What Can Vegans Eat for Breakfast at Restaurants?

Choosing to refrain from meat, cheese, and other animal products can be challenging, especially when going out to eat. However, restaurants these days are offering more and more vegan and plant-based options for their customers. With just a little research, you can enjoy plenty of breakfast dishes while out with your friends.

Vegans can choose from a variety of pancakes, smoothie bowls, oatmeals, muffins, and plant-based dishes at restaurants. Breakfast meat and egg alternatives can provide dishes like quiche and french toast by using chickpeas, tempeh, yellow mung beans, or nuts. These protein-packed ingredients allow you to jumpstart your day. 

Going out for breakfast at restaurants is not something a vegan should give up. With food ingenuity at an all-time high, there are always ways to find something vegan to eat. This article will introduce you to a plethora of vegan-friendly breakfast options that you can enjoy at restaurants.

What Vegan Breakfast Options Look Like

Restaurants are learning to label their menus better as dietary restrictions and ethical food choices are on the rise. Breakfast spots, as well, tend to organize their menu into the different categories one would find for breakfast. The egg section is usually quite large at a restaurant, but vegans will have to skip anything with eggs as the main course. 

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Instead, scan through the entrees section on the menu. Look for oatmeals, fruit plates, or pancakes. Potato-based dishes, like a breakfast hash, can also be a vegan-friendly choice. It is essential to read the description under the dish name, as some of them may have non-vegan ingredients in them. 

For pancakes, look to see if they come with butter or are made with milk. Many breakfast dishes will have cheese as well. If you find an option that you believe could be made vegan, make sure to double-check with your server. They may not initially know if an ingredient can be removed. This would be the case if there is buttermilk in a pancake batter, or something is pre-made.

Here are some popular vegan options to look for on a restaurant breakfast menu:

  • Oatmeal
  • Fruit bowls
  • Toast with jam or avocado
  • Waffles
  • Potato hash
  • Bean-based burritos

When going out to eat while being vegan, it can be beneficial to do a bit of research ahead of time. Choosing a vegan-friendly restaurant or one that makes everything to order will make your experience easier and more pleasant. 

To get inspired, check out this Vegan Breakfast Book on Amazon.

Choosing a Vegan-Friendly Restaurant

With many more people choosing to be vegetarian or vegan these days, more and more restaurants are advertising themselves as vegan-friendly. Additionally, many restaurants have popped up over the years that are entirely vegan or vegetarian. Doing a local search for these restaurants will make your outing the smoothest. But, depending on who you go with, this may not always be an option.

If you cannot find a solely vegan restaurant, then try to find one that advertises vegan or vegetarian options. If you cannot find either of these, then settle for a more upscale restaurant that makes each dish to order. This will allow you to take things, such as butter, cheese, or eggs, out of the dish without upsetting the kitchen or cooks. While restaurants do want your business, they cannot completely change a menu item if they have part of it premade. 

Glass of apricot and carrot juice on colourful turquoise blue painted wooden boards

One of the best ways to eat out while vegan is to establish a relationship with your server. When you first sit down, let your server know that you are vegan and that you are wondering what they would recommend. If you have particular items you do not like, such as oatmeal, let them know upfront. By letting them know your needs, they can help you navigate the menu and what you can change or request.

What to Expect at a Vegan Restaurant

Vegan restaurants get incredibly creative with their menus to provide their customers with a unique arrangement of food. 

Some ways that vegan restaurants cater to their customers include:

  • Making quiche or traditionally egg-based dishes from tofu or yellow mung beans is quite common.
  • Also, vegan alternatives, like Earth Balance Butter or Daiya vegan cheese, are commonly used. 
  • Creamy sauces can be made vegan by using nutritional yeast or cashews. 
  • There is a myriad of vegan milk these days, such as oat, hemp, soy, and almond. 

The trick to eating out while vegan is to find a restaurant with these options, though. 

How to Spot Vegan Options on the Menu

Many restaurants will have their vegan or vegetarian options marked with a small V near the menu item. To find the key for the labels, check the first and last page. There is usually a small section that shows the labels they use. These will usually be things such as:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Customer Favorite
  • Gluten-Free

If you see something labeled vegetarian but not vegan, it is highly likely it will be able to be made vegan. For things made with honey, make sure to let your server know if you eat that or not, as some vegans do. 

Popular Restaurants with Vegan Breakfast Options

With the growing demand for vegan options, many chain restaurants have vegan-friendly options for their customers. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Dunkin Donuts’ Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich on an English Muffin
  • IHOP Veggie Hashbrowns
  • Hardee’s Beyond Breakfast Sausage on Toasted Sourdough or a Tortilla
  • Denny’s Veggie Burger on a Wheat Bun
  • Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito, Fresco Style
  • KFC’s Beyond Chicken Sandwich
  • Starbucks’ Bagels w/ Avocado
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Burger King’s French Toast Sticks
  • McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal

These are quick and easy go-to options if you need to grab a fast bite to eat while on the run. 

Why You Should Choose a Vegan Breakfast

Veganism is growing in popularity for a good reason. 

  • It has been shown that plant-based diets, which are usually vegan, lower heart disease and mortality in adults. 
  • A vegan diet can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 
  • The longer someone reduces their meat intake, they also reduce their chance of stroke and cancer. 

Some people choose to be vegan because they care for animals, as well. The egg industry has been shown to have less than ideal conditions for chickens. Often in tight cages without room to move, many people choose only to eat free-range eggs. By choosing to be vegan, people can lower the demand for these factory-produced eggs.

Lastly, many people are vegan to help support the environment. Farm animals, such as pigs and cows that are often turned into breakfast patties, can eat quite a bit of plant matter. Usually eating corn or soy, these calories then turn into meat. However, farm animals convert less than 20% of those calories to meat. So, many more people could be fed if humans ate the plants instead of farm animals consuming them.

Confidently Finding Vegan Breakfast Options While Out to Eat

Vegan food options can be challenging to find, but with a kind word to your server and a bit of perusing, you can find or make a vegan option at most restaurants. There are many go-to menu items for vegans at chains, as well. As a vegan, you get to enjoy the ease of mind, knowing your plant-based meal is healthy for you and helping out the environment, too.

While eating out, it is a great time to try an item you might not have at home. Vegan chefs that get creative with their cooking can be a great place to start. So, if you are a little nervous about trying that mung bean egg or fried tofu burrito, don’t be. Go ahead and take that leap. You’ll be glad you did.

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