HACKS: How To Eat Vegan At Every Major UK Restaurant Chain

This guide is about to become your new best friend
It's surprisingly easy to eat vegan on the British high street - this guide shows you how (Photo: Pizza Express)

Whether you’re a full-time vegan or vegetarian, or just doing #meatfreemondays, it can sometimes be a struggle to know where to eat out and what to order at your favorite restaurants. 

But, vegan and veggies, rejoice! Because we’ve done some digging and unearthed some of the best meat-free options at a huge range of 29 UK high street restaurants, from Nando’s to Wagamama, and much more.

We’ve also included some sneaky tricks to hack the regular menu to make it suitable for veggies and vegans. You’re welcome.

**This list is based on current restaurant menus as of September 2017 – always check with your server or the restaurant’s allergen menu to ensure that dishes are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

1. Pizza Express 

Pizza Express’ menu has an ever-increasing range of veggie and vegan-friendly options. 

The chain has recently added two totally vegan pizzas to its menu: the Pianta and the Vegan Giardiniera

Even better, any of the vegetarian pizzas can be adapted to be vegan by either removing the cheese or replacing it with vegan cheese. 

And let’s not forget the reason we all head to Pizza Express: the dough balls. Regular and gluten-free dough balls are vegan-friendly if you replace the garlic butter and pesto for oil and balsamic vinegar instead. 

Other vegan options include the Bruschetta Originale (without pesto and garlic butter) and the coconut delight dessert.

View the full menu here

2. Wagamama

Exciting news for veggies and vegans – Wagamama recently launched a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu. The menu has variations of Wagamama favorites plus drinks, desserts, sides, and more.

Many of the vegetarian dishes on its main menu can be modified to be suitable for vegans by removing fish sauce, eggs, and by replacing egg noodles with rice noodles. 

But it’s definitely worth asking your server beforehand about specific ingredients.

View the full menu here

3. Nando’s

Nando’s has a surprisingly large choice of veggie choices, which can also be hacked to make them vegan. 

Starters and sides, which are vegan-friendly, include humous and peri-peri drizzle, olives, garlic bread, chips, Peri-Peri-salted chips, and corn-on-the-cob. Plus, all of their glazes and sauces are vegan.

Order the veggie burger/pitta with no mayo, or the portabello mushroom and halloumi burger with double mushroom and no halloumi to make them vegan. 

Other delicious vegan options are the quinoa salad, the avocado and green bean salad, and the Mediterranean salad all without the dressing (opt for Nandos sauces instead).

View the full menu here

4. McDonald’s

Sometimes we all need that McDonald’s hit, even if we’re veggie or vegan. 

Its range of dishes isn’t huge, but it includes some of the best bits like hash browns, fries and apple pies, plus side salads, and fruit bags. 

The veggie deluxe and spicy veggie deluxe burgers are suitable for vegans if you order without mayo.

View the full menu here

5. Burger King

Burger King isn't renowned for its veggie and vegan-friendly options, so there are only a few choices. 

The kids veggie burger can be ordered without mayo for a vegan option and there's also fries.

View the full menu here

6. Tortilla 

Mexican food is a great option for veggies and vegans; just replace the meaty fillings with extra veg, guacamole, and salad. 

And remove the cheese and sour cream to make it vegan-friendly.

View the full menu here

7. Barburrito

Similar to Tortilla, the menu at Barburrito can be made veggie and vegan-friendly by subbing the meat for extra veggies and removing the cheese and sour cream if you’re vegan. 

Plus, the churros and crunchy slaw are vegan-friendly (oh, yes!). 

View the full menu here

8. Las Iguanas 

The Mexican chain has a separate vegan and vegetarian menu, which can also be filtered online by dietary requirement. 

The veggie/vegan offering is pretty comprehensive and includes many Mexican favourites such as fajitas, tacos, salads, and desserts. 

Make sure to specify to your server that you’re vegan so any dairy products can be left out.

