Eating out as a vegetarian is hard. When every main dish is some rendition of beef and chicken, options are limited, especially when it comes to fast food.
Oftentimes, when people choose to give up meat, they miss the savory flavors baked in so many of their former favorites that it can be hard to find replacements with as much to offer. And while there are plenty of plant-based options and meat replacements like seitan or tempeh, they are much blander than regular meat. But don’t let that trick you into thinking eating a vegetarian diet is the end of delicious, flavorful food. With the right seasonings, spices, and breading, you can turn the dullest of soy chunks into a mouthwatering masterpiece.
So forget the drive-through and mobile-ordering apps. We’re here to help end the struggle once and for all with these vegetarian fast food recipes that not only taste as good as the real thing – but they’ll save you money, too! Bonus: many of these recipes are vegan-friendly, too!
12 Copycat Vegetarian Fast Food Recipes
Vegetarian Big Mac
The food industry has really stepped up their game when it comes to veggie- and plant-based burgers so you never have to worry about missing out on your favorite meals. To create a vegetarian Big Mac at home, pick up your favorite veggie burger at the store, as well as sesame seed hamburger buns, cheese, onion, lettuce, and pickles. Skip the cheese to make this recipe vegan-friendly.
Check out the full vegetarian Big Mac recipe from The Edgy Veg (includes an additional recipe for the signature Big Mac sauce!).
Wendy’s Vegetarian Chili
Wendy’s Chili is the ultimate comfort food, but the restaurant’s version is far from vegetarian. Fortunately, we found a perfect alternative with this copycat recipe. Aside from a few tweaks, the ingredients mimic the real thing, including tomato sauce, red kidney beans, pinto beans, onions, celery, diced tomatoes, cumin seed, chili powder, and Boca ground burger.
Check out the full Wendy’s vegetarian Chili recipe here.
Chipotle Sofritas Burrito Bowl
It’s not hard to find something vegetarian at Chipotle, but ordering a burrito bowl without meat is not worth ordering at all. Enter the Tofu Sofritas Burrito Bowl. This vegetarian fast food recipe is a bit more involved than some of the others on this list since you have to prepare the tofu sofritas and burrito bowl separately. Main ingredients include veggies of your choice, black beans, tofu sofritas, and brown rice. Feel free to top your bowl with cheese, but without it, this recipe is vegan, as well.
See the full vegetarian Chipotle Burrito Bowl recipe from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen.
Taco Bell is one of many fast food joints that isn’t catered to vegetarian eaters. But that doesn’t make life any easier for those who steer clear of meat! The Crunchwrap Supreme is one of the best-selling dishes at Taco Bell, and now, it’s something even vegetarians can enjoy. In this recipe, the ground beef is swapped with seasoned Gardein beefless ground, and the tortillas are stuffed with refried beans, shredded lettuce, and tomato. Guacamole and cheese are optional.
Sans the cheese, this Crunchwrap Supreme recipe is vegan, too.
Click to see the entire vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme recipe.
Giving up meat is one thing, but giving up Chick-Fil-A is a different story. While this tofu recipe isn’t the real deal, it’s a close second to Chick-Fil-A’s nuggets. The recipe calls for bite-sized pieces of tofu, breaded and seasoned with spices like paprika, garlic, powdered mustard, and powdered sugar. Major bonus: this vegetarian (and vegan!) recipe comes with instructions to make copycat Chick-Fil-A honey mustard.
Get the full vegetarian Chick-Fil-A Nuggets recipe from 40 Aprons.
The McChicken is one thing we never thought we’d see go vegetarian, but with this easy recipe, it’s possible to enjoy it as a meat-free option. With instructions on how to whip up the McChicken patty, breading, and McChicken sauce, you’ll no longer feel limited when it comes to your favorite fast food. Curious about the “chicken” patty? It includes wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, poultry seasoning, vegetable broth, tahini, and onion.
The breading is comprised of eggs, flour, tempura mix, onion powder, and garlic powder, while the sauce is simply a combo of (vegan) mayo and onion powder. This fast food recipe is also vegan-friendly.
Click to see the full vegetarian McChicken recipe from The Edgy Veg.
In-N-Out Double Double
In-N-Out is famous for it’s giant burgers and meat-loaded fries, so what’s it doing on a list of vegetarian fast food recipes? Fortunately with plant-based ingredients, replicating even the heartiest of burgers isn’t just possible – it’s delicious. In this vegetarian version of the In-N-Out Double Double, the beef patties are replaced with Beyond Meat, though you can use any veggie or plant-based burger. Keep the cheese at bay (or use a vegan alternative) and this recipe is 100% vegan, too.
