Let’s start with a basic fact: everyone loves Panera. Between their bomb-as-hell coffee and bread bowls sent from heaven above, it’s hard to escape cravings for their soups, sandwiches, and mac and cheese that’s more valuable than gold. Being a vegetarian sometimes means suffering from a little bit of FOMO when your friends eat McDonald’s or head to Cookout after a night out.

However, this definitely won’t be a concern if you’re headed to Panera for a study session or a quick dinner. Panera has plenty of veggie-filled options that can satisfy anyone, vegetarians and just plain veggie-lovers alike. To help you narrow it down, here’s a little guide to navigating their huge menu.



Photo by Caitlin Wolper

Panera is home to plenty of pastries and bagels, but they might not be satisfying enough to get you through your day. Most of their breakfast sandwiches have bacon or sausage (one even has steak), but they also offer a couple of meat-free sandwiches as well.

If you’re looking for something plain and simple, go for their Egg and Cheese on Grilled Ciabatta. At a light 400 calories, it definitely makes a quick and simple breakfast. Or, if you need something with a bit more flavor, try their Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta. It’s a great, flavorful sandwich with plenty of basil and tomato to brighten your morning.

And, if (for whatever crazy reason) breakfast sandwiches aren’t your thing, Panera also offers plenty of delicious breakfast souffles packed full with spinach, cheese, and artichokes. Additionally, if you’re looking for something on the safer side, they have a couple of oatmeal options as well, with plenty of fruit and nuts to get you going for the day.



Photo courtesy of wearenotmartha.com

Any vegetarian knows that salads can be a safe choice when eating out with a group of friends. Panera’s salads definitely don’t disappoint and there a plenty of combinations for everyone. Their salads are made to order, so even the salads made with chicken can be ordered without the meat, but still with plenty of veggies. A couple of awesome summer options include the Green Goddess Cobb Salad, the Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa, and the Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad.

But, of course, salad can get old as well. To mix it up, try one of their flatbread sandwiches and combine it with a cup of soup with Panera’s You Pick Two option. For a classic combination, go for their Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese. Most of Panera’s soups have a chicken broth base, but they also offer a couple of completely vegetarian options, such as Summer Corn Chowder, Black Bean Soup, and Garden Vegetable Soup.

As far as sandwiches are concerned, Panera offers a Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread that pairs great with the Garden Vegetable Soup. However, if you’re not really feeling a cup of soup in the middle of July, their flatbreads are definitely big enough to stand on their own.



Photo courtesy of vodkitchen.com

Of course, I couldn’t go this whole article without mentioning the best thing on Panera’s menu: their mac and cheese. Made with Vermont white cheddar and served warm and creamy, this is definitely the best way to end a long day and treat yourself to some comfort food. Or, if you want pasta but you aren’t quite feeling mac and cheese, try their Tortellini Alfredo. It’s one of the newer additions to their menu, but it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

If you’re really craving a sandwich but want something a little heartier than a flatbread for dinner, try one of their larger sandwiches. The Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich is larger and more filling than their flatbreads, and can either go great with the Garden Vegetable Soup or just on its own. Their soups are also great stand-alone options for dinner as well, and they’re even better in one of Panera’s signature bread bowls.

As usual, it’s hard to leave disappointed when you go to Panera, and these options are a true testament to that. The best part about these options is that they’re delicious no matter if you’re vegetarian or not. You’ll be sure to leave feeling full, satisfied, and completely FOMO-free.