View the full menu here

9. Five Guys

Five Guys doesn’t have a huge variety of veggie options.

The menu isn’t great for vegans, as the buns contain egg and milk, so the only real option is fries – they’re pretty delicious though!

View the full menu here

10. Gourmet Burger Kitchen

While a burger restaurant may not be the the most obvious choice for vegans or veggies, GBK actually has quite a few meat-free options which will satisfy your burger cravings. 

Plus, it has a really helpful allergen menu which codes every menu item according to its suitability.

Veggie burgers include the Californian, Falafel, and Johnny Be Goat, while the Dippy Hippy burger is vegan.

Its sourdough buns are the only vegan-friendly buns, but fries and homeslaw are not suitable for vegans *weeps*

View the full menu here

11. Handmade Burger Co.

Handmade Burger Co. offers a whopping 15 vegan and veggie options, including six burgers – Cajun Vegetable & Bean, Veg-Mex, Falafel, Sweet Potato & Bean, Thai Vegetable, and Goats Cheese Veggie Stack – two salads, seven fries, and sides.

Make sure to order a sourdough bun if you’re vegan, as brioche and gluten-free buns are a no-go. Plus, staff will make any milkshake with soya milk to make them vegan-friendly.

View the full menu here

12. Byron

While Byron has several vegetarian options, its choices aren’t as good for vegans. 

The bean patty and mushroom burger have egg and milk in them, but you can make the mushroom burger vegan-friendly by losing the bun and replacing it with extra salad. Then opt for hot sauce, house dressing, extra jalapenos, fried onions or avocado instead of the cheese and aioli. 

None of the desserts are suitable for vegans, but you can fill up on regular or sweet potato fries and nachos without the sour cream or cheese.

View the full menu here

13. Zizzi

Zizzi is another great chain restaurant with a vegan menu

It actually has a really helpful feature on its website, which allows you to filter the menu by dietary needs. 

Plus, it's recently added a vegan-friendly, mozzarella-style cheese made with rice milk to the menu, so ask your server if you can swap out regular cheese for vegan cheese. 

The vegan menu also includes customizable pizzas made with non-gluten bases, spaghetti pomodoro with veggie additions, and a vegan chocolate and praline torte.

View the full menu here

14. TGI Fridays 

TGI Fridays has a quite a good vegetarian offering, including Jack Daniels sesame mushroom strips, fajitas, veggie burgers, and delicious desserts. 

But its vegan offering isn’t as strong, and only includes a few items: roasted vegetable pasta, Jack Daniels sauce, fries, house salad, asian slaw, and the fruit cup. 

Still, you can always fill up on cocktails, right?

View the full menu here

15. Giraffe 

Giraffe has a huge array of veggie dishes from around the world, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

All sides are vegetarian and the skin-on fries, home fries, spring veg, and onion rings are also vegan. 

Vegan dishes include the Tofu and Squash Laksa, the Tofu and Broccoli Goan curry, the Indo Coco curry, and the San Fran super salad, although many vegetarian dishes can be modified by removing dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese.

View the full menu here

16. Pret

For on-the-go vegan eating Pret is one of the best options out there

It offers a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian food and has previously won the PETA UK vegan food award. 

New menu items are added all the time (and are clearly marked), but some favourite vegan options include: super green sandwich, dairy-free chocolate chia pot, sweet potato falafel and smashed beets box, and the rainbow veggie pot, among others.

View the full menu here

17. Subway

For vegetarians, Subway is a great choice as it has several veggie options, which you can customise to add or remove ingredients. 

For vegans, it gets a bit trickier, the veggie patty is not vegan-friendly, so go for the veggie delite instead without the cheese. All Subway’s breads, apart from the flatbread and the Italian herb and cheese, are vegan, and many of its sauces are vegan as well.

View the full menu here

18. Pizza Hut

If you’ve got a pizza craving, Pizza Hut offers several different veggie pizzas, which can be hacked to make them vegan by ordering without the cheese. 

