Move Over McDonalds – Healthy Vegan Fast Food

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Fast food has a bad rap, and understandably so. Most of it is diet disaster, artery clogging and send you to an early grave crap. And if you want to want something healthy and vegan at a fast food restaurant – forget it!

But times are changing. Now you can walk into some fast food restaurants and order a Bali Bliss tempeh burger with a side of Steamin’ Kale or a Portobello and “Sausage” Burger (with sausage made in-house from seitan).

I know healthy vegan fast food restaurants aren’t everywhere yet, but just a few years ago they didn’t exist at all. Now, at least where my husband and I live, there’s lots of quick dining options for health-conscious vegans.

And it’s my hope that soon everyone will be able to kick the KFC bucket because vegan fast food will be available far and wide!

Here’s a list of healthy vegan friendly fast food restaurants that I’m aware of, but please share if you know of others.

Healthy Vegan Fast Food Restaurants

Native Foods (California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon) – I started eating at Native Foods long before I went vegan. Their Chicken Run Ranch Burger and Nuevo Native Nachos will satisfy even a ‘meat-and-potatoes’ palate. My current faves are the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl and Portobello and “Sausage” Burger.

VeggieGrill (California, Oregon, Washington) – I feel fortunate that a VeggieGrill recently opened up near where I live. I’ve only been a few times, but so far I’ve loved everything I’ve ordered. Their Bali Bliss, a tempeh burger, is worthy of its name. I also recommend their Baja Fiesta Salad.

Loving Hut (more than 200 locations spanning multiple countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America) – My husband and I enjoy the Loving Hut near us in Ladera Ranch. They serve a variety of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. My hubby typically orders the Mongolian, which is fabulously seasoned and seriously tastes like beef. My pick is the Deluxe Vegetables. And we both drool over their Pandan Cake. I don’t know what pandan is, but it makes a sweet, moist, beautifully green cake. One thing I want to mention about the Loving Hut is that each location is different. We went to another Loving Hut while traveling and the menu and the look of the café were different (and not in a good way).

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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17 Responses to Move Over McDonalds – Healthy Vegan Fast Food

  1. Maryanne says:

    We have a Loving Hut in New Jersey. The food/service is EXCELLENT! My only complaint, I am turned off by the photos of celebrities who are vegan along with the sign “Beautiful people are vegan” which makes it seem like an exclusive club (something PETA is famous for doing). Health doesn’t need labels. We’re all at different walks in our journey. Why turn off people with a holier than thou attitude?

    I always said there should be vegan diners because I love the retro decor of diners, unlike the foo-foo elitist vibe most vegan restaurants put out.

    • You’ve brought up an interesting topic Maryanne! Do vegan organizations put out the vibe that being vegan is exclusive – just for the elite? It’s sad if that’s the case. I know when I read restaurant reviews for vegan restaurants, a lot of meat-eating reviewers make comments about vegans and vegan restaurants being ‘holier-than-thou.’ I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced this in a vegan restaurant, but (so my husband tells me) I can be clueless. I know that sometimes people become defensive when I just tell them I’m vegan. I don’t think I’m coming across as ‘holier-than-thou’ when I say this. I suppose it’s possible that I’m doing so subconsciously or it might just be that someone is reading too much into what I’m saying. So much to think about! Celeste:)

      • Maryanne says:

        Hi Celeste,

        No, you’re definitely not coming across as “holier than thou.” I’m very sensitive to people, even on the internet, and I can tell you’re a total sweetheart (the way you spoke of your sister was so incredibly loving, you brought a tear to my eye!)

        I don’t know why other vegans act like that (raw foodists are the worst — I got into so many fights at raw food message boards when I was in the lifestyle a long time ago). I think a lot of people just want to one-up others and seem like they are better. Humble, genuine people are in the minority.

