Vegetarian and Vegan Options at Burger Chains: Updated January 2016
Harvey’s was one of the first burger chains to develop and promote its own, simply named, Veggie Burger. The veggie burger and the multigrain bun it comes on are vegan. The fries and onion rings are vegan as well. The deep fried pickles contain milk products, but are vegetarian friendly. The side salad with the Italian, Raspberry Vinaigrette, or Balsamic dressing is vegan. Their gravy is also vegan and this was verified by the company via email. The Caesar dressing is not vegetarian and contains anchovies. Note that the website warns of cross-contamination in the kitchen or with the manufacturer if that concerns you.
As of July 2018, A & W is now serving the Beyond Burger as their veggie burger. It comes with mayo and another dairy-based sauce by default, so you need to request no mayo and no uncle sauce to make it vegan. The fries and sweet potato fries are vegan, but check with individual locations to see if they are cooked in the same fryer as meat if that concerns you. The gravy contains chicken fat. The chipotle mayonnaise dipping sauce contains egg but is vegetarian. The macaroni salad, coleslaw and potato salad are also vegetarian but contain dairy. A & W is one of the few fast food restaurants that does not offer any salads.
Burger King US has a veggie burger, supplied by Morningstar Farms. However, it is not vegan. The patty contains both milk and eggs, as does the bun.
Burger King Canada’s veggie burger also contains milk and eggs, so is presumably from the same supplier now. Their official policy says the patty is NOT cooked on the same grill as meat, but check with individual locations to confirm. The Garden Salad is vegan. Dressing choices may vary with locations but Burger King Canada has Kraft Balsamic Dressing, which is vegan. Their french fries and hash browns are vegan, but the onion rings contain milk. Burger King also notes that they usually use the same deep fryer for meat and onion rings and potentially for other menu items as well. The Caesar dressing contains anchovies.
Hero Burger has many restaurants around Canada (mostly southern Ontario) and is known for its environmental stewardship. Both the patty and bun for the Soul Burger are vegan friendly, as are the fries. The sweet potato fries and onion rings are vegan. They have a green salad, but none of their dressings are vegan. They have balsamic and raspberry vinaigrette which may be vegan depending on supplier, but they are not listed as vegan. The beef flavoured poutine sauce apparently is not actually flavoured with beef, and is vegetarian but not vegan.
McDonald’s US fries are not vegetarian or vegan – they contain hydrolyzed milk and the oil they are cooked in contains beef flavoring.
Mcdonald’s Canada phased out the beef tallow oil in 2007 and now uses vegetable oil and vegetable based flavor. Corporate policy (in Canada) is to use a dedicated deep fryer for the fries. Big Mac Sauce contains milk and eggs in case you wanted to put it on something that isn’t a Big Mac – buns appear to be vegan but filled with a huge amount of questionable chemicals. The crispy onions are vegan, but check with individual locations about what they are cooked with. The hash browns also appear to be vegan as well but are made with a long list of chemicals. The salads are supposed to be freshly assembled and are customizable. Some things to watch out for: the croutons contain flavours derived from milk products and the couscous blend in the Greek salad is made with cheese.
A black bean veggie burger is being rolled out in some locations in Ohio, but otherwise there are few options. Vegan: Garden Salad (ask no cheese) with pomegranate vinaigrette or spicy Asian chili vinaigrette, plain baked potato, tortilla chips and Salsa. Vegetarian options: Possibly the Apple Pecan chicken, and salad if you can ask for it without chicken. Asian Cashew Chicken Salad could be vegan without chicken. Baked Potato toppings are vegetarian except for bacon. For salads, the croutons contain milk and the lemon garlic Caesar dressing has anchovies in it. The fries and chili cheese fries either contain fish products or are cooked with fish and Wendy’s also notes they might be cooked with other possible allergens which might not be vegetarian or vegan. Website warns ingredients may vary between locations, depending on suppliers.
The Five Guy’s website says its veggie sandwich and grilled cheese sandwich are suitable for lacto-ovo vegetarians but not vegans. Their buns and rolls also contain egg and dairy. The bread is toasted, usually on a separate grill from meat products. However, there is a chance for cross contamination, it is advised to check at the individual locations to be certain if this concerns you. Their fries are just plain potatoes cooked in 100% peanut oil and are suitable for vegan diets. Also take note, the poutine gravy contains chicken fat.
The American based fast food chain is rapidly expanding into Canada. Its menu is filled with chemical drenched, meat-centric meals, and there are few vegan options. The fries are vegan and are cooked in vegetable shortening (which contains Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ, Citric Acid and Dimethylpolysiloxane) and the hash brown nuggets are vegan. The onion rings and breaded zucchini contain whey but are vegetarian. They have a side salad, which has cheese on it, as well as milk and cheese in the croutons. The house dressing has eggs, whey and other milk products in it. The balsamic dressing is vegan.
The very meat-centric Canada chain has a vegetarian option call The Option which is described as a custom blend of cheesy goodness sandwiched between two Roasted portabello mushrooms, breaded and deep fried. No vegan options at this time.
Big Smoke Burger
Big Smoke Burger confirmed via email that they have a veggie burger option. The patty is vegan with straightforward ingredients: Water, Soy Protein, Canola Oil, Modified Wheat Gluten, Salt, Spices, Onion, Garlic. The bun, however, is not. They suggested opting for a lettuce wrapped burger if you don’t want the bun.