The hashtag #EggplantTofu is what got me super excited to head to my local Panda Express and investigate further what other vegetarian options I had been overlooking. After excitedly asking my local Panda Express server if the eggplant tofu dish was available, I was quickly let down. As someone on a mostly plant-based diet, learning that Panda Express at least offered eggplant tofu at some of their stores was a glimmer of hope.

I decided to continue my investigation Panda Express vegetarian options, which met my low expectations. Carb heavy and fried vegetable options just don't hold up to my nutritionist schooling. I've listed the available vegetarian options and am optimistic for improvement in fast food chains. The six best Panda Express vegetarian menu items are as follows. 

Eggplant Tofu

The Eggplant Tofu dish is described by Panda as "lightly browned tofu, eggplant, and red bell peppers tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce." I will definitely try this if I can find it in a store near me. 

Vegetable Spring Roll

Emily Elliott

The vegetable spring roll was my favorite Panda Express vegetarian option. The cabbage flavor stood out, but in a good way. The shell was not greasy and was a good vessel for the veggies inside.

Fried Rice

I'm putting the fried rice as a close second to the vegetable spring roll. It's very filling and holds a great eggy soy sauce flavor with several veggies mixed in. White rice is also available as a vegetarian Panda Express option.  

#SpoonTip: The fried rice is made with eggs, so go for the white rice if that's an issue. 

Chow Mein

This is my favorite vegetarian Panda Express food item, but since the only vegetables in it are onions and bits of cabbage it could be better. This dish often has too much oil but satisfies the American-Chinese need for a Chow Mein.

Cream Cheese Rangoon

At most Chinese restaurants, imitation crab is the star of the rangoon. Panda Express doesn't have imitation crab, making this another vegetarian option. This deep fat fried crunchy side dish is filled with cream cheese and green onions. It's a plain side and requires the sauce to round it all off.

Mixed Vegetables 

The mixed vegetable option is great, but mine were undercooked. I love steamed broccoli, but when the center is still raw I tend to push it off my plate.

Panda Express might not be the best place for vegetarians to dine in terms of healthy options, but I'm ready to try the Eggplant Tofu since it sounds like a good protein option with flavor.