #culvercity #5guys #fiveguysburgersandfries #friesguys A photo posted by Michael S (@michael.stamper) on Sep 29, 2014 at 8:21pm PDT
Surprisingly, this burger institution does have a vegetarian option on their menu. You simply pick from any of their vegetable toppings, such as caramelized onions and roasted mushrooms, and they’ll cover them with melted cheese and sandwich it between two perfectly buttered and toasted soft sesame buns. Round off your meal with a side of zesty Cajun fries.
Hardee’s: Veg-It Thickburger With Jalapeño Poppers
In case of emergency, these will burn for 4 days. #JalapeñoPoppers A photo posted by Hardee’s (@hardees) on Aug 12, 2015 at 9:20am PDT
Hardee’s is famous for their thickburger, an item that sounds quite unappealing to a vegetarian. If you find yourself here, you’ll have to bite the bullet and order yourself a thickburger and hold the patty. But if lettuce, tomato and un-melted American cheese between a boring bun doesn’t entice you, then you should opt for the jalapeño poppers. These fried delicacies are filled with diced jalapenos for a spicy zing, which is complimented by the warm cheddar cheese.
In-n-Out: Grilled Cheese With Animal Style Fries
? #animalstylefries A photo posted by Jee (Jihye) (@energyhye) on Nov 16, 2015 at 6:40pm PST
Now that In-n-Out’s Secret Menu is not-so-secret anymore, vegetarians can confidently order a meal like never before. They’re serving up a grilled cheese made with two slices of melted American cheese, grilled between two buns and loaded with all their fixin’s. Finish off this cheesy meal with animal style fries, which are topped with more cheese, secret spread and grilled onions.
KFC: Potato Wedges
Wedges > #Fries. #KFC #nofilter #instagood A photo posted by KFC – Kentucky Fried Chicken (@kfc) on Jun 19, 2013 at 12:46pm PDT
Yet again, we arrive at another restaurant named after the animal it serves. Avoid the enticing fried chicken and try some of their home-style sides like mashed potatoes (hold the gravy), corn, coleslaw, green beans, or mac and cheese. The real MVP, however, is the potato wedges. They are lightly fried and dusted with an amazing seasoning salt, sure to leave your taste buds tingling.
McDonald’s: Hotcakes and Hash Browns
I mean… I could of had a #postworkout quest bar and buy one but I still need to buy presents and uh… mom wanted to split this and yeah… YEAH. ? A photo posted by ?Maria? (@marmars_happiness) on Dec 20, 2014 at 10:36am PST
Thank goodness for the all-day breakfast menu because before this the vegetarian options were slim. Now you can feast on hotcakes and hash browns all day long. Perfect for any vegetarian who’s ready to run a marathon and one who just doesn’t count carbs.
Sonic: Cheese Tots
You are the ketchup to my tots, ____. #TagEm A photo posted by Sonic Drive-In (@sonicdrivein) on Mar 27, 2015 at 3:21pm PDT
Sonic is a restaurant where cheese tots trump the french fries any day. These tater tots are like sleeping bags: Crunchy and salty on the outside, but fluffy and pillowy on the inside. Of course, you could get them plain, but why wouldn’t you have them slathered in luscious yellow cheese sauce?
Subway: Veggie Delight Sub
A photo posted by 쬼? (@jjomee) on
A fast food shop where the employees don’t look at you cross-eyed when you ask for no meat. Confidently order a veggie delight sub on toasted bread with melted cheese, then load it with fresh vegetables, avocado, and chipotle southwest dressing. You won’t even miss the questionable processed concoction they call meat.
Taco Bell: Almost Everything
The struggle is not being #vegetarian, it’s deciding what to order. A photo posted by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on Oct 1, 2015 at 2:47pm PDT
Taco Bell is definitely one of the best fast food options for vegetarians, or anyone else for that matter. Pretty much everything on the menu can be made meat free with beans and rice or potatoes. Try out the Black Bean Quesarrito (a burrito made with a quesadilla instead of plain tortillas), 7 Layer Burrito, or Cheesy Gordita Crunch Taco. If you really can’t decide what to get, you can order everything on the vegetarian menu for a whopping $23.71.
Wendy’s: Fries With a Chocolate Frosty
The Frosty/fry dip is about as classic as it gets. A photo posted by Wendy’s ? (@wendys) on Sep 15, 2015 at 9:22am PDT
While my health conscious side would suggest the broccoli cheese baked potato, if you’re at Wendy’s it’s probably because you’re ready for some junk food. You might as well go all out, and what is better than something sweet and salty? Nothing. Indulge in some crispy, salty French fries and dip them in a velvety chocolate frosty.
Honestly, way better than the baked potato.