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Where to Find Plant-Based Fast Food

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Blur image of fast food restaurant, use for defocused background. stock photo

Fast and Meatless

Plant-based foods are having a moment, largely thanks to trendy meat alternatives made by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, among others. They've even managed to make it onto the menus of some of the nation's biggest restaurant chains, giving hungry patrons who want to skip meat a lot more choices than salads and French fries. Here are some of the most prominent plant-based options out there right now, including a new sausage substitute from MOD Pizza.


Related: The Most Popular Fast Food Chain in Every State

Mod Meatless Pizza
MOD Pizza

MOD Pizza

MOD Pizza has debuted its plant-based meat topping — and it's not from Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods. Instead, the fast-casual pizza joint is using Plantly, a chef-created plant-based food and beverage brand. The new vegan meat, available at MOD's 500-plus restaurants, is a soy-free, pea-protein-based Italian sausage crumble seasoned with oregano, fennel, and thyme. MOD also offers Daiya Foods' vegan cheese, which it added to the menu in 2015.


Related: Best Cheap Delivery Pizza

Burger King Impossible Whopper
Burger King Impossible Whopper by Gtn88 (CC BY-SA)

Burger King

The famously plant-based Impossible Whopper made a splash when it debuted nationwide in 2019, earning raves from customers impressed with how closely it mimicked BK's signature burger. It hasn't been without controversy, though: A vegan customer unsuccessfully sued because the patty is still grilled on surfaces used to cook beef and chicken.


Related: This Meatless Burger Fooled Our Tasters

Carl's Jr. Plant Based Burger
Maria B./Yelp
White Castle Veggie Sliders
White Castle Veggie Sliders by Tony Webster (CC BY-SA)

White Castle

If you're a slider fan, you're in luck: Cult favorite White Castle also offers its tiny burgers in plant-based form, and Eater calls 'em "one of the country's best fast-food burgers, period." If you prefer a more-traditional tasting veggie burger, there's also a Veggie Slider with a patty featuring peas, carrots, and other veggies made by Dr. Praeger's.  


Related: Things You Didn't Know About White Castle

Qdoba Impossible Fajita Bowl
Amy C./Yelp
Del Taco Avocado Beyond Taco
Nalz C./Yelp

Del Taco

Del Taco, found mainly in the western United States, offers Beyond tacos and burritos for those seeking a plant-based option. The Beyond Guacamole Taco and Epic Beyond Fresh Guacamole Burrito are also dairy-free. Whichever you choose, The Impulsive Buy says you won't miss the meat: "Del Taco took its charming array of spices and seasonings and mixed it into the ground beef-like Beyond Meat, creating a flavorful mélange that is even better than its real meat mixture."

Sofritas Salad
Sofritas Salad by Frank Farm (CC BY-NC-ND)

Chipotle

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Chipotle, which has offered its plant-based, spiced-tofu mainstay, Sofritas, in tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, and more nationwide since 2014. They've definitely been a hit since their rollout, inspiring copycat recipes galore. If you're not a tofu fan, there are other options, including a Vegetarian Bowl with rice, beans, guacamole, and fajita veggies.  


Related: Best Chain Restaurants for Keto and Other Low-Carb Diets

Panera Bread Vegetarian Meal
Beckie C./Yelp

Panera Bread

Panera has always been among the safer options for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to go easier on meat. You won't find the fancy meat alternatives popping up in other places, but there's still an entire plant-based menu with salads, sandwiches, noodle bowls, and more. Even more may be coming: The chain eventually wants half of its items to be plant-based, according to EatingWell.

Starbucks Protein Box
Rachelle M./Yelp

Starbucks

If you're looking for something a little more substantial to accompany your morning coffee, Starbucks has had an Impossible Breakfast Sandwich on the menu since mid-2020 that includes both plant-based sausage and egg patties. The chain also has a number of non-dairy drink options and a Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box for beyond-breakfast snacking.

Taco Bell Vegetarian Meal
Jamie R./Yelp
Dunkin' Power Breakfast Sandwich
Tara S./Yelp
A&W Beyond Burger
Noel C./Yelp

A&W: Select Markets

This all-American joint may seem like an unlikely spot for a plant-based meal, but select locations offer a burger made with Beyond Meat. Could plant-based chicken nuggets be next? It's possible: They're now on the menu at Canadian A&W restaurants.

McDonald's Menu Then
junce/istockphoto

McDonald's: Coming Soon?

Right now, the Golden Arches don't shine especially bright for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone who's looking for a plant-based entree. But that may change soon: McDonald's has been testing the McPlant burger, made with Beyond Meat, in other countries and says it will expand those tests to the United States sometime this year. 


Related: Why McDonald's Fries Used to Taste Better

Little Caesars: Planteroni Pizza
Little Caesars
Pizza Hut Beyond Pizzas
Pizza Hut
Wendy's Spicy Black Bean Burger
Wendy's
Panda Express Plant-Based Orange Chicken
Panda Express