Wendy’s has become a pretty iconic American fast food restaurant, shaping the nature of American fast food with its introduction of the “Pick-Up Window”, which was created by the founder of the restaurant chain Dave Thomas and was quickly adapted by fast food chains throughout the world.
Though perhaps not as world-renowned as the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King, or KFC, Wendy’s still manages to be one of the more prolific fast food chains in the United States and has made a name for itself with its highly iconic square beef burger patties and its popular dessert, the Frosty- a cross between soft serve ice cream and a milkshake-, both of which were created in 1969 and are still going strong to this day.
With more people than ever opting for a vegan diet- or unable to eat outside of a vegan diet due to health issues- it is important to know what places serve what items in terms of vegan food.
That is where Wendy’s come into play, as in this article we will be looking at exactly what you can get from the menu that classes as an entirely vegan dish.
There might not be a huge amount to choose from when it comes to vegan-friendly food at Wendy’s, but there is a lot to enjoy from the items that you can find and the food that can be customized to be made vegan friendly.
With this in mind, let’s start looking through exactly what Wendy’s has to offer in terms of vegan friendly food!
There are two hamburger buns offered by Wendy’s that don’t have any animal products used to make them, these being the premium bun and the sandwich bun.
However, the premium bun might not be suitable for vegans as it tends to be toasted on the same surfaces where various animal-related allergens are also toasted, such as pork fat and milk.
When it comes to full-on, vegan burgers, there aren’t any options, but there are burgers that you can modify so that they become suitable for vegans. These are as follows:
- Dave’s Single Burger: Served with a premium bun, you can make this burger vegan-friendly by removing the meat patty, the mayonnaise, the ketchup, and the cheese and replacing them with tomatoes, crinkle-cut pickles, extra lettuce, and raw sweet onion. To add a little more to the burger whilst still keeping it vegan friendly, you can add some jalapeño slices, avocado, spring mix.
- Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe: This can be made vegan by removing the meat patty, the ketchup, the mayonnaise, and the cheese and adding in some extra lettuce and mustard.
In June 2021, the restaurant held a test launch of a plant-based burger called the Spicy Black Bean burger, which was only introduced as a temporary menu addition to stores in Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Columbus.
Despite being marketed as plant-based, it did feature some non-vegan elements such as Chipotle sauce and pepper jack cheese (the bun could quite possibly feature animal products too).
It is likely that these could have been removed from the burger should you have asked, though which would have made for an entirely vegan burger.
The burger also featured a black bean patty made from various spices with chipotle jalapeños and that aforementioned sauce and cheese.
The burger was then topped with an assortment of salad, such as sweet onion slices, romaine lettuce, and fresh tomatoes.
The burger has apparently since been discontinued, but if you live in any of the three areas where it was introduced, you can always ask at your local Wendy’s to see if it is still available in any way.
Much like with Wendy’s burgers, there aren’t any sandwiches that are immediately available for vegans. However, there is one sandwich that can be altered to make it vegan friendly.
That sandwich is the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, as it is served on a vegan-friendly sandwich bun. Remove the chicken and the mayonnaise and replace it with tomatoes, pickles, mustard, lettuce, and sweet onions, and you will be able to enjoy this as a vegan treat.
There are several different kinds of salads available at Wendy’s, but none of them are vegan by themselves. You will need to modify them in order to make them vegan friendly, but it is much easier to do so in comparison to modifying burgers or a sandwich, as the salads are made fresh.
Before we get into the different salads that Wendy’s has to offer- and how they can be altered to make them vegan friendly- it is important to note that the salads at Wendy’s are often changing and will vary from location to location, so make sure to check with your local Wendy’s so that you know exactly what they offer.
Jalapeño Popper Salad
This salad features a delicious kick of heat thanks to jalapeños being a major element, with jalapeño ranch dressing and jalapeño slices being prominent.
The salad also features vegan-friendly ingredients, such as tomatoes, lettuce, and spring mix.
