Avoiding junk food while on a road trip is hard. Eating vegan on a road trip is even harder. Most chains don’t cater to vegan diets. And even worse, some fast food restaurants that claimed to have vegan items ended up not actually being vegan (sneaky animal oils!). With other chains recently discontinuing their fake-meat options, a handful of dried fruit might be sustaining more than a few travelers this Memorial Day weekend.

Eating fully vegan, no matter where you are or where you’re headed, can be tough. Anna Kent, the owner of Tom Cats Kitchen, a vegan meal service in Maryland, makes to-go vegan meals for this very purpose. “The interest in vegan food is definitely growing,” she tells Fast Company. “I notice that my business continues to bring on more and more weekly subscribers who are not living a plant-based life, but recognize the importance of incorporating more plant-based foods into their diets.”

As the number of people choosing diets free from animal products is on the rise, you’d imagine there’d be some more vegan-friendly chains sprouting up. But unfortunately, vegan fast food and fast casual options aren’t as plentiful as Happy Meals and milkshakes. And Kent says that as a vegan chef, she notices a “lack of creativity” in on-the-go vegan items.

However, there are still a few satiating options if you know where to look. (Kent points to the potato side dishes from Denny’s and the hash brown from Dunkin as personal favorites.) Here, some other ideas:

Taco Bell

When it comes to Mexican fast food, vegan options are pretty widespread! The fast food joint known for its tasty tacos and chalupas has a handful of vegan options, too. Taco Bell’s chips and guacamole, black and refried beans, and Mexican rice are vegan. And if those snacks aren’t enough to keep you stuffed, you can order a bean burrito or black bean Crunch Wrap Supreme sans cheese.


Chipotle actually developed its own fake meat called Sofritas. It’s “made with organic soy protein, and braised with fresh peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and spices,” the chain states on its site. “We partner with farmers in the Midwestern U.S. to buy non-GMO, organic soybeans that turn into the most delicious and creamiest artisanal tofu.” You can also order bowls and burritos without any meat at all. There are also a number of vegan Lifestyle bowls listed on the menu.


Qdoba has some animal-free fixin’s, too. You can get most burritos or bowls at the chain with plant-based Impossible meat, or just get veggies. Plus the chips and guac, salsa, rice, and beans are all vegan.

Burger King

Burger King also has a meat-free option: the Impossible Whopper, which is made with a plant-based patty. Of course, you’ll need to customize your order to come without mayo or cheese. You can get the Impossible patty on any of the burgers, but Burger King does note that the patty is cooked on the same fryer as the real-meat patties. So if you’re a strict vegan, this one might not fly. Burger King also has a garden salad (ditch the cheese and croutons) and apple sauce. The fries are vegan, too.


Whether you’re team Dunkin or team Starbucks, when you stop to get coffee, you’ll be able to grab some vegan grub as well. In addition to the hash browns, Dunkin has bagels, English muffins, avocado toast, and lots of vegan drinks.


Starbucks, meanwhile, has a chickpea and avocado protein box, bagels, overnight grains, oatmeal, and tons of drinks with animal-free milk.

It would be great if more chains catered to vegan lifestyles. But until then, vegans may need to plan their road trips a little more carefully to arrive at their destinations full, and still fully vegan.


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