There's no doubt that Denver's vegan dining scene is growing. More and more restaurants are offering plant-based options, making it easier than ever to ditch dairy, eggs and meat. But when you're traveling or need something in an instant, or you're just not feeling like a farm-to-table warrior, these national chains offer a decent vegan option beyond just fries — so give in to temptation without giving up your plant-based lifestyle.
Carl’s Jr. recently launched the Beyond Famous Star, a charbroiled Beyond Meat patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, dill pickles, special sauce and mayonnaise. Skip the cheese and mayo to make it completely vegan — the special sauce can stay. On the side, enjoy fried zucchini, fries or crispy breaded onion rings.
Taco Bell’s vegan options are plentiful with a few tweaks and twists. Replace beef with beans, leave out the sour cream and cheese, and add in guacamole, potatoes and rice to the taco salad, Mexican pizza, crispy taco and burritos. For dessert, the crispy cinnamon twists are totally vegan.
Pack a burrito with braised tofu with poblano and chipotle chiles, pinto beans, black beans, white or brown rice, fajita veggies and guacamole. Complete the vegan order with chips, salsa and guacamole; the green salsa, red salsa, fresh tomato salsa and chili-corn salsa are all vegan. Or get the same order in a bowl or as a set of three tacos.
Burger King offers a MorningStar Veggie Burger that’s great for vegetarians, but it does contain both dairy and eggs. But for breakfast, Burger King is has a surprising option for the egg- and dairy-free as well. The French toast sticks are completely vegan, despite tasting like traditional French toast. (We don't know how they make French toast without eggs, but it works.) The bite-sized hash brown circles are also vegan. There's even oatmeal, which can be made vegan by requesting that your oats be cooked in water instead of milk.
The Lentil Quinoa Bowl, Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with edamame, and Ten Vegetable Soup are all vegan options with no modifications needed. The Mediterranean sandwich can be made vegan by swapping the bread for a French baguette or rye, sourdough or black-pepper focaccia bread and ditching the feta cheese. Order the Greek and Modern Greek without feta, the Fuji Apple Salad without chicken or cheese, and the Asian Sesame and Spicy Thai salads without wontons or chicken.
Start with the tortilla soup, which is totally vegan as long as you skip the cheese topping. Create a burrito bowl, burrito or tacos with a mix of cooked peppers and onions, a handful of salsas, guacamole, cilantro lime rice or brown rice, black or pinto beans and, in some locations, potatoes. The pico de gallo, roasted chile corn, salsa verde, salsa roja and fiery habanero salsas are all vegan.
Many of the breads at Subway are made without milk and eggs, including the nine-grain wheat, hearty Italian, Italian white, honey oat, roasted garlic and sourdough, as are the spinach and tomato-basil wraps. Some locations carry vegetarian patties, but they contains eggs. Load up on vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, banana peppers, jalapeños, pickles, onions, olives and green pepper. Many of the sauces are vegan — buffalo sauce, sweet onion, guacamole, deli brown mustard, yellow mustard, red wine vinegar, herb garlic oil and vinaigrette. The black-bean soup and many chip selections are also vegan.
Noodles & Company
At this homegrown chain, the Japanese pan noodles are completely vegan, made with udon noodles, black sesame seeds, broccoli and carrots. There are also a handful of dishes that can be made vegan with a few simple tweaks. These include the Thai green curry without shrimp, penne rosa without cream and cheese and the spaghetti marinara without cheese. Add a tossed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette for fresh crunch.
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BurgerFi has the vegan Beyond Burger available with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onion on a multigrain bun with a side of fries. There's also a veggie burger, but it does contain dairy, milk and eggs.
At Dunkin' Donuts, many of the bagels (the company's other round thing with a hole), such as sesame, poppy seed, salt, cinnamon raisin, everything, onion, and garlic, are vegan. Other vegan options are the French roll, the pretzel twist, the English muffin and hash browns. Most of the coffee drinks can easily be made vegan by swapping in almond milk and leaving off the whipped cream.