The parts that you will want to remove from the salad to make it vegan are the Applewood smoked bacon, the chicken, the pepper jack cheese, and the crispy jalapeño and cheddar crouton mix.
The ranch dressing is also likely to not be vegan, so this can be removed too.
Apple Pecan Salad
A great choice for those who enjoy the combination of the sweet and the savory, the Apple Pecan salad is a tangy and delicious choice. The salad doesn’t have quite as many ingredients that you will need to remove to make it vegan, either.
Remove the grilled chicken breast and the blue cheese crumbles to make it vegan, but you will also want to remove the roasted pecans if you don’t eat honey or milk.
You will be left with a delicious, vegan-friendly salad of apple bites, romaine lettuce, spring mix, dried cranberries, and pomegranate vinaigrette dressing.
Summer Strawberry Salad
Wendy’s summer-styled salad can be made vegan by removing the bacon, cheese, chicken, and candied almonds from the mix, which is quite a large portion of the ingredients.
However, you will still be left with romaine lettuce, strawberries, spring mix, and champagne vinaigrette, which is still likely to be a fresh and delicious salad during the warmer months.
The Wendy’s Taco Salad is basically a modified version of chips and salsa made up of tomatoes, lettuce, and cheddar cheese which is then topped off with Wendy’s signature salsa alongside light sour cream, and taco chips.
You will need to have the chili, cheese, and sour cream removed in order to make the salad vegan friendly.
Southwest Avocado Salad
This is another salad that features a fair amount of cheese and meat- with Applewood smoked bacon, grilled chicken, and two different kinds of cheese- so you will have to remove them all to make it suitable for a vegan diet.
This will leave you with avocado, tomatoes, and lettuce, as you will also need to skip the southwest ranch dressing too. To up the flavor a little bit, see if you can change out the dressing for a vegan-friendly one.
Parmesan Caesar Salad
This is another option that is a little bit depressing without the animal products, as all that you are left with is a bowl of romaine lettuce!
That being said, if this is all that you want from your salad, then this is definitely an option.
So, which of these salad dressings are vegan-friendly? Only two of these dressings are suitable for vegans, that being the salsa and the pomegranate vinaigrette.
Fries And Sides
There are plenty of sides available at Wendy’s, with some of them being vegan-friendly, so let’s go through the options that you can opt for that don’t contain any animal products.
The Wendy’s Natural-Cut Fries don’t have any animal-derived products whatsoever, being cooked in non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
That being said, some cross-contamination might be possible as they tend to be cooked in the same oil as dishes on the menu that feature milk and fish.
This might not be the case, but you never know and so if you are wary it might be best to avoid them.
Wendy’s also offers some juicy and crisp sliced apple slices, which are a great choice as a side snack option for vegans.
Quite a few of the dipping sauces available at Wendy’s are vegan friendly, including the following:
- Ketchup Packets (make sure that you use the ketchup packets only, as the ketchup that is sure to drizzle over the top of sandwiches and burgers at Wendy’s contains egg)
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Sea Salt
- Barbecue Sauce
- Hot Sauce
Seasoned Potato Wedges
Prepared with a specific seasoning made up of onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and some other spices, these fried potato wedges are a great option when it comes to a vegan side dish that is available at Wendy’s.
The baked potato is the only other vegan-friendly side that you can get at Wendy’s, but there are a few variations that you can get to make it a little more interesting.
You can top off a baked potato with chives- or keep it plain if you so choose-, or add a drizzle of some of the aforementioned sauces.
You can also ask for some salsa or avocado too. Just make sure that you don’t have any cheese, butter, or sour cream, as this will take away the vegan-friendly nature of the potato.