See the full vegetarian In-N-Out Double Double recipe.
California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Salad (with Tofu)
Thanks to Delish Knowledge’s recipe, we can enjoy CPK’s BBQ Chicken Salad with a delicious meat replacement. The recipe calls for a bed of lettuce (any kind will do), topped with tomatoes, avocados, black beans, corn, shredded carrots, and tofu. The homemade barbeque sauce is a combination of BBQ sauce, mayo (use vegan-friendly if necessary), soymilk, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. You can always drop the tofu if it’s not your cup of tea, or add in a bit of quinoa, barbequed seitan, or tempeh.
This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, too!
Get the vegetarian CPK BBQ Chicken Salad recipe here.
Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich
Add a “chicken” sandwich to your Chick-Fil-A vegetarian recipes, thanks to The Edgy Veg’s version of this dish. The end result looks and tastes a heck of a lot like the real thing, but the process of preparing it is another story. It’s an intricate recipe, starting with the chicken replacement. It’s a mix of wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, Himalayan salt, poultry seasoning, vegetable broth, and tahini. Then, the chicken replacement is soaked in a handmade marinade before applying the breading and frying in peanut oil. Unlike the real Chick-Fil-A sandwich, you can top it with whatever your heart desires, but this recipe calls for pickles and vegan cheese.
This recipe is also vegan.
See the full vegetarian Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich recipe from The Edgy Veg.
KFC Popcorn Chicken
KFC is definitely blacklisted as soon as someone goes vegetarian, but lucky for those who still crave chicken, we’ve got an answer. These vegan/vegetarian popcorn chicken bites are inspired by KFC’s dish, offering you the same crispy shell and tender inside. The only difference? It’s seasoned soy chunks, not chicken. The seasoning consists of vegetable broth, garlic, salt, ginger, flour, cornstarch, bread crumbs, garlic powder, and lemon pepper.
This vegetarian version of KFC’s Popcorn Chicken even comes with a recipe for homemade dipping sauce. Mix together just a few ingredients: fresh dill, sour cream, salt, and pepper. If you want this meal to be vegan, use soy sour cream instead of regular sour cream in the dipping sauce.
Click to see the entire vegetarian Popcorn Chicken recipe from The Viet Vegan.
Panda Express Orange Chicken
Most vegetarian versions of fast food include tofu as a meat replacement, but this recipe for vegetarian orange chicken calls for cauliflower instead, giving it a similar crunchy texture. By following this recipe, you’ll whip up a simple batter to fry the cauliflower in, as well as the classic, sweet orange sauce. After frying and tossing the cauliflower in the sauce, you’ll mix it with sauteed bell peppers and top with sesame seeds. Lay it on a base of rice or noodles, or eat the orange “chicken” on its own. It’s that good!
Check out the full vegetarian Orange Chicken recipe here.
KFC Hot Wings
The vegetarian version of KFC hot wings follow suit with the Panda Express Orange Chicken. With a base of cauliflower, these “chicken” wings are full of flavor and 100% vegetarian (and vegan!). The cauliflower bits start off soaking in a delicious marinade made of soy milk, sriracha, white wine vinegar, and cornstarch. Then, they are coated with a mix of wheat flour, paprika powder, herbal seasoning salt, chili powder, thyme, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper. From there, they are deep-fried until golden brown. It’s one of the easiest and tastiest vegetarian fast food recipes!
Get the full KFC Hot Wings recipe.
You can find variations of the Dagwood at McAlister’s and Jimmy John’s, but regardless of which restaurant you order it from, it’s loaded with meat. Not exactly vegetarian-friendly. This meat-free option is packed with veggies, including sweet potato, tomato, avocado, red onion, carrots, cucumber, purple cabbage, sprouts, spinach, and jalepeños. Add a few slices of cheese and layer on the spicy hummus. Bonus, if you leave out the cheese (or use vegan-friendly cheese), this recipe is vegan, as well.
See the full Dagwood Sandwich recipe here.
Submit Your Favorite Copycat Vegetarian Fast Food Recipes
Have you found a vegetarian version of your favorite fast food online? Maybe you’ve developed your own recipe from scratch. To share it with others, submit the ingredients and instructions below.