After nearly 55 years of business and with over 6.5 thousand stores across 29 countries, Wendy’s is the third largest hamburger fast food chain in the world. Wendy’s is best known for its square patties and Frosty desserts, but does it serve the plant-based meal options that many customers are hungry for today? Here’s how to eat vegan at Wendy’s.
Wendy’s has definitely hinted at the possibility of a dedicated vegan or plant-based meat burger. CEO and director Todd Penegor acknowledged the global demand for plant proteins during a 2019 earnings conference, where he noted that the brand was “taking a hard look at what the options would be for us at the restaurant” in relation to plant-based ingredients.
“Clearly there is growth out there in plant-based proteins and we believe that it is a trend that will be here to stay,” said Penegor. “We want to do it the Wendy’s way. Something that is unique to Wendy’s. Our culinary team continues to look at various options. [Plant-based protein] is probably something we need to look at, and will look at, into the future.”
While Wendy’s is yet to explicitly label any of its menu items as vegan, there are a few plant-forward options if customers want to go meat-free. (Plus you can always go full fast-food hacks and order yourself a French fry sandwich…)
Please note: you should always check with your server before ordering any meal. While many menu items are made from plant-based ingredients, cross-contamination may occur. Some restaurants may also use the same grill for meat and vegan products.
Wendy’s UK vegan menu
Vegan Wendy’s sides
In both the UK and the US Wendy’s fries are made without animal ingredients and fried in vegetable oil, making them plant-based. However, the oil the fries are cooked in may be shared with other menu items that do contain animal ingredients – so whether you feel this fits your lifestyle or not is ultimately down to personal preference.
Customers can also order baked or Breakfast Potatoes and specify no butter, cheese, or sour cream. Instead try ordering with chives, salsa, avocado, or one of the vegan-friendly Wendy’s sauces – ketchup (packets only), sweet and sour, BBQ, and mustard. (The Pomegranate Vinaigrette and Champagne Vinaigrette salad dressings are also vegan.)
If you’re looking for something green to pair a portion of fried potatoes with, Wendy’s veggie salad options can be easily adapted to make them vegan-friendly. (Leave off the honey-roasted pecans and almonds.) Below are some options that are made with plant-based ingredients:
- French fries
- Breakfast Potatoes
- Baked potato (no butter)
- Apple Bites
Vegan Wendy’s drinks
Wendy’s also serves all the usual fast-food beverages, including bottled water and soft drinks like Coke, Sprite, and Fanta. Tea and coffee can be ordered either hot or iced but must be served black as Wendy’s does not yet offer plant milk yet.
- Bottled water
- Sprite Zero
- Orange Fanta
- Coca Cola Zero
- Diet Coke
- Black tea
Wendy’s US vegan menu
Vegan sides at Wendy’s US
The vegan-friendly sides at US Wendy’s are almost identical to those in the UK. Customers can order from fries, Breakfast potatoes, baked potatoes, and salads by requesting the restaurant leaves off any non-vegan ingredients. Though, again, always check if they are cooked in the same oil as meat.
However, the specific salad options may vary. For example, the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad can be ordered without the chicken, blue cheese, or honey-roasted pecans, and the Summer Strawberry Salad can be ordered minus the chicken, bacon, or almonds.
Southwest Avocado Salad and Taco Salad are each vegan-adaptable too – providing you order without chicken, cheese, or bacon, and chili, cheese, or sour cream, respectively.
The Garden Salad can also be made vegan-friendly by leaving out the cheese and croutons, which contain dairy milk. Some of the salad ingredients – e.g. apple slices, avocado, tomatoes, or strawberries – may also be available to order or added separately.
- French fries
- Breakfast Potatoes
- Baked potato
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (minus the chicken, cheese, and nuts)
- Southwest Avocado Salad (minus chicken, cheese, and bacon)
- Taco Salad (minus chili, cheese, and sour cream)
- Garden Salad (minus cheese and croutons)
- Strawberry Summer Salad (minus bacon, chicken, cheese, and almonds)
- Component salad ingredients, including lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries
Vegan drinks at Wendy’s US
In the US, customers can order a wide selection of brand name soft drinks in addition to Hi-C juices or lemonade in traditional, pineapple, strawberry, and melon flavors.
- Minute Maid Light Lemonade
- All Natural lemonade (original flavor)
- Blueberry Pomegranate lemonade
- Pineapple Mango lemonade
- Strawberry lemonade
- Honest Kids Fruit Punch
- Simply Orange Juice
- Coca Cola
- Coca Cola Zero
- Diet Coke
- Dr. Pepper
- Fanta Orange
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Hi-C Flashin’ Fruit Punch
- Hot coffee
- Iced coffee
- Cold brew coffee
- Iced tea
- Sweet tea
Vegan burgers at Wendy’s
While Wendy’s has dabbled with several different plant-based and meat-free options, the North American and UK menus are both yet to include a permanent vegan meat patty – in direct contrast to competitors like Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC. The UK has a veggie bean burger, but this features mayo and dairy cheese.
Where’s the vegan beef, you ask? The fast-food chain did trial a plant-based beef-style patty called the Plantiful Burger at select Canadian locations for a limited time in 2020, though the meat-free option received a mixed response and has not been seen in Canada or the US.
The fast-food chain did trial a Spicy Black Bean Burger in Jackson, Columbus, and Pittsburgh in July 2021, which had a vegan-friendly patty when ordered without cheese and mayonnaise and was thought to be a modern take on an earlier bean burger idea. However, the Spicy Bean Burger was also discontinued after a limited time.
In terms of “mains,” that leaves North American customers ordering a fast-food-hacks-style vegan bun, salad, and potato-based side of choice, and then building their own sandwich. Delicious, certainly, but arguably lacking in protein until Wendy’s adds another patty.
- Ask for a side salad and fries served inside a burger bun
- Request a modified side salad served over a portion of fries or potatoes
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