There are a wide range of drink options available at Wendy’s, with a fair amount of them being vegan-friendly. Check out our list below of all of the vegan-friendly beverage options:
- Dr. Pepper
- Fanta Orange
- Diet Coke
- Coca-Cola Zero
- All-Natural Lemonade
- Minute Maid Light Lemonade
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Pineapple Mango Lemonade
- Tropical Berry Lemonade
- Hi-C Flashin’ Fruit Punch
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Honest Kids Fruit Punch
- Simply Orange Juice
- Sweet Iced Tea
- Iced Tea
- Freshly Brewed Coffee
- Freshly Brewed Decaffeinated Coffee
- Cold Brew Iced Coffee
- Nestle Bottled Water
Wendy’s also has a breakfast menu, wherein you can get those aforementioned apple bites. There are also a few other options that are vegan friendly, including the following:
- Orange Juice
- Iced Tea
- Coffee (both regular and decaffeinated)
- Seasoned Potatoes (these potatoes are also fried in the same oil as food items like fish, so be wary if you opt for them).
Unfortunately, there are no vegan-friendly desserts currently available at Wendy’s. This includes the iconic drink/dessert known as the Frosty and the accompanying Frosty-ccinos as they contain dairy, so they are not available to those following a strict vegan diet.
However, there are both apples and strawberries available on the menu- as we previously noted- so opt for some of these fruits- or a fruity drink- if you are craving something sweet when you go to Wendy’s.
Much like the other options that we have talked about, kids’ meals can easily be customized to make them vegan friendly.
All you need to do to turn the standard hamburger that comes with the kid’s meal into a vegan option is to order it without any ketchup and without the beef patty.
Instead, replace these ingredients with extra tomatoes, raw sweet onion, lettuce, mustard, and crinkle-cut pickles.
The Wendy’s Kid’s Meal automatically comes with vegan-friendly options -either fries or apple bites- so you don’t need to change anything here.
The Wendy’s Kids Meal comes with milk as the default drink, which you will want to change up to make the meal truly vegan-friendly.
Luckily, there are various vegan options that the milk can be switched out for, such as a fountain drink- Coca-Cola, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, etc.-, orange juice, Honest Kids Fruit Punch or even just a simple bottle of water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Wendy’s Baked Oatmeal Bar Vegan?
The baked oatmeal bar served at Wendy’s can be a little bit deceptive, as you would be forgiven if you thought that this was a vegan snack.
Unfortunately, though, this isn’t the case. The Baked Oatmeal Bar contains both honey and egg, so it isn’t completely free of animal products.
Does Wendy’s Have Any Vegan Cheese Options?
At the moment, there are no options for vegan cheese at Wendy’s.
If you avoid dairy entirely because of a plant-based diet- or if you have any dietary restrictions that mean you can’t eat dairy products- then steer clear of any cheese on the Wendy’s menu (or ask for it to be removed if something on the menu with cheese in it takes your fancy).
Does Wendy’s Offer Any Vegan Nuggets?
You might have noticed that we have made no mention of nuggets in this article, and unfortunately that is only because there are no options for vegan nuggets currently at Wendy’s.
The rise in popularity of vegan meats cannot be ignored though, so there might be a time in the future when vegan meat substitutes could be possible, such as vegan nuggets or vegan patties in burgers.
What Is The Wendy’s Plantiful Burger?
The Plantiful Burger does not feature a traditional meat patty. Instead, it features a patty that is derived entirely from peas and pea protein!
The only catch with the Wendy’s Plantiful Burger is that it is currently only available in Canada. If you find yourself way up north, though, why not consider giving the Plantiful Burger a try if you find yourself visiting a Wendy’s?
What Is The Wendy’s Veggie Stack?
This is a vegetarian burger that can easily be turned into a vegan-friendly option, with a patty that is a custom-made blend of grains, spices, and vegetables toasted within a premium bun and topped off with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and garlic mayonnaise.
Simply remove the cheese and the garlic mayonnaise- and ensure that the buns are vegan friendly too- and you will have a tasty vegan burger.
However, this is another burger that isn’t available in the United States. In fact, this burger is only available in the United Kingdom!
So there you have all of the vegan-friendly options that are currently available at Wendy’s, including what you can do to customize certain menu items and make them suitable for a vegan diet.
Hopefully, Wendy’s will continue to expand their menu in the future to include even more vegan-friendly food options!
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