The Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants to Visit With Your Not-Yet-Vegan Family

From www.peta.org
By
Michelle Feinberg

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.

2. The Cheesecake Factory

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 such as a trio of hummus, sweet potato fries, and herbed brown rice with almonds. And for the main course, you can get the penne pasta primavera, the angel hair pasta pomodoro, or the grilled vegetable plate. You can also get a house salad with Asian ginger dressing or balsamic vinaigrette. Can I just say, yum?

6. Freebirds World Burrito

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 has also teamed up with Beyond Meat to offer Beyond Beef Crumbles in the Feisty flavor, 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.

7. Bareburger

Not only does Bareburger offer four ready-made vegan burgers—including the Beyond Burger; a black bean, roasted corn, and poblano patty; a quinoa, chia, and green pea patty; and a sweet potato, kale, and wild rice patty—with various toppings, including vegan mayo and vegan cheese

, you can also replace the meat on any other burger that tickles your fancy with one of the vegan patties! Just order it with a sprouted bun. This place even offers vegan sides and shakes!

8. Mellow Mushroom

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, black truffle oil, 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.


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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!

11. Pieology Pizzeria

Pieology’s new “Plant-Based Protein” toppings line featuring Spicy Italian Sausage Rounds, Beef Meatballs, and Diced Chicken 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.

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