McDonald’s isn’t usually the first place vegans think of when deciding where to eat. Compared to other fast-food chains, McDonald’s vegan menu items are, well, a little lame.
I mean, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and White Castle already offer a version of vegan plant-based patties made with Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat products. And, “Taco Bell and Chipotle are known for having an even wider variety of vegan options,” says nutritionist Shanthi Appelo, RD. (Both even have special sections on their website dedicated to vegan eaters.)Honestly, even McD’s international game is stronger than its showing in the U.S. “While McDonald’s French fries are vegan in most of the world, the U.S. version uses a milk derivative in its ‘natural beef flavor,'” says Appelo. Other countries also enjoy exclusive vegan menu items, like the McFalafel (Sweden) and the McAloo (India).Luckily for us vegans hanging on the North American continent, McDonald’s is finally launching a plant-based burger (aptly named the McPlant) in 2021. Though the fast-food giant hasn’t released much info about the plant-based patty, it’ll likely be a “vegan option to enjoy in moderation,” Appelo says. (Most popular plant burgers are high in saturated fat and sodium.)While we wait for the McPlant to drop, though, vegan eaters will have to make do with the current Golden Arches options. The below list of McDonald’s vegan menu items will get you started if you find yourself stuck at the drive-through. First, though, you probably want to know which condiments are vegan, yeah? The safe list:
- Newman’s Own Classic Oil and Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Citrus Splash Dressing
- Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
- Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Sesame Ginger Dressing
- Zesty Italian Dressing
Of course, mustard, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, barbecue sauce, spicy buffalo sauce, and maple syrup are also a-okay.
That said, you may also want to come prepared with a few travel-friendly ingredients to give your vegan order a little oomph, especially considering McD’s lacks vegan protein options. A few ideas Appelo recommends:
- Packaged roasted edamame
- Packaged roasted chickpeas
- Almond or peanut butter
With this intel in mind (and a few add-ins up your sleeve), you can create a vegan McDonald’s meal that’s actually somewhat satisfying. Now, here’s what you can order.