8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now

8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now

McDonald's, Burger King, and more fast food chains are serving up these vegetarian menu items.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Burger King Impossible Whopper
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Nearly every major fast food chain across the nation has taken a dip into the plant-based community pool. Some are still just testing the waters, but others are diving right in. Whether you’re strictly vegetarian or just enjoy the occasional Meatless Monday, your options have expanded in the world of fast food over the past five years. Some fast food chains have tried to recreate their most popular offerings in a plant-based form, while others have decided to create new and uniquely vegetarian entrees.

What follows are some of the plant-based fast food items that you should keep on your radar. If you’ve already tried any or all of these, let us know your thoughts.

Advertisement

2 / 10

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Kevin Pang

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper was one of the first meatless fast food burgers widely available, and it made a big splash. Prior to its debut, most vegetarian fast food offerings didn’t last long on menus; instead, they were limited-time offers, or LTOs. The Impossible Whopper, on the other hand, launched in 2019 and has remained on the BK menu ever since.

The soy and potato protein-based burger patty is the only thing that really sets the Impossible Whopper apart from its meaty counterpart. Clocking in at 630 calories, it isn’t the significantly healthier choice people might be looking for (the regular Whopper comes in at 660). However, when it comes to taste, the Impossible Whopper is not far off from the original, and in the end that’s what really matters. Read our full review of the sandwich here.

Advertisement

3 / 10

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Graphic: Little Caesars

Hot, ready, and plant-based might seem like a lot to ask of a pizza for under $10, but Little Caesars took on the challenge. In 2019 and 2021, the pizza chain debuted Impossible Sausage and plant-based pepperoni, or Planteroni, respectively. The latter is still available in select markets, though not every Little Caesars location offers plant-based pepperoni pizza (which costs $8.49). The meatless topping option is only available in the suburbs of Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and the chain’s hometown of Detroit. For those who can get their hands on a Planteroni, you might be interested to know that it is the first pepperoni alternative on the market to be made with pea protein rather than soy.

Advertisement

4 / 10

Starbucks Impossible Breakfast Sandwich

Starbucks Impossible Breakfast Sandwich

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Starbucks

This particular meatless breakfast sandwich is a saving grace for anyone tired of the monotony of Starbucks’ Spinach, Feta, and Cage-Free Egg White Wrap. Longing for something both utilitarian and flavorful? It’s Starbucks Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, made with an Impossible Foods plant-based sausage patty, a cage-free fried egg, and aged cheddar cheese on ciabatta bread.

The bread is sturdy without being heavy, and not so firm that biting into it will cause the filling to slide out the other end. The Impossible sausage patty does a great job mimicking the flavor of animal fat without disappointment. Overall, we think this breakfast sandwich is worth your time, though it is expensive; expect to pay somewhere in the $5-6 range. Read our full review here.

Advertisement

5 / 10

KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken

KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Kentucky Fried Chicken, Beyond Meat

As with any new plant-based offering, there’s always a small catch or improvement to be made, and KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is no different. While the plant-based chicken’s debut was long awaited, there are still some shortcomings. Our taste test of Beyond Fried Chicken found that the chicken bites are not prepared in a way that could be labeled completely vegetarian or vegan. It’s possible the plant-based “poultry” is tossed in the same frying oil as the real chicken on KFC’s menu. Taste-wise, though, it’s an impressive imitation with pretty spectacular flavor. So if you’re not as concerned with the preparation of these faux chicken bites then we’d highly recommend giving them a try. Read our full review here.

Advertisement

6 / 10

McDonald’s McPlant

McDonald’s McPlant

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

We’re getting so close to finally having a plant-based McDonald’s sandwich on the menu that we can practically taste it now. Well, technically, some of us can already. McDonald’s is testing out the McPlant, a burger co-developed with Beyond Meat, at over 600 locations in two markets. Of all the chains getting into the plant-based market, McDonald’s has been one of the slowest and most cautious.

The company’s initial test had a goal of selling 70 McPlant burgers per day at eight locations, and this goal was met. Apparently, that wasn’t enough testing, though, because there’s still no word on when a nationwide rollout might take place. Hopefully, the additional 600 locations now taking part in the test run will prove to McDonald’s that a plant-based option is not only popular but necessary.

Advertisement

7 / 10

Chipotle’s plant-based chorizo

Chipotle’s plant-based chorizo

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

Though it’s only available for a limited time, Chipotle’s plant-based chorizo is a highly anticipated menu item. Initially, the chorizo was released in test markets in Denver and Indianapolis, but in 2022 it has expanded nationwide. The plant-based chorizo is seasoned with ancho and chipotle pepper, tomato, garlic, smoked paprika, and extra virgin olive oil and is pea-based. It’s also certified vegan, has 20 grams of protein per serving and is grain-, gluten-, and soy-free. The fact that this protein is certified vegan is significant; many of the mainstream plant-based meat options at fast food chains nationwide are not actually vegan, sharing griddles with beef burgers or being prepared in the same frying oil as real chicken (or being topped with a slice of cheese and some mayo).

Adding new proteins to the Chipotle menu is a risky move, as loyal Chipotle goers are quite particular about what gets put in their bowls and burritos. But this isn’t Chipotle’s first venture into meatless offerings. The company added tofu-based Sofritas to the menu in 2014.

Advertisement

8 / 10

White Castle’s Impossible Slider

White Castle’s Impossible Slider

White Castle Impossible Slider
Photo: Kevin Pang

Not to be confused with the more longstanding Veggie Slider, made from a crispy pressed vegetable patty, White Castle’s Impossible Slider was introduced in 2018 and aims to better imitate the meat of the classic menu item that made White Castle famous. With the smoked cheddar, onions, and pickles on top, this vegetarian alternative will run about 50 calories more than the traditional beef version, but overall it gets you about 90% of the way to the spot-on White Castle slider experience. It’s nearly double the cost of a regular slider, but since sliders are on the cheaper side to begin with—approximately $2 compared to $1 for the beef ones—the cost differential isn’t as large as it sounds; you’ll probably end up spending the same amount of extra dollars on this vegetarian White Castle meal as you would for a plant-based meal at the other major chains. Read more about the Impossible Slider here.

Advertisement

9 / 10

Wendy’s plant-based burger (coming soon—maybe?)

Wendy’s plant-based burger (coming soon—maybe?)

Image for article titled 8 plant-based fast food entrees you can get at the drive-thru right now
Photo: Wendy’s

Another possible plant-based burger on the horizon is the Spicy Black Bean Burger from Wendy’s. This potential vegetarian menu item is only in the testing phase and only available in Pittsburgh; Columbus, Ohio; and Jacksonville, Florida. What sets this particular meatless burger apart from the rest is Wendy’s decision to focus on a plant-forward patty instead of attempting to mimic actual animal meat with plant-based proteins.

The new spicy black bean burger will also have pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, and a spicy chipotle sauce, topped with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes, and served on a toasted bun. Or so we think. Testing began in June 2021, so only time will tell if the rest of the country will get to taste the spicy bean patty later this year.

Advertisement

10 / 10