How to eat vegan on the UK high street: McDonalds, Pizza Express, Nando's, KFC and more

21 December 2020, 15:30 | Updated: 4 May 2022, 15:12

It's now easier than ever to eat vegan at chain restaurants
It's now easier than ever to eat vegan at chain restaurants. Picture: PA

With many Brits signing up for Veganuary this January, we take a look at the chain restaurants offering vegan options.

Vegan diets are on the rise, and it's now easier than ever eat plant-based food at restaurants across the UK.

Whereas in previous years meat-free options were limited to a small garden salad or sad stuffed pepper, British chains are finally getting the message that the vegan diet is rapidly on the rise.

With Veganuary on the horizon, here are the vegan options in a number of popular high street chains.

McDonald's vegan options

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McDonald's To Launch Its First Vegan Meal In January In UK 😱🙌 "In the last 12 months we've seen an 80 percent uplift in customers ordering vegetarian options at McDonald's, so it is time for the brand famous for the dippable McNugget to launch a dippable option for our vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian customers," said Thomas O'Neill, Head of Food Marketing at McDonald's UK & Ireland. The full article is linked in our stories & bio! 👆 —————————————————— 🌱 🍔 Plant-based recipes, chefs & restaurants around the world: @pbnfood 👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️ Plant-based doctors & health advisors: @pbnhealth 🏋️‍♀️ 💪Plant-based athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness tips: 📹 ▶️ YouTube: PLANT BASED NEWS

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While McDonald's previously hadn't caught up with the vegan hype, it was announced earlier this year that their ever plant-based meal would soon be on offer.

The veggie dippers meal - vegan nuggets served with chips and your choice of soft drink - launched on 2 January 2020.

Animal rights charity PETA said that the new addition to the menu was "the very definition of a happy meal".

The dippers are made from rice, red peppers, vegan tomato pesto and split peas, and they're fried in breadcrumbs.

Nando's vegan options

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Did someone say let’s get a cheeky Nando’s? 🤪 A lot of people always say “what do you get at Nando’s if you don’t eat chicken?” The answer is quite a lot if you ask for no mayo 😉 I went for the sweet potato and butternut squash burger (this patty is SO tasty and filling), spicy rice 🍚 and spinach in a tomato and chickpea sauce 🍅😍 If you want filling and tasty food, Nando’s has a lot more to offer for vegans now! 🙌🏼 🌱 @nandosuk 🌶🌶🌶 #vegan #veganlivinguk_ #veganliving #vegandinner #veganburger #vegannandos #nandos #nandosuk #nandosvegan #followforfollow #likeforlike #veganeatingout #veganwestfield #veganfood #vegansofuk #veganlondon #plantbased

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While Nando's stresses that it's 'not a vegan restaurant', it does have options that can be made so on its menu. The most popular is the sweet potato and butternut pitta - but you'll have to ask for it without mayonnaise.

It was also recently announced that Nando's would be launching plant-based chicken option, but these are cooked on the same grill as the meat versions.

Nando's also offer a vegan PERinaise, a plant-based twist on their popular PERinaise saunce.

Pizza Express vegan options

The popular chain is something of an industry leader when it comes to vegan options, and it offers a number of tasty plant-based pizzas on its ever-growing menu.

These include Vegan Giardiniera and Vegan Zucca - which come with vegan mozzarella.

Pizza Express also offer vegan desserts - a rarity for chains - including carrot cake and coconut sorbet.

Pizza Hut vegan options

Like the above, Pizza Hut also stock vegan cheese in their restaurants - and the chain has been catering for plant-based diets since 2017.

Options include All About Mushrooms, Hot 'N' Spicy Veg, and they even have vegan nuggets. You can also buy a vegan cheesecake to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Zizzi vegan options

Zizzi has a number of plant-based options - including vegan margherita with a choice of toppings and a delicious vegan lentil ragu.

For dessert, we'd recommend the sweet vegan calzone - folded dough filled with chocolate, banana, caramelised pecans and blueberries.

Slug and Lettuce

Slug and Lettuce have launched a HUGE new vegan menu, just in time for Veganuary!

You can now tuck in to a Smoky Soya Sloppy Joe Toastada with vegan bacon-flavoured crumb, Violife grated mature, onion, peppers and vegan mayo, lighter options including the Quinoa, Chickpea & Butternut Squash Salad, Smoked Cheeze and Beetroot Tart, a Quinoa Chilli Thai Curry, and a mouth-watering Moving Mountains B12 Burger, featuring a plant-based meat-free burger, layered with red pepper houmous, lettuce, smoky soya sloppy joe and Violife grated mature, all in a toasted sesame seed beetroot bun and served with vodka Bloody Mary dip with topped nachos.

You'll need more than one trip to try it all!

Subway vegan options

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INTRODUCING THE @subway_ukireland vegan meatless meatball mariana 🥖 I picked mine up at a Manchester branch and it was MORE than I expected - they had two types of vegan cheese (check my story) PLUS a vegan garlic aioli - 10000/10 would recommend to EVERYONE. A 6’ was £3.49 and it’s SO worth the money. the meatballs are really *meaty* and not obviously vegan - if you’re round the trial areas go pick one up ASAP! #vegan #veganuk #vegansofig #vegansofinstagram #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #bekindtoeverykind #ukvegan #ukvegans #veganlife #veganfooddiary #govegan #veganism #plantbased #veganblogger #veganfoodblog #veganfood #vegansofmanchester #manchestervegan #vegansubway

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No longer are Subway fans just limited to the salad-filled veggie delight sub - they are now offering a vegan patty to offer a bit more bite in your sandwich. Make sure you opt for the Italian or Hearty Italian bread, as these are both vegan.

