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Even vegans sometimes get a craving for a burger! Unfortunately, most American restaurants don’t include plant-based burgers on their menus, and this goes double for fast-food restaurants (which typically serve a meat-eating audience).
However, Carl’s Jr. is different. In fact, if you’re ever on the road and want a burger and fries but don’t want to compromise your diet, Carl’s Jr. could be the best place for you to stop by for lunch or dinner. Today, let’s take a look at all the vegan options available at Carl’s Jr. in detail so you know what you can order at their menu before you pull up to the drive-through!
Before we go into detail, here is a quick overview of vegan options:
|Menu Item||Type of Dish||Notes|
|Beyond Famous Star||Burger||Order with no cheese and no mayo|
|Beyond Burger (Custom)||Burger||Vegan toppings: lettuce, tomato, white onion, red onion, pickle, jalapenos, guacamole, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, and extra Beyond burger patty|
|Hash Rounds||Breakfast||Fried in same fryer as animal products|
|Fries||Sides||Fried in same fryer as animal products|
|CrissCut Fries||Sides||Fried in same fryer as animal products|
|Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette||Dressing/Sauce||–|
|Sweet & Bold BBQ Dipping Sauce||Dressing/Sauce||–|
|Spicy Buffalo Dipping Sauce||Dressing/Sauce||–|
Vegan Bites at Carl’s Jr.
Let’s start with a more substantial food you can eat at Carl’s Jr. if you’re a vegan. Luckily, you have more options than you would in many other traditional fast-food restaurants!
It all starts with Carl’s Jr.’s Beyond Star Burger. As the name suggests, this burger is made with vegan friendly Beyond meat, so you don’t need to worry about cheating on your diet if you really want to enjoy a burger with an actual patty. However, keep in mind that the burger comes with cheese and mayonnaise by default; therefore, you’ll need to order it without either of these ingredients if you want to keep it 100% vegan.
All in all, it’s an excellent choice if you want a great lunch or dinner on the road without having to make up a vegan meal by ordering a bunch of sites.
You can also order the Carl’s Jr. Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger. Naturally, you need to order it without cheese, and be sure to order it without any onion rings. The onion rings are made with eggs and are therefore not vegan.
What else? Carl’s Jr. does have a couple of other vegan friendly main meal options, including:
- The garden salad. This comes with cheese and croutons by default, so order the salad without these ingredients to be safe
- A crunchy or soft taco. Order these without any beef or cheese. You can substitute these ingredients with guacamole, lettuce, or extra vegetables
- The Veg It. Guacamole Thickburger. This is another tasty vegetarian-based burger from Carl’s Jr., Though you need to order it without any bacon, cheese, or the Santa Fe sauce. You can substitute the regular patty for Beyond meat if you prefer, and you can complement it with the Vegan Sauce (more on that below)
As you can see, Carl’s Jr. does pretty good in terms of offering reasonable vegan options for its environmentally conscious diners. It does a much better job than its counterpart fast-food brand, Hardee’s (see more about Hardee’s vegan options here).
When ordering any of the burgers, be sure to pick the sesame bun if asked. The sesame bun is the only confirmed bun to lack any dairy or eggs.
What if you want breakfast? Luckily, Carl’s Jr. does have one option for you: the Beyond Sausage Burrito. This delectable and delicious breakfast should be ordered without any eggs or cheese to keep it 100% vegan. It’s a filling, tasty way to start the day.
Vegan Sides at Carl’s Jr.
Aside from the excellent vegan friendly main options offered by Carl’s Jr., you can also choose a handful of sides. These include:
- The hashbrowns nuggets. While these are great, they are only available during the breakfast hours of the day, so get them while you can
- Either regular French fries or criss-cut fries. Note that, like many other eating establishments, cross-contamination is a factor to keep in mind when ordering fried foods. The French fries at Carl’s Jr. (and practically everything else, for that matter) may be prepared with shared cooking surfaces or tools. So if cross-contamination makes something non-vegan in your eyes, the French fries and burgers may not fully qualify
- Some chips and guacamole
With these sides, you’ll be able to create a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner from Carl’s Jr.’s menu without cheating on your vegan diet!
Carl’s Jr.’s Vegan Dressings and Sauces
Lastly, don’t forget that Carl’s Jr. offers a handful of vegan friendly dressings and sauces. These include:
- Low-fat balsamic vinaigrette
- Sweet & bold barbecue dipping sauce
- Spicy Buffalo dipping sauce
Each of these can be used with your fries, your burger, or anything else you order.
Carl’s Jr. Vegan Options FAQs
Technically, no. But that’s only because the burger and all other foods that Carl’s Jr. are prepared on shared cooking surfaces. Therefore, cross-contamination is always a factor you should be aware of. It’s up to you to decide whether this makes a food item no longer vegan.
It sure is! Therefore, you can safely eat the special sauce on your burger or dip your fries in it depending on your preferences.
As far as we can tell, only the sesame seed bun is 100% vegan. The other buns for Carl’s Jr.’s burgers may also be vegan friendly, but we don’t know their exact ingredient list so there’s no way to tell.
Is Carl’s Jr. a Good Fast-Food Restaurant for Vegans?
All in all, Carl’s Jr. offers a great range of vegan friendly foods and snacks for its vegan and vegetarian diners. There are very few fast-food restaurants where you can reliably get a vegan friendly burger or French fries while on the road, making this eatery an even better choice.
While cross-contamination is something to keep in mind, Carl’s Jr. does a better job than most other fast-food restaurants in America. If you want to know about any other places where you can get a tasty vegan bite to eat, check out our breakdown of vegan friendly restaurant menus right here on Cook Gem!