I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!

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This page was updated in April 2014. Being vegan when you’re eating out is easy. Take a quick stroll down almost any high street in the UK, and you will find a plethora of bars, restaurant chains and fast-food joints that already have vegan options on their menu or items that can be quickly adapted by asking the server to hold the mayo or cheese.

Whenever we buy food, we’re casting a powerful vote with our money. There’s even an argument for vegans to eat out at places that have predominantly been hangouts for meat eaters – such as Burger King or Nando’s – because by buying the vegan options in these restaurants, we are able to send a strong message to companies that there is a market for vegan food. It’s supply and demand – they will supply it if we demand it. And if there is more vegan food around, then more and more people will try it and start to buy it – and that means fewer and fewer animals will be killed and ground up into burgers and nuggets.

Here are our top meals for a tenner in places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to cater to vegans:

12. Latin-themed restaurant Las Iguanas has a dedicated vegetarian menu, with vegan options clearly marked. Highlights include patatas bravas, mushroom fajitas and exotic Bahia Moqueca curry.

11. Wetherspoon is an affordable and “found everywhere” place to eat vegan. The sweet-potato, chickpea and spinach curry is vegan if you order it with poppadoms instead of naan bread – complement it with vegetable samosas, onion bhajis or a healthy green salad.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Goldengrove” by Ewan Munro / CC BY-SA 2.0

10. You don’t have to put your neck out to find a Giraffe restaurant. Choose from olives, tapenade and a spread of other meze if you’re in the mood for snacking, or go for the aromatic spicy Phod Malay Noodles as a main course. The restaurant even offers a vegan breakfast.
Giraffe
Giraffe, Trinity Leeds” by EG Focus / CC BY 2.0

9. Starbucks offers not only tasty drinks (my favourite is the Grande Classic Caramel Soya Hot Chocolate with vanilla) but also a vegan falafel panini. Other great coffee chains that offer vegan options include Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee. The last two won’t even charge you for having soya milk.

8. Even Burger King offers a vegan bean burger (the bun is free from animal products, too). It’s another hold-the-cheese-and-mayonnaise situation.  Team it with fries or even a fresh garden salad.
Burger King
Burger King in London” by Billy Hicks / CC BY-SA 3.0

7. ShakeAway has been popping up all over the country. It has a whole menu of shakes that can be made vegan. Being unadventurous, I love the strawberry, but I’ve been known to mix it up with Bourbons, coconut and Jelly Tots.

Shakeaway
Shakeaway” by The Local People Photo Archive / CC BY 2.0

6. PizzaExpress still offers excellent options for vegans and has recently added a vegan pizza to its main menu, the veggie-filled Pianta. All its bases are dairy-free as well, so you can also not have cheese on any other pizza you fancy – the same goes for several other pizza companies, including Pizza Hut and ASK as well.

Pizza Express
Pizza Express” by Ewan MunroCC BY-SA 2.0

5. Sushi is so much more than raw fish. YO! Sushi has a variety of bits and pieces floating around on its conveyor belts to tempt any vegan. Favourites include miso soup, Vegetable Firecracker Rice and vegetable gyoza. It’s also a great place to try tofu katsu curry.

YO!
Menu, YO!Sushi” by projectNADACC BY-SA 2.0

4. Le Pain Quotidien, which has more than 20 UK branches, makes a great spot for grabbing a healthy and slightly fancy vegan breakfast. Vegan items are clearly marked on the menu and include organic muffins, berry oatmeal, fruit salad and Avocado Tartine.

PAINQ

P1780378” by Franklin HeijnenCC BY-SA 2.0

3. The West Cornwall Pasty Company is an on-the-go grab for all commuting “veg heads”. It offers two pasties, a veggie and a wholemeal, and all the pasties are glazed with a recipe suitable for vegans – so it’s no surprise that it walked away with a PETA Vegan Food Award in 2013.

2. Wagamama makes vegan really easy. Its website has a list of foods you can adapt to be vegan, but some of the options (like the noodles and Gyoza) already are.

1. Pret A Manger is a lifesaver when it comes to eating vegan on the move. The independently owned chain offers two regular vegan sandwiches, the Naked Avocado Bloomer and Super Greens; a zingy Superfood Salad; and tempting snacks such as popcorn, kale chips and salty chocolate (tastier than you might expect!) – and it almost always has a delicious vegan soup as well.