They also do a vegan meatless meatball marinara - which is a delicious plant-based version of their popular meatball sub.

Wagamama vegan options

Wagamama have been offering vegan options for years now, and the 'Vegatsu' (a vegan version of their famous chicken katsu) is a fan favourite.

JD Wetherspoons vegan options

The popular pub chain is a surprising haven for vegans - and even have their own vegan menu, featuring the likes of Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach Curry and Teriyaki Noodles, as well as a vegan burger.

Greggs vegan options

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The time has come.

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Greggs vegan sausage rolls were surely one of the biggest stories of last year - and the bakery chain couldn't stop selling out of the pastries in the weeks after their release.

Their latest offering comes in the form of a vegan steak bake, a meatless version of their much-loved pastry.

The Real Greek vegan options

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💥It’s GIVEAWAY time!💥 Celebrating the World Vegan Month, we are offering you a chance to try our vegan meatballs ~ Soutzoukakia ~ and our new Filoxenia dinner menu! Our vegan meatballs made with meat by @greenmeatsco have become a favourite amongst our vegan visitors and not only, so we are giving away a Filoxenia menu dinner for 4, including a bottle of Ellinas wine. 🍷 Go ahead and tag who you’d love to share this 4 course yummy Greek dinner with! • ✅ one tag per comment-the more friends you tag, the greater your chances of #winning! • ✅ to be eligible to W͙I͙N͙, you have to like this post and follow @greenmeatsco & @therealgreekuk • ✅ the winner can enjoy his/her Filoxenia dinner for 4, in any of @therealgreekuk restaurants during November 2019, Sunday-Thursday after 5pm • ✅ the winner will be announced Tuesday, November 12 🎉 • ✅ We have partnered up with Hellenic Hope charity, helping children at risk in Greece donating 10p to them for every Filoxenia menu sold, so even if you don’t win, you can help us support a great cause by ordering this menu! • ✅ G͙O͙O͙D͙ L͙U͙C͙K͙ to all and #gettagging!🤞🏻💥 #competition #giveaway #therealgreekuk #greenmeatsco

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Fast-growing Greek chain The Real Greek boasts its own vegan menu featuring hot and cold mezze, souvlaki wraps, and a number of delicious sides and desserts.

Patty & Bun vegan options

All vegans know there's not much better than a good plant-based burger, and Patty & Bun's 'Pamela' comes complete with vegan bacon, mayo, patty *and* cheese.

Bella Italia vegan options

Bella Italia is another Italian chain that now serves vegan cheese - and there are a number of tasty options available. They even have a vegan dessert - the Cookie Dough Al Forno - which is cookie dough with a melting middle, that's topped with a delicious vanilla gelato and caramel sauce.

Yo! Sushi vegan options

The popular sushi chain has expanded its vegan range to include Shitake Mushroom Ramen, Pumpkin Katsu Curry and Inari Tofu Taco, as well as all their delicious veggie sushi options.

Byron Burger vegan options

Byron is another burger chain who are doing a great job of embracing veganism. They have a whopping three plant-based burgers - including The Truffker, Cali Cheese, and Beetnik.

The Truffler comes complete with a ridiculously delicious (and very unusual) truffle 'cheese' fondue.

KFC vegan options

KFC's original recipe vegan chicken burger has just launched in UK stores to rave reviews. The burger - which is a permanent fixture to the menu - is a meat-free version of the much-loved chicken fillet burger, and is available in stores nationwide.

Costa Coffee vegan options

Costa Coffee introduced the incredible Vegan Smoky Ham & CheeZe Toastie in January- meaning they're one of the few chains to offer plant-based toasties.

They also offer a variety of vegan cakes.

Honest Burger vegan options

Honest Burger has always been hugely popular with vegans due to their Moving Mountains burger, which tastes disconcertingly like the real deal.

And the burger chain has knocked it out the park again with their new Bacon Plant - made with THIS vegan bacon.

Pho vegan options

Pho have also added THIS plant-based meat to their menu, with the addition of their - THIS Isn’t Chicken curry and Hot & Spicy THIS Isn’t Chicken Pho - and both dishes could easily be mistaken for the real thing.

Itsu vegan options

Itsu sells a range of Eastern-inspired food such as sushi and noodles, and they are increasingly providing excellent vegan options in their range.

The latest of these comes in the form of their vegan meatless meatball rice bowl, which is made from Meatless Farm 'meat'. They are currently on a mission to make 50 per cent of their menu plantbased - so their latest offering is a huge step in the right direction.

Delicious Pho

If you want to get your hands on some amazing vegan Pho, Delicious Pho in Spitalfields in London is a Southern Vietnamese fast-food chain which originally took off in Canada.

The menu has a tofu and veg option, all created with deep, hearty, homemade broths. The restaurant also serves vegan rice options, spring roll starters and other noodle dishes.

You can also get your hands on different flavours of vegan bubble tea, all made with dairy free milk.