The pan dough, All-American thin dough and flatbread dough pizza bases are suitable for vegans; as are the tomato and BBQ pizza sauces. 

Vegans and vegetarians can also take advantage of the unlimited salad bar, which has many suitable items.

View the full menu here

19. Prezzo 

There are quite a few vegan options available at Prezzo, including an entire vegan sharing board, the penne arrabiata, house fries, pappardelle, and more. 

All of the pizzas have a vegan-friendly base and can be ordered without cheese and with additional vegetable toppings, so you won’t miss out! 

View the full menu here

20. Bella Italia

Bella Italia offers a ‘create your own pizza’ option on its menu, which is perfect for veggies and vegans.

All pizzas can be made without cheese. Bella Italia also offers the option to swap pasta for spiralized vegetables, including courgettes, carrots, and golden beetroot. 

The lenticchie spaghetti with a rich lentil and mushroom ragu is a great option for vegans. Hack vegetarian dishes by removing dairy products such as mozzarella to make them suitable for vegans.

View the full menu here

21. ASK Italian

ASK Italian is another restaurant which offers exclusively vegan and vegetarian menus, just ask (sorry!) your server. 

Vegan options include bruschetta, pizzas, pasta, salad, and dessert so you won’t miss out - and most of the vegan dishes can be ordered from the kids menu as well. 

View the vegan menu here

22. Carluccio's 

Carluccio's has an entire menu dedicated to vegan and vegetarian food, so no hacks needed here. 

Some of the delicious offerings include Spaghetti Pomodoro, Risotto al Funghi, and Tiramisu. Delicious.

View the full vegan/vegetarian menu here

23. Yo! Sushi 

Who said sushi was all about fish? 

Yo! offers a really good range of 19 vegan dishes, including vegetable yaki soba, firecracker rice, tofu katsu curry, and miso dumpling ramen. 

Plus, it has a bespoke hand roll, which can be made vegan if you request it. 

View the veggie/vegan menu here

24. Bill's 

As Bill's’ menu changes seasonally, it can be hard to find exclusively vegan dishes, however it does have plenty of delicious, vegetarian options that can be adapted. 

To hack the veggie menu, vegan-style, you can order dishes minus the dairy and egg ingredients. 

For example, order the veggie mezze board without tzatziki and halloumi, which can be replaced with double falafel and humous, or add a portion of fries for more substance.

View the full menu here

25. Itsu 

Itsu is definitely winning when it comes to vegan and vegetarian Japanese food and sushi. 

It has a huge selection of options available, from five types of vegan sushi to super healthy salads. Some of the best choices are the Hip, Humble and Healthy salad box, vegetable dumplings, tenderstem broccoli with satay sauce and more. 

View the full menu here

26. Wetherspoon's

A great option for budget eating, surprisingly Wetherspoon's has a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu, which has a huge variety of dishes from breakfast to dinner. 

Many of the veggie dishes can be hacked to make them vegan; for example, the sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry can be ordered without naan bread, and nachos can be ordered without cheese or sour cream (ask for extra guacamole and salsa instead). 

Plus, it offers a ‘build your own breakfast’ option, which allows you to completely personalize a vegan or veggie breakfast.

View the full menu here

27. Harvester

The humble Harvester offers several vegetarian options, including a veggie burger. 

Its vegan offering is slightly more limited, but includes an aubergine and red lentil tagine, stuffed red peppers, penne arrabiata, coconut and raspberry rice pudding, and the free salad bar, plus fries and sweet potato fries. 

View the full menu here

28. Coffee shops

Most coffee shops now offer milk alternatives such as almond milk, soya milk, and coconut milk for vegans. 

If you’re heading to Starbucks, avoid whipped cream, java chips, caramel syrup, and anything with pumpkin spice *weeps*. Many of its drinks can be made vegan by replacing the milk, but check first as some ingredients cannot be modified.

Costa’s chocolate powder contains milk, so is not suitable for vegans, which rules out hot chocolate and mocha.

This post by Intu was originally published here

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