Fast-food burger joints are not my favorite place to eat as a vegan. Usually, the only obvious vegan option is french fries… But Wendy’s is a little better than average. Let’s see what they’ve got.
Vegan options at Wendy’s:
- French Fries
- Plain Baked Potato
- The Plantiful Burger (Canada Only)
- Seasoned Potatoes
- Salads (Custom Ordered)
- Apple Bites
- Vegan Sandwich (Custom Ordered)
- Chips and Salsa (Custom Ordered)
Below, I’ll share how to custom order each of these menu items to be vegan! I’ll also share some surprisingly NOT vegan items—and I’ll answer common questions about the vegan dipping sauces, the chili, and the Wendy’s black bean burger.
And I’ll end the post with a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) menu—for the vegans who also want to avoid processed oils and sugar!
The following vegan menu was assembled mainly by reading the ingredients lists and allergen warnings on Wendy’s official menu on their website.
I also cited other news stories and blog posts with ideas for how to eat vegan at Wendy’s—all to create the ultimate vegan guide to Wendy’s.
Keep in mind that menu items frequently change and may vary by location. Always ask the staff at your location if you want to be sure about some ingredients.
1. French Fries
Wendy’s fries are cooked in vegetable oil—unlike some restaurants that use animal fat—so they are vegan friendly.
Just to be clear, the Pub Fries, Baconator Fries, and Chili Cheese Fries are not vegan—if that wasn’t obvious!
Note: The French Fries are cooked in the same fryers as menu items containing meat and fish. Some vegans may want to avoid it for those reasons—but others of us are fine with that.
2. Plain Baked Potato
When you order “Plain Baked Potato,” it actually only comes standard with only one ingredient: Potato. Which is great for excluding unhealthy oils and animal products. But it can be a little bland.
You may want to ask for one or more of these to season your baked potato:
• BBQ Sauce
• Hot Sauce
Note: Just to be sure, I would emphasize in your order that you want the baked potato without butter, cheese, or sour cream—no dairy!
3. The Plantiful Burger (Canada Only)
Wendy’s is currently testing a vegan burger made of pea protein in their Canada locations. Although the Plantiful Burger comes standard with mayo and a slice of cheese, you can order it vegan. (source)
Unfortunately, most Wendy’s locations outside of Canada do not offer a vegan burger yet. But see below for some creative options to put together a hodge-podge vegan sandwich at Wendy’s.
4. Seasoned Potatoes
These are pretty dang delicious—seasoned, fried potato wedges. You may see them listed as Breakfast Seasoned Potatoes or Homestyle Potatoes. But it’s all the same thing.
Note: These are cooked in the same fryers as the meat and fish. Some vegans may want to avoid it for those reasons—but others of us are fine with it.
5. Salads (Custom Ordered)
Wendy’s offers multiple salads, and the options keep changing. None of them come standard as 100% vegan—but you can custom order them since they’re not pre-made.
Here are 3 of the salads currently offered by Wendy’s, and how to order them vegan:
- Garden Side Salad: Order without cheese or croutons.
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad: Order without chicken, cheese, or honey-roasted pecans. Still has yummy apple and cranberry!
- Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad: Order without cheese, chicken, or bacon. Substitute the dressing for one of the vegan options below.
- Taco Salad: Order without cheese, chili, or sour cream. You can have them substitute in avocado instead.
And here are 2 more salads that Wendy’s has offered at least at some locations—so you may see them:
- Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad: Order without chicken, cheese, or honey-roasted sunflower seeds.
- Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad: Order without chicken and cheese. Still contains quinoa, hummus, and tomatoes.
And here are the options you’re likely to see for vegan salad dressings:
- Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette
- Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing
- Light Balsamic Vinaigrette.
6. Apple Bites
This is just apple slices. It’s an option on the kids menu, but anyone can order them
Isn’t it funny how fast-food restaurants will offer some fruit in the kids meals, but not in the adult meals? Come on—adults need fruit, too!
7. Vegan Sandwich (Custom Ordered)
You can custom order a custom vegan sandwich containing any of the following:
- Hamburger bun
You may need to explain this because it’s not an everyday order: You just want the buns with a bunch of these vegan toppings and stuff inside.
You can also potentially order these sides and add them to the sandwich:
- French Fries
- Small Seasoned Potatoes
Might sound strange, but I saw several bloggers have posted about making a “Fry Sandwich” at Wendy’s. So there must be something to it!
