I asked my friends on Facebook who are vegetarian or make it a point to go meatless frequently what options they find at fast food restaurants. Most of them had similar suggestions.

  • At Wendy’s you can get a salad and baked potato.
  • At Taco Bell you can get beans instead of meat in a burrito.
  • Burger King now has a veggie burger.
I don’t know about you, but none of those options sound worth going out to eat for to me. They could be made with the many of the same creepy mystery ingredients that fast food meals that contain meat are made from.

What does sound worth a trip, however, are some of the new fast-food style restaurants that are popping up that cater to healthy food and offer vegetarian options that are worth eating.

  • In Philadelphia, there’s Hip City Veg. It’s a vegan restaurant that’s “fast, fresh and 100% plant based.” The independent restaurant offers salads, plant based sandwiches, sweet potato fries and more and does a bustling business.
  • Chicago’s Brother Tim’s Vegetarian Fast Food has nothing but vegetarian and vegan options of foods you’ll find on regular fast food restaurant menus – burgers, dogs, chili, tacos…
  • In San Diego, Evolution Fast Food specializes in plant-based burgers, fries, organic juices and shakes. 
  • The fast-food burger chain Elevation Burger that uses organic, grass fed beef in it’s burgers has veggie burger – one that’s fire roasted and has more of a traditional burger taste and one that tastes like veggies.
It looks like there are good vegetarian fast food options out there, but you have to track down the independent restaurants or the lesser-known chains to find them. They probably won’t be the restaurants with signs on the side of the highway letting you know they’re .8 miles down the road if you get off at the next exit, at least not yet. But, fast food restaurants that specialize in vegetarian and vegan options are growing, it and may not be too long until their almost as easy to find as the golden arches.

Until then, I found a resource that helps locate vegetarian and vegan restaurants, or restaurants they call “veg-friendly,” near you. It’s Happy Cow, and it help you find restaurants based on your zip code. The link will take you to their website, but they also have apps for Apple and Android devices.

Related vegetarian stories on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Where to find good vegetarian fast food
Vegetarians usually have to opt for salads or bean burritos at fast food restaurants. That’s changing as restaurants realize the demand for meatless options.