I became a vegetarian almost three years ago. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, as I honestly don’t remember what actual meat tastes like. The transition was not difficult at home because I was living solo and grocery shopping was entirely up to me. However, eating out proved to be a different story.
I lived in Mississippi at the time and that has to be one of the most meat-centered states in the country. My favorite vegan restaurant in town shut down and options were pretty limited. However, I navigated through each menu to make it work and want to share the knowledge. Here are some of the most common chains you may find yourself at and what I choose to order:
Chik Fil A
They offer a veggie version of the chicken cool wrap! Simply ask for the veggie wrap and if they don’t know what you’re talking about (though most do), just asked for the cool wrap without chicken and add corn and beans. The wrap is so fresh and very filling!
Buffalo Wild Wings
They actually have a black bean burger! While it is not the best patty I’ve ever had, it gets the job done. I have also asked for a cheese quesadilla with whatever vegetables they have on hand and they are more than accommodating.
I believe they’re located in mostly Southern states, but they offer a great veggie burger! It is the Dr. Praeger’s patty and they dress it to perfection. It is located in the sandwich section of the menu so don’t panic of you don’t see it under burgers (even though it’s definitely a burger).
Moe’s Southwest Grill
You can substitute tofu into anything. You can satisfy your burrito craving easily! Chipotle also has tofu in case you didn’t already know (it’s called sofritas).
They actually have a vegetarian section on the menu. While it’s not large, at least they recognize it! They also offer vegetable springs rolls as well as a few other veggie appetizers.
The black bean and veggie fajitas are the way to go. They also have tons of veggies and guacamole on their menu so I’m sure you can make substitutions in other menu items.
Pretzel sticks with cheese, tater tots and mozzarella sticks are my go-to. The pretzel sticks are definitely the best and if you’re looking for a snack, that would be my choice.
Of course there are substitutions you can make at almost any restaurant! If they have a plant-based patty on the menu, but you want the toppings of another burger, go for it! If they have beans or rice, sub the meat for those. There has only been one time in my life where a waiter would not make substitutions for me (I know, rude), but I ended up ordering a grilled cheese off the kids menu and it worked out.
While I don’t advocate eating fast food all the time, sometimes you’re put in situations where you just have to go with it. Let me know what your favorite vegetarian hack is while eating out!