Veganism is easy everywhere, so if you haven’t taken that step yet and ditched meat and dairy products from your diet, there is no better time to do so than right now.

Comments

  • Gloria commented on February 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I would never encourage anyone to give money to huge corporations like Burger King, Nando’s, Starbucks etc. Regardless of whether you are buying the vegan option, you are still giving these companies money and therefore keeping them in business. They are everything that animal abuse stands for.

    • Emily Redman commented on December 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      I totally agree but as a teenager, I have to go out with my meat eating family so I have to eat vegan there..

  • Holly commented on February 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    There are very few of these places that I would even step foot in due to their horrendous practices in other areas such as coffee bean production and animal welfare.

    I understand what you are saying regarding getting vegan products on the menu, but personally I would rather see them go out of business completely than give a penny of my money to them.

  • Barry commented on February 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I am new to the vegan diet so pleased that there are lots of options to eat out but have to agree with Gloria and Holly, I am always very carefull of what companies i give my money to! I agree with the supply promoting veganism anyway we can but we must remember that many main stream companies are very unethical in the way they treat animals, farmers in developing countries and even their own staff!

  • KT commented on February 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    The Little Chef used to do a lovely bean dish that was vegan, I’m not sure if they still do.

  • Nick Johnson commented on February 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I do agree that these places are not the best places for the vegan lifestlye – but it it good to know if I am on the motorway and need food there are places for us.

    To be fair all places that make money from meat will always have bad animal welfare as cost is such an issue – including supermarkets and resturants/take aways etc.

  • paul commented on March 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    good honest useful and practical advice for those of us with kids in tow who need to eat !!!

  • Kelly commented on May 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    The link you provide to the burger king information states that the veggie patties are not vegan, as does burger king’s own site. Also, pizza huts italian bases are now no longer vegan due to having milk listed as an ingredient.
    I’m all for having vegan options in non-veggie places, but as a major resource for some aspiring vegans, I think peta could at least get the information right. It only takes a little light reading to find vegan options in most places.

  • Jona commented on May 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    To the comment above by kelly, if you read further down the burger king wiki link it states the the burger patty in uk is in fact vegan if ordered without mayonnaise and cheese. The wiki link overall mainly pertains to burger king usa which does not offer a vegan patty.

    And to all the people who would not support these companies, some might argue that the more support they get for their vegan friendly products, the more these products will be in demand, eventually making the companies realize that they should replace their meat items with vegan items. In a perfect world that is

  • Kelly commented on May 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    To Jona above,

    Having read what you wrote, I contacted BK who confirmed what the wiki link said. (Am a bit skeptical about wiki articles) Thank you for clarifying.

    Pizza hut’s Italian base dough is definitely not suitable though as I have an email from them stating such.

  • Rachel commented on June 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Nandos burger buns now contain milk (their adverts for this everywhere show just how proud they are at this fact too!), and I was told the pittas do as well (making only the wraps vegan).

    • ? commented on December 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      No they don’t. Their portuguese rolls/buns do. The regular ones and pittas are still fine.

  • Ailidh commented on August 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    With regards to the Starbucks point, I recently contacted them to ask them to confirm which of their syrups are vegan – no point in having soy milk in my coffee if the syrup contains milk powder etc etc. They came back to me saying that all flavours – Vanilla, peppermint, hazelnut etc are all okay APART FROM the caramel, which contains dairy, so watch out!

  • Rebecca commented on November 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The pittas at nandos are suitable for vegans. http://www.nandos.co.uk/faq/there-anything-your-menu-suitable-vegans

  • nandos is not veggie commented on February 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Nandos do a veggie burger and viggie pitta, as well as salads.
    The nandos veggie burger is cooked on the grill with the meat, it is covered in chicken bits and cannot be called veggie or vegan. the salad has grilled green beans also cooked with the meat and the other salad has parmesan cheese.
    so the answer is really NO, nandos do not do ANY veggie food.

    I challenged the nando manager who told me that its company policy and in line with training to cook the everything on the same grill… contrary to what the menu says… avoid nandos if your veggie!

  • Law commented on May 9, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Is that really true about Nando’s
    cooking everything on the same grill? The website says they don’t. If individual branches aren’t doing this then surely it’s something that can be raised as a complaint?

  • Stefan Haucke commented on July 8, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Im a big fan of eating less meat but the vegan burger of the burger king menu is very expensive (http://www.fastfoodprice.co.uk/burger-king-prices/). Second, anyone who tried it will agree it tastes like plastic!

