Sure, you can finagle some kind of vegan creation just about anywhere, but our favorite eateries are the ones that require zero finagling. We love places where you can just plop down and point at the menu without saying a word and have something that doesn’t contain the remains of tormented, slaughtered animals set down in front of you 10 minutes later. (#TheDream) So, we made a list of chain restaurants that can deliver such an experience, or at least come close.
These are our 12 favorite vegan-friendly chain restaurants to hit up when we need to satisfy both the compassionate members of our clan and the ones who aren’t vegan—yet.
1. Olive Garden
When you’re here … you can still be vegan! You got salad (with oil and vinegar instead of “Italian” dressing). You got bruschetta (just request it with no cheese). You got breadsticks (which have a garlic topping made with soy, not butter). You got minestrone soup, and you got all the pasta and marinara sauce you can fit down your gullet. Request some veggies to top it with and you got a party.
There are plenty of vegan options scattered throughout the novel that is The Cheesecake Factory’s menu, including the Vegan Cobb Salad. And while there are no vegan cheesecake options offered (yet), you have to admit … it’s healthier this way. #ForTheBest
3. TGI Fridays
So there aren’t a ton of super-awesome vegan options at TGI Fridays, but it does have one that’s so good, we had to include it on this list. We’re talking about the Beyond Burger—available at all the chain’s locations nationwide. (There are over 465 of them.) All you have to do is order it without cheese and mayo and you’ll be biting into a bona fide vegan burger. TGIF!
4. Blaze Pizza
Blaze Pizza’s traditional, high-rise, and gluten-free crusts are all vegan, and the restaurant also offers vegan cheese and all the veggie toppings you can fit on a pizza. For sauce, try the classic red or the spicy red—and throw on some BBQ drizzle, balsamic glaze, or Buffalo sauce (all vegan).
5. Daily Grill
Daily Grill offers vegan starters and sides such as sweet potato fries, grilled veggies, and hummus. And for the main course, try the angel hair pasta pomodoro. You can also get a house salad with Asian ginger dressing or balsamic vinaigrette. Can I just say, yum?
There are more than 70 locations across the U.S., so people all over the country can enjoy this chain’s yummy vegan burritos, bowls, and salads. The restaurant also added Abbot’s Butcher Plant-Based “Chorizo” to its menu, which you can add to any Freebirds order. All the tortillas are vegan, and the only things you need to avoid if you don’t want to contribute to the suffering of animals are the queso, the ranch dressing, the BBQ sauce (which contains fish, for some reason), cheeses, sour cream, and (of course) meat.
Bareburger has a huge vegan menu, with four unique vegan burgers, Beyond Meat sausages, shakes, and more. Plus, you can customize your burger with delicious options—including an animal-free patty; a cilantro black bean patty; and a sweet potato, kale, and wild rice patty—and with various toppings, such as vegan mayo and vegan cheese. Bareburger even has a vegan kid’s menu!
Pizza chain Mellow Mushroom offers a vegan menu that includes tofu, tempeh, and Follow Your Heart cheese. Vegan sauces include red sauce, olive oil, sweet chili glaze, and jerk sauce. With the meat-free options, vegan cheeses, and all the veggie toppings you could ever want, this pizza joint definitely delivers. It also offers hoagies (the French and multigrain breads are vegan) and salads (the balsamic and herb vinaigrettes are vegan)—just make sure you swap out all the nonvegan meats, cheeses, and sauces for their superior vegan counterparts.
9. Yard House
No need to waste your time skimming over descriptions of dishes made from dead animals here—Yard House has a separate veg menu featuring Gardein vegan meat products and a vegan cheeseburger with Daiya mozzarella on a made-in-house patty. It also offers tons of other vegan entrées, many animal-free sides, and even a vegan dessert option! Best of all, it has locations nationwide, so there’s probably one near you.
10. P.F. Chang’s
In addition to P.F. Chang’s already long list of vegan options, such as the Harvest Thai Curry, Coconut Curry Vegetables, and Ma Po Tofu, everything on its menu can be made with tofu instead of meat. The many options for vegan appetizers and entrées will leave you spoiled for choice and wanting for nothing!
Pieology’s “Plant-Based Protein” toppings line featuring Spicy Italian Sausage Rounds and Beef Meatballs vegan meats makes it, like, too easy for vegans to experience pizza at its fullest potential. The award-winning vegan-friendly menu also includes dairy-free cheese and a vegan crust option (the gluten-free crust) at no extra cost, leading us to believe that if creating delicious pizza were a science, Pieology would be Einstein.
12. Buca di Beppo
At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like vegans have much business being here, but there’s actually quite a bit to choose from. For an appetizer, try the bruschetta—just hold the cheese. And here’s an insider’s tip: For the main course, order the pasta puttanesca (penne pasta with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black Kalamata olives, green olives, and capers)—which must be specially requested because it’s not on the menu—or create your own pasta using either the marinara sauce or the garlic olive oil. Add veggie toppings as well as crushed pepper and/or poached garlic. You can also get a mixed green salad—just substitute oil and vinegar for the Italian dressing. Other vegan sides include the steamed green beans and the broccoli. Not too shabby.
You don’t have to live in a big city to get a great vegan meal. You might not have all these restaurants within a 7-mile radius, but at least a couple of them are probably nearby. Either way, vegan pizza, burritos, burgers, and other delish dishes are usually just around the corner for you and your family to enjoy!
These spots are great for vegans, and going to these places with your nonvegan friends and family members is also a fantastic way to show them how easy it is to find delicious animal-free meals in mainstream places. You’ll likely have to tell them to keep their mitts off your grub, because it’ll look so delicious and probably be much more colorful than theirs.