There is nothing about ethical veganism that guarantees a healthy diet. Vegans can eat just as badly as omnivores but without cruelty (except to themselves). And don't bother whining that you think that vegans shouldn't eat imitation meat if they don't want to eat real meat!. That is the most profoundly lame and unthought-out position that you can possibly take! Vegans don't stop eating meat because they don't like it. They stop eating meat because it causes unnecessary harm to our fellow sentient beings (not to mention its significant contribution to climate change).
So anyway, if you want to eat a plant-based burger and you're in a hurry, here are my recent findings!
Burger King. On their website, BK is thoughtful enough to walk you through the Impossible Whopper and makes clear that if you want it vegan, you need to ask for them to hold the mayo.
So that is what I did! The bun itself does not contain egg or milk so you're good there. I've always preferred the Impossible Burger to Beyond. I find it to be meatier than Beyond Meat and will produce a better crust/char. Also to note, if you are more fanatical than I am, the Impossible patty is cooked on the same grill as other patties (most places are like that). At BK, they will microwave it for you if you prefer but...blah! The IW is priced the same as the Regular Whopper and at about the same number of calories! I found it to be a pretty good sandwich all in all.
As I did advance scouting, a couple of websites told me that the BK Veggie Burger (their other plant-based offering) contained milk and eggs. The BK website (which I would hope is up to date as they need to declare allergens) does not indicate so. Possibly, they removed the mayo to make it officially plant-based. I asked them to hold the mayo anyway. This was a good vegan choice also but the Veggie Burger patty was kind of sad next to the Impossible patty. It reminded me of something that I might have eaten 20 years ago. You can order a side of fries or onion rings to go along with your sandwich according to their website. My photos make both of these burgers appear the same size but the VB is quite a bit smaller (and half the calories). Still not a bad burger.
. OK, so not quite a burger but let's include chicken sandwiches.
Again, ask them to hold the mayo. The manager offered me some hot sauce which was a good adder even though I ordered the Spicy Plant-Based Chicken Sandwich. This was a really good sandwich. Crispy and hot (it arrived a little too quickly which always makes me wonder if it was sitting around but this is fast food) and when I dissected the patty (in the name of science) it pulled apart exactly as chicken meat would. At the same price as their regular chicken sandwich (came to $8.60 ), I would actually order this again!
Five Guys...nope... even the bun has egg.
Tim's...hopeless...they have a breakfast Beyond Meat patty but it comes on a non-plant-based biscuit with egg and cheese...I guess you could order the patty only.
Carl's Jr...they advertise a plant-based burger but had run out at Guildford and didn't seem concerned about it. They lose by default.
Dairy Queen...nope...but they do have a really good plant-based Dilly Bar!
Of, course you can always get fries and a Coke at these places (including the amazing Cajun Fries at Five Guys) but they could all try a little harder. Sometimes they bring in test market stuff and menus change but that is the current sad state of affairs as far as I am aware. Let me know if you know something that I don't...But we are not done yet!
A & W
. I was standing at the door when A&W was the first to introduce the Beyond Meat Burger back in 2018. I thought I'd better try another in the name of research.
It has not changed. A Beyond Meat Combo is a good choice as long as you remember that you have to order it vegan with no Uncle Sauce or mayo. As most burgers are really about the condiments, the pickles and onions (hidden under the patty in the photo above), tomato, lettuce and decent bun make this a pretty good sandwich. With amazing onion rings and root beer and you have a pretty good plant-based meal. Roughly the equivalent of a Mama Burger (?) the Beyond Combo is a couple of bucks more.
A total surprise and the clear winner!
This place is noisy and fun and the staff are friendly. Of course, we could have just gone to the right location at the right time but the folks working in the open kitchen seemed to be enjoying themselves and yelled greetings as we were leaving. I wanted to yell, "Irassaimase!" but traditionally it is not for customers to yell.
They have 2 plant-based burgers on the menu here.
We started with another Impossible Burger. This burger is about a buck more than at Burger King but everything is a little pricier at FB. Frankly, FB barely makes it into the category of all the previously mentioned fast food joints. I think of it as a small step up in almost every way so the extra dollar is expected. Anyway, nice bun and condiments. The website confused me as it talks about a brioche bun which would not be plant-based (at least unlikely) and white or whole wheat buns. As we specified that we wanted our order to be plant-based, we had to trust that they used the right bun. Good burger.
The big winner of this roundup is the Fat Burger California Veggie Burger or in this case, just the Veggie Burger. There is no sign of this on the website but it is a large, more veggie, more crumbly, less faux meat, tasty patty surrounded by a very good bun and the usual lineup of condiments! I ordered the California version (hold the egg and mayo) because it comes with guac but they forgot the guac so I paid for the California but got the regular veggie burger. It was still the best! Hearty and filling but fresh and tasty!
No matter where you are, you have to confirm with your server that what you are ordering is vegan. I know the servers can be wrong (or not care) and there may be cross-contamination. There are no real guarantees. Also, you are eating at places that glorify meat consumption and you may object to these corporations generally. Still, if a place offers a vegan option, maybe the public can confirm that they want more plant-based food and gradually meat will be less sought after. That way, everyone wins including the cows.
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