  • Andi commented on January 21, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I have to agree with the sentiments of Gloria and those of a similar vain. I do not find the supply and demand principle when it comes down to veganism and the difficulty of purchasing products from such unscrupulous companies. If I purchased one of these top 10 suggested meals would the profit made from my purchase go into some kind of ethical fund, or the purchase of more vegan friendly products? Also Weatherspoon has been doing the vegan curry (with extra poppadoms) for many years and it still remains the only meal I can have there, so yes I can go out with my friends and have a meal with them whilst they lavish of the selection of death and torture, and when it comes to me “what are you having Andi?”, oh that’s right the chickpea curry again, with extra poppadoms.

    If a butcher shop was selling a vegan meal alternative of a vegan pie, mash and peas would Peta be suggesting we all nip down to this butcher and hand over our cash to them? Vegans and veggies need to be aware that there is more to complaining about there is nothing to eat. There is plenty, just make some sandwiches and cut out the the need to use corporate , mass produced food products and prepare your own. If you are caught short on the go then go to a green grocer and pick up some fruit, you will not starve if you do not eat at Nando’s, Weaatherspoon’s, Burger King and the likes of.

    However go out of your way to find vegetarian and vegan shops and support them, too many are closing because vegans are so stuck on demanding things from these nasty meat selling companies in order then 20 years down the line they will offer two egan alternatives, plus still selling a whole load of dead animals to the rest of the population.

    • AJ commented on June 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I’m assuming you don’t shop in spuermarkets then? THe ones that have thier own meat and dairy farms.
      Where do you get your bread for your sandwiches? a local butcher who uses butter and eggs in their other products?

      Also, I don’t know of any vegan shops within a 15 mile radius of where I live. Should I drive a 32 mile round trip to get my lunch?

  • Jessica commented on April 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I for one am tired of all the tedious negativity that some of us vomit up when articles like this are written – we are as individual as we are a group, if some of us vegans choose to spend our money in regular, meat serving franchises then that it down to individual choice and your needless and spiteful preaching is doing nothing to change that, you are in fact literally preaching to the converted.
    It’s people like this that are making veganism seem like such a daunting and unachievable diet to so many. We have a reputation for being militant and crazed hippies who eat nothing but, well, nothing.
    I have spent my whole life from birth being subjected to this stereotype because of comments like the above. These places may sell and serve meat, yes, but they also are clearly starting to become more aware of a demand for vegan food and so are making it. By the same principle, I hope none of you shop at those carcass filled mass-killing, dairy flooded capitalist hell hole warehouses that are supermarkets. How very dare you fund that barbarism.
    The more these companies provide vegan friendly food, the more awareness there is that being a vegan does not mean living a miserable life eating grains that are slowly bankrupting you from the local vegan shop that’s two bus rides away the more people will become vegan.
    You’re stopping people from wanting to make the switch.
    Why is the vegan community so internally self critical? It’s a pathetic loop of “I’M MORE VEGAN THAN YOU”. Who cares?
    And come on, people, I know you all eat well, your brains are clearly functional enough, but if you think for one second that you not purchasing food from these multi-national multi-million pound co-operations you’re demented. You don’t make a difference there. Being a vegan is about making the most conceivably real difference you can, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to eat here, but penalizing fellow vegans for doing so is frankly hypocritical and self destructive. Just stop.

  • john h commented on May 16, 2015 at 7:18 am

    100% agree with this video. i know how you feel about not wanting to step into say burger king or macdonalds, but if they had vegan options i would buy them, money is the only thing these companies listein to. i also want to ask are you guys avoiding tesco, asda, morrisons, sainsburys aswell, they all own slaughterhouses, they are all part of the huge murder & rape machine?? Yet they sell vegan products. i know i shop at these supermarkets for some of my vegan products…
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL2IJOZjthlcUTvVEyoC7VLV6MEtvVbBij&v=oIIF3Y3qMLg

  • Jordan commented on June 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Nandos menu page does let you customise to see vegan options. However upon doing this it says Garlic Bread is suitable for vegans, if then look at allergens it says it contains milk! So this is not correct. It also doesn’t list the veggie patties as they need to be ordered without mayo to be suitable for vegans.

    • Ian commented on July 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      if you count cooking it in chicken grease as vegan, then yeah, sure. They only have one hot plate per restaurant, and everything is cooked on it.

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