Order These 10 Most Delicious Vegetarian Options at Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants

Just because you want a vegetarian option doesn’t mean you also need to fork over more cash. Fast food and chain restaurants offer plenty of meat-free options that will help you please your taste buds and wallet, at the same time. We found some of the best menu items you can order to save money and cash in on taste, without chowing down on Babe or Chicken Little.

But buyers beware: If you order fried food, it probably comes into contact with animal products. Most fast food restaurants fry everything in the same oil, so expect some cross-contamination. But at least at our top choice for herbivores, you won’t have to worry about that (page 10).

1. Arby’s: Mozzarella sticks

Arby's mozzarella sticks

Arby’s mozzarella sticks | Arby’s via Facebook

OK, so mozzarella sticks do not a nutritious meal make. But have you tried the Arby’s version? Your favorite sports bar can barely measure up. Thrillist recommends grabbing an order of mozz sticks, some of those signature curly fries, and calling it an appetizer sampler. And maybe run home, afterward.

Next: Give in to a craving with the following.

2. Burger King: Veggie burger and fries

Burger King

Burger King | Lawcain/iStock/Getty Images

Sometimes, a person just has to go for the classic burger and fries. Burger King also uses MorningStar veggie burgers. Yes, the same ones you can get in the freezer aisle at your local grocery store. Whether you mark that in the pro or con column depends on personal taste, but we give it big points for consistency. Add a side of fries and a fountain drink for a true taste of Americana.

Next: Go for the secret menu at this iconic favorite.

3. In-N-Out Burger: Grilled cheese and animal-style fries

In-N-Out Burger, Inc. is a regional chain of fast food restaurants

In-N-Out Burger | SweetBabeeJay/iStock/Getty Images

If you go to In-N-Out and don’t get something “animal-style,” did you even go to In-N-Out? Vegetarians, grab a grilled cheese sandwich, basically just a burger without the meat, to go alongside your animal-style fries. They load those puppies up with cheese, grilled onions, and plenty of special sauce to make you feel like a you-know-what. You’re welcome.

Next: You also won’t starve at the following chain.

4. KFC: Macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and a biscuit

KFC

KFC | Aureliefrance/iStock/Getty Images

Unpopular opinion: The sides at KFC taste even better that the namesake chicken. If you don’t eat meat, fill up on the best part of the menu. Creamy, gooey macaroni and cheese could make a meal on its own. But add some coleslaw for some “vegetables,” and textural contrast. If you really want to carb it up, go for a buttery to sop up all that cheesy residue and you have yourself a fast food coma in the making.

Next: This chain’s side game also comes on strong.

5. Popeye’s: Red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and a biscuit

Popeyes

Popeye’s | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

No one would mistake Popeye’s cajun cuisine for the real thing, but it gets pretty dang close. You’ll also hardly miss the chicken with its excellent side options. Red beans and rice has a zesty, almost spicy flavor that gives your tummy a break from all of that fried fare. Its creamy macaroni and cheese makes a delectable indulgence, and we’re not sure you’re even allowed to leave without a biscuit.

Next: Spicy food fans, the following chain has your order.

6. Sonic Drive-in: Ched’R’Peppers and cheese tater tots

Sonic Drive-In Restaurant exterior

Sonic | Wolterk/iStock/Getty Images

Sonic might take credit for bringing tater tots out of the school lunchroom and into our adult hearts. And for that, we remain eternally grateful. Pour some cheese sauce on top of those — you know, for protein — and you have a match made in heaven. But the Ched’R’Peppers poppers represent the real pro move here. Crispy, cheesy, with a little kick, they will pump up any fast food stop. Grab a cold drink to wash it down for the full fast food experience.

Next: All-day breakfast at this fast food stop also really caters to vegetarians.

7. McDonald’s: an egg and cheese McMuffin, hash browns, and a McFlurry

close-up of an egg McMuffin sandwich

McDonald’s Egg McMuffin | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Get real: Does McDonald’s do any meal better than breakfast? Even hardcore carnivores love the iconic egg McMuffin, and you just can’t beat those hash browns. With that shatteringly crisp exterior and creamy interior that makes us wonder if any real potatoes ever met the side, you can’t go wrong. If you really want to treat yo’self, also grab a McFlurry for dessert. You deserve it.

Next: If you don’t get this order at the following fast food joint, you’re doing it wrong.

8. Wendy’s: A large fry and a Frosty

Three Wendy's Frosties

Wendy’s Frosties | John Shearer/Getty Images

OK, we understand you technically can eat a Frosty without fries. You can also make a peanut butter sandwich without jelly. But why deny yourself one of life’s few real fast food pleasures? Few combinations have that salty-sweet, hot-cold balance that a chocolate Frosty and a large french fry provides, and we can’t recommend any other order. Hey, we don’t make the rules.

Next: This vegetarian burger also tastes better than the real thing.

9. Shake Shack: Shroom burger and fries

Shake Shack

Shake Shack | Mizoula/iStock/Getty Images

If you don’t eat meat, we probably don’t have to tell you about the wonders of portobello mushrooms. At Shake Shack, they also preach that gospel. Get a glorious meat-like heft in your shroom burger, a fried portobello mushroom cap filled with melted Muenster and cheddar cheeses to make the dairy gods smile. Don’t forget to order cherry peppers on top for spice. And yes, obviously order fries on the side. Where else can you get crinkle cut?

Next: The following fast food chain really provides the best vegetarian options out there.

10. Taco Bell: Virtually anything you want

Taco Bell

Taco Bell | lawcain/iStock/Getty Images

Vegetarians, if you hear angels singing when you walk into Taco Bell, we can hardly blame you. Their robust vegetarian menu also means you can’t make a bad choice here. Grab a power bowl for a slightly healthier — although still super filling — option. Or if you really have the hunger, get the popular chalupa or crunchwrap supreme with beans instead of meat. At Taco Bell, you can really have it your way.

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