Friday, December 08, 2006

Fast-food vegetarian

Eating while traveling can be a bit of a pain for vegetarians. Most of us, at one time or another, have been driving on the interstate for hours when our stomach starts to growl. Then it's time to look for a quick place to grab a bite to eat -- but what is there for vegetarians to eat amid all those Golden Arches and other fast-food restaurants?

My quick-stop eatery of choice is Subway or Quizno's. It's generally fairly easy to find a Subway when you're traveling, even if it's somewhere unfamiliar. Just get off the highway at a busy exit and look for a strip mall. My favorite thing to get at Subway is a vegetable-patty sub -- it's really good! The drawback is that it's not offered at all Subways. You can also get a veggie-delight sub or a veggie salad. Quizno's has a fancier veggie sub, whose ingredients include guacamole.

Q'doba is also another good choice. I love their grilled-vegetable burrito (I usually get it "naked" in a bowl) and grilled-vegetable taco salad. They're not quite as easy to find as Subways, though.

Wendy's will also do in a pinch, for a light meal of a baked potato and garden side salad. They used to have a large garden salad that I was very fond of and ate quite a lot, but unfortunately they no longer offer it. This was a huge blow to me! I also remember when they had the pitas years ago -- they had an awesome vegetarian one. I hate that they seem to have gotten LESS veg-friendly over the past few years.

Another solution I've found is to find a mall and head to their food court. There will generally be someplace there where you can get a veggie sub or slice of veggie pizza.

Fazoli's is a fast-food Italian restaurant where you can get cheese pizza, a cheese-and-tomato panini or pasta with marinara or alfredo sauce. They're not very easy to find, however, with a lot fewer locations that McDonald's or Burger King.

Speaking of Burger King, they offer a veggie burger (as does Backyard Burgers), but I confess that I've never tried it. I just don't "trust" a veggie burger from a fast-food hamburger restaurant -- I really don't want one grilled on the same grill as the hamburger patties. I applaud them for at least making a token effort, and you could always ask them to microwave it instead, but I'd rather go elsewhere. Though I suppose I'd get it if it were the only restaurant for miles and I was REALLY hungry.

What do you do for meals when you're traveling? And do you trust the veggie fare at fast-food restaurants like Burger King?


At 12/09/2006 8:09 AM, Blogger Sadiq M. Alam said...


At 12/09/2006 2:56 PM, Blogger Countess said...

We love road trips and travel quite a bit. Subway is almost always our lunch stop. I get the Veggie Delight without cheese, but loaded with extra veggies and black olives. Depending upon which direction you are headed, there are quite often pizza joints at the gas station/travel plazas. Denny's works in a pinch with baked potatoes and side salads. They have a veggie burger, but I don't trust the grill sitch, which goes for Burger King and MacDonald's as well. Most anywhere we go I'm pretty happy ordering sides of veggies, salads and potatoes. Once we settle in at a motel for the night, we head to the local Italian or Mexican restaurant where we always find veggie meals on the menu.

It's another story traveling in Europe, especially being vegan!

At 12/11/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger Julie said...

My favorite "fast food" type of restaurant is Moe’s Southwest Grill. Seasoned tofu is an option in place of meat on everthing on the menu. I've also observed that Moe's employees are also very conscientious about keeping the tofu and other vegetarian ingredients separated from meats on its grills.

And Moe's has a fun nutrition calculator on its Web site,, where you can see the complete nutritional breakdown for each menu item. Then you can customize your dish and see how the breakdown is affected.

Another thing I like to do when travelling is check for vegetarian restaurants along the way. Several Web sites can help you do this. My favorite is

At 12/14/2006 4:48 PM, Blogger Andy said...

When my family (all meat eaters 'cept me) want the occasional fast food we stop at burger king for the BK veggie, hold the mayo thank you. I've never tasted that flame broiled meat flavor on the few that I've had (still less than 10 I'd wager). Perhaps they "broil" them on the same thingy that handles the chicken and fish sandwich? I can't be picky sometimes.

Taco Bell: bean burrito, add lettuce, hold cheese (although that lettuce is now suspect, oui?)

Subway: the veggie patty (a.k.a. veggie max) available at more cosmopolitan franchises is pretty darn tasty. Not sure if it is vegan though.

Moe's Rules! Wish Q'doba had tofu.

At 12/14/2006 4:54 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Oh, the BK veggie is the original Mornigstar Farms Veggie Burger so NOT vegan (eggs).

At 12/17/2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Subway seems to be a popular choice!

At 3/24/2007 7:20 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

While in a pinch for food selections, I found out that a McDonald's Big Mac without the meat, add a tomato was actually quite good! It was very surprising! And I also left off the cheese and this was still pretty good.

At 7/20/2007 3:39 AM, Anonymous CreditCook said...

Subway is definetely the best place for lunch. One sub makes me feel good.:)


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