        And on the flip side of the coin, I think people become defensive because they are set in their ways and don’t want to change. The minute I learned about being a vegetarian, I wanted to be one 🙂

        Hugs! xo

    • You’re such a sweetheart Maryanne! Thanks for your kind words. Yea, I don’t get why vegans would act like that. It just seems silly because it only turns people off. Sorry to hear about your challenging interactions with raw foodists – yikes! Since I don’t follow a raw diet, I don’t interact with raw foodists much. I agree with you about people getting defensive because they don’t want to change. I also think that sometimes people just jump to the conclusion that you’re judging them even when you’re not. Celeste:)

  2. VegCharlotte says:

    In Canton, Michigan there is an Indian fast food place called Neehees which is excellent. It’s Indian vegetarian street food. Lots of vegan options. I think they were trying to franchise …

    • Thanks so much for your comment Catherine! I looked up Neehees on Yelp and it got a lot of great reviews. I hope they’re able to franchise, and if they do that they’re able to maintain their quality. Here’s a link to the restaurant if anyone is interested: http://www.neehees.com/ Celeste:)

  3. Emily says:

    You’re lucky to have some great restaurants to chose from! I’m luckily to live on what we call a very “granola” Island….meaning there are an abundance of people here focused on healthy, farm fresh foods, with plenty of vegan fare to spare. Also, we’re only a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle, and there is plenty to chose from there, too. I’m so glad there is increasing awareness in the food industry.

    • Sounds like you live on a vegan island paradise Emily! I’m wondering, are you familiar with Someday Farm Vegan Bed & Breakfast on S. Whidbey Island? My husband and I will be vacationing in Washington this summer and we’re considering staying there. Celeste:)

      • Emily says:

        Yes–it’s an Island paradise here for a lot of reasons!

        I haven’t heard of that B&B, but it sounds intriguing. I’ll have to ask my fiance when he’s home (he does website and marketing for B&B’s). Whidbey Island is a wonderful place to visit, though! We often take a summer drive up through the region.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I wish we had any options for healthy fast food here. I almost always take my lunch to work, because my options otherwise are mostly gross fast food like McDonald’s or Burger King. When I do want to eat out, there is a really good burrito place a block away that I can walk to. All fresh and authentic Mexican food. Even the tortillas are made daily (the area where they make them has a big picture window, so you can watch the process). Otherwise, I might get a baked potato and salad from Wendy’s. Usually though, it’s leftovers. It saves me money and I’m in control of what I’ve put in the food. But, that’s what you can usually expect in smaller towns. There’s not enough people here to have “fringe” restaurants. All vegan, or even just vegetarian, would just never make it here, so I really can’t blame anyone for not opening a restaurant that would be destined to fail. I wouldn’t.

    • I always appreciate your comments Stephanie, and I feel for you girl! I’m not a fan of brown bag lunches. I’m too lazy to make them and even when I do, they don’t appeal to me much. Like you say, however; bringing your lunch does save a lot of money. I’m glad that you at least have a great Mexican place to go to when you don’t feel like brown bagging it. And I get that vegan restaurants just can’t make it in a small town (especially one with lots of dairy farms!). I hope that I live to see the day when ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ aren’t considered “fringe.” Celeste:)

  5. I wish there were more options around here, though ive definitely noticed an increase!

    • Thanks for your comment Suzi! I’m glad to hear that your choices are increasing and I hope that they continue to do so. When my husband and I first went vegan a year ago, we only had one vegan restaurant to go to. Believe it or not, several have opened up in our area in just the past year. This gives me hope that vegan restaurants and chains are on the rise. So maybe more will come your way soon. Celeste:)

  6. Shannon says:

    Dang blasted. I live in the Houston area. It’s Subway or Subway here. Of course, we have found (or created) menu items at some non-vegan restaurants. Most chefs will accommodate their regulars who have gone to the dark side (gone vegan) I find. It’s been fun educating them!

    • I feel for you Shannon! Maybe if we keep blogging we’ll inspire more vegans and then vegan restaurants will open up everywhere. That’s my dream anyway. I do believe that blogging makes a difference. And if you ever get out to SoCal, let me know! I take you to some fab vegan restaurants. Celeste 🙂

      • Shannon says:

        I’ve been told by many that I belong in SoCal! Maybe so. My mom lived in San Clemente for a spell…used to love going to visit her in my 20’s, surfing in that frigid water. Santa Monica is one of my favorite places in the country.

        I will hold you to that restaurant tour.

    • I’m just a hop from San Clemente in Laguna Beach. What a small world! And please do hold me to the vegan restaurant tour – it would be my pleasure! Celeste 🙂

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