This is a guide to help you order vegan when you’re out at restaurants or ordering takeout.
The first thing to be clear about is what it means to be a dietary vegan. To most people, it means not consuming animal protein or products derived from animal products.
Here’s a list of things that are not included in a vegan diet: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, goat, bison, insects/bugs, honey.
Now that we’re aware of what vegans do and do not eat. Let’s go get some food! The first thing I like to do when ordering out is let the staff I’m vegan. Yes, so cliche, I know. I might as well wear it on my shirt, right?
But seriously, most people in the service industry are pretty aware of what a plant-based lifestyle looks like. So speak up or ask questions if needed.
These days, some establishments are using symbols on their menus to indicate what is vegan, or they have a portion of their menu dedicated to vegan customers. But sometimes you will not be that lucky. Don’t fear! This guide will help you order takeout vegan food with confidence.
If there are no symbols on their menu, perhaps you can find vegetable and vegetarian items. Do not confuse vegetarian with vegan, however, it is not the same. Vegetarians consume dairy, eggs, and honey, while vegans do not.
Keep in mind that while some establishments serve vegan food, they are not solely vegan. If shared equipment and facilities are concerns of yours, it’s best to stick to places that only serve vegan food.
Latin and Hispanic foods use a lot of beans, which are a great replacement for meat. Just be sure to check if they’re cooked in animal stock. Watch for cheese and sour cream, just ask for it to be taken off.
Mediterranean food is also fairly easy to eat vegan. Avoid or remove any cheese, yogurt sauces. Keep in mind that some pasta noodles are made with eggs.
Indian food can be a good option since coconut milk is often used in place of dairy cream. Be mindful of cheese dishes and yogurt, it’s even in the naan. Lentils are a delicious vegan protein and can be found in many middle-eastern cuisines.
Asian food can be tricky sometimes because of seafood and fish stock, sauces, and ingredients. Stick to vegetable entrees and ask if your meal contains fish. Most sushi places have vegetable rolls, watch out for spicy mayo or fish eggs.
Pizza is possible if you don’t mind eating it sans cheese. When ordering, ask for the cheese to be removed. You might even luck out and find vegan cheese! Also, some places can remove the cheese from garlic bread, worth asking!
Some places do not cater to a vegan crowd. Steakhouses, seafood shacks, and burger joints can be tough and you may have to stick to sides. Usually steamed or roasted vegetables are a safe bet, as long as they’re cooked in oil rather than butter. A simple swap most kitchens are willing to make if it’s not offered that way. While they’re not the healthiest, fries are a vegan staple. However, keep in mind some places use a shared fryer. Meaning the same oil is used for French fries, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, etc. If this is a concern to you, speak to the staff.
Stay away from the dessert menu. Best to fill up on dinner because ordering dessert will be a challenge. Unless the place is solely vegan or caters to vegan customers, you will probably not find anything that is vegan-friendly. Most cakes, cookies, pies, and ice creams all contain milk and eggs.
It’s best to do your research first. Before even going out, check to see if the place you’re headed has things you can eat. Use this guide to help you find vegan-friendly meals while dining out!