Vegan Wonder

Satisfy Your Cravings: Discover the Delicious World of Vegan Fast Food

The Rise of Vegan Fast Food

For years, vegans and vegetarians have been consigned to the sidelines of fast food joints, nibbling on limp salads or soggy fries while their meat-eating counterparts chowed down on juicy burgers, crispy chicken nuggets, and gooey cheese fries. But those days are over, my friends. The plant-based revolution has reached the greasy spoons and chain restaurants of America, bringing with it a bounty of delicious, guilt-free options for those of us who’d rather not contribute to the suffering of animals or the destruction of the planet with each bite.

That’s right, folks: vegan fast food is here, and it’s freaking delicious.

The Growing Demand for Plant-Based Options

In recent years, awareness of the environmental and ethical issues surrounding factory farming and animal agriculture have become more widely known. At the same time, research has shown that a well-planned plant-based diet can offer numerous health benefits, including lower risks of heart disease, certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes.

As a result, demand for plant-based options has skyrocketed. According to a survey by market research firm NPD Group, sales of meat substitutes grew by 14% in the United States between 2016 and 2018. And that was before the Beyond Burger hit menus nationwide, or Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat made its way to White Castle.

Beyond Burgers: Satisfying the Craving

Perhaps the most exciting recent development in the world of vegan fast food is the availability of plant-based burger patties that actually taste like meat. Take, for instance, the Beyond Burger, which was launched in 2016 by California-based company Beyond Meat. Made from pea protein, the Beyond Burger has a meaty texture and juiciness that’s remarkably similar to a beef burger — but it’s 100% plant-based.

Meanwhile, the Impossible Burger, developed by Impossible Foods in 2016, uses soy protein and cocoa butter to create a burger that sizzles, smells, and tastes like meat — but it’s free of animal products and produces far fewer greenhouse gases than raising livestock does.

Of course, you don’t have to drop big bucks on restaurant burgers to enjoy these delicious plant-based patties. Many grocery stores now sell packs of Beyond or Impossible burgers, making it easy to whip up a mouth-watering plant-based burger at home. Check out these recipes for some inspiration.

Recreating the Classic Burger Experience

The key to a truly satisfying plant-based burger is to go all out: Pick a soft, squishy bun that will give way beneath the weight of your toppings; slather on a tangy, sweet-and-spicy condiment like ketchup or barbecue sauce; and pile on the veggies. I’m talking lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, avocado, and anything else that tickles your fancy. And don’t forget the cheese — there are plenty of vegan cheese options out there that melt beautifully.

The goal is to create a burger that’s as close to the real deal as possible — a burger that your carnivorous friends will be delighted to chow down on, no questions asked.

Gourmet Vegan Burger Creations

But why stop there? If you really want to take your plant-based burger game to the next level, get creative with your toppings. Try a Mediterranean-inspired burger with hummus, sliced cucumber, red onion, and feta cheese; or a Thai-inspired burger with peanut sauce, shredded carrots, cilantro, and pickled jalapeños. Or head to a specialty vegan burger joint and try one of their inventive creations.

Vegan French Fries: The Perfect Companion

French fries are a necessary component of any great burger. But how do you get that crispy, golden exterior that’s so satisfying to bite into?

  • Start with the right potatoes: Russet potatoes are the gold standard for frying, thanks to their high starch content and relatively low moisture.
  • Cut them right: Preferably, cut your fries into strips that are about 1/2-inch wide and 3 inches long. (A fry cutter can make this process much easier.)
  • Soak them: Before frying, soak your cut fries in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This helps to draw out excess starch, which will make your fries crispier.
  • Choose the right oil: While traditionalists may swear by lard, vegans will want to stick to vegetable oils like canola or peanut oil.
  • Use a frying basket: A frying basket allows you to easily fish out your fries with a slotted spoon, without disturbing the ones that are still cooking.
  • Season them well: A simple sprinkling of salt isn’t enough. Upgrade your fry game by experimenting with flavored salts and spice blends.

And of course, no self-respecting burger joint would be caught dead serving plain old ketchup. Make sure you’ve got a stash of vegan-friendly condiments on hand, including ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce.

Beyond Burgers and Fries

But burgers and fries are just the beginning. Vegan chicken nuggets and sandwiches are becoming increasingly common — check out the vegan options at your local KFC (yes, really) or Popeyes. Tacos and burritos are easily made vegan by asking for no meat and adding plenty of beans, guacamole, and salsa.

In recent years, several major fast food chains have introduced vegan options to their menus. In the United States, you can now find plant-based options at Dunkin’, Panera, and White Castle, among others. And if you’re lucky enough to live near a vegan-friendly restaurant, you might just find yourself faced with a dizzying array of options, from plant-based sushi to vegan pizza that’s so good, you’ll wonder why nobody thought of it sooner.

So go on: satisfy your cravings, guilt-free. Whether you’re a longtime vegan or just looking to cut back on your meat consumption, there’s never been a better time to indulge in your favorite fast food classics. And with all these delicious options at your fingertips, why would you ever want to go back?