8. Chips and Salsa (Custom Ordered)
This is not on the actual menu, but at most Wendy’s locations, you can get them to give it to you. That’s because they have chips and salsa on hand from their Taco Salad.
Pretty sneaky, huh?!
Aside from a couple beverages that include dairy, almost all the drinks at Wendy’s are vegan:
- Cold Brew Iced Coffee
- Fresh Brewed Coffee
- Fresh Brewed Decaffeinated Coffee
- Simply Orange Juice
- Peach Lemonade
- Tropical Berry Lemonade
- All-Natural Lemonade
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
- Diet Coke
- Dr Pepper
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Fanta Orange
- Minute Maid Light Lemonade
- Hi-C Flashin’ Fruit Punch
- Iced Tea
- Sweet Iced Tea
- Bottled Water
- Honest Kids Organic Fruit Punch
Note: The Frosty-ccino Iced Coffees are not vegan, as they contain milk.
But What About…
Here are some menu items at Wendy’s that you might hope would be vegan—but they’re not:
- The Oatmeal Bars are not vegan, as they contain eggs, milk ingredients (whey), and honey
- The Honey Butter Biscuits are not vegan, as they contain (big surprise) butter and honey.
- The cookies are not vegan, as they contain milk and eggs.
Now let’s answer some common questions about vegan options at Wendy’s.
Are Frosties Vegan?
Frosties are not vegan, as they contain real dairy milk. Hopefully, Wendy’s will release a plant-based Frosty with almond milk, soy milk, or other milk alternative in the future.
Is Wendy’s Sweet and Sour Sauce Vegan?
Wendy’s Sweet and Sour Sauce is considered vegan. The ingredients list does not include any dairy, egg, honey, or other animal ingredients.
Here are the ingredients for Wendy’s Sweet and Sour Nugget Sauce:
“High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (preservatives), Bell Peppers (dehydrated), Soybean Oil, Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Extractives of Paprika, Spice, Red 40.” (source)
Is Wendy’s BBQ Sauce Vegan?
Wendy’s BBQ sauce is considered vegan. It contains no honey, anchovies, or other animal products.
As I explained in my full post on whether BBQ sauce is vegan, honey and anchovies are really the two biggest villains to look out for.
Is Wendy’s Chili Vegetarian or Vegan?
Wendy’s chili is not vegetarian or vegan. It contains ground beef and milk ingredients.
Here are the ingredients listed for Wendy’s Chili on their website:
INGREDIENTS: “Chili Base (Chili Sauce [Water, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Chili Pepper, Spices, Flavor Enhancer (Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch), Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum], Onions, Celery, Green Peppers), Water, Ground Beef (Beef, Salt), Chili Beans (Prepared Pink Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans), Soy Lecithin. CONTAINS: MILK AND SOY.“
Does Wendy’s Have a Vegan Burger?
Wendy’s has a vegan burger patty only in Canada. Wendy’s Canada locations are testing a product called The Plantiful Burger, which comes standard with mayo and cheese, but can be custom ordered to be vegan.
Wendy’s has also tested a black bean burger in the U.S. in the past—but it seems to have not been successful and was discontinued. (source)
Most Wendy’s locations around the world do not offer a vegan burger patty of any kind.
Are Wendy’s Fries Vegan?
Wendy’s Fries are generally considered vegan. They are cooked in vegetable oil, not animal fat or lard. They are also not seasoned with any milk ingredients.
The only controversial issue is that they are often cooked in a shared fryer with animal products. But most vegans are okay with that.
Here is the full ingredients list for Wendy’s fries:
INGREDIENTS: “Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More Of The Following Oils: Canola, Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (To Maintain Natural Color). Cooked In Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil, Vegetable Oil [May Contain One Or More Of The Following: Canola, Corn, Or Cottonseed], Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dimethylpolysiloxane [Anti-Foaming Agent]). Seasoned With Sea Salt.” (source)
Whole-Food Plant-Based Options
What if you’re not just vegan, but you’re also avoiding processed foods like oil, sugar, and processed grains?
Can you have a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) meal at Wendy’s? Is it even possible?
Here are the WFPB options I see:
- Plain Baked Potato (With Avocado, Salsa, and Chives)
- Garden Side Salad (Without Cheese or Croutons)
- Apple Bites
Granted, this is not a huge list of options—but it’s actually much better than the average fast-food restaurant when it comes to WFPB options.
Really, the baked potato makes all the difference, because you can actually fill up on it. The fact that you can custom add some avocado to it makes it even more filling.
So, as a health-conscious vegan, I would honestly rather go to Wendy’s than most fast-food burger chains!
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