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Culver’s is a classic family restaurant with a variety of American favorites including sandwiches, fried chicken, and more. While it originated in Wisconsin and has spread across 25 states in the US, Culver’s is unfortunately not very progressive when it comes to offering vegan friendly alternatives for its environmentally conscious diners.
Indeed, if you find yourself stuck at Culver’s because a friend or family member wants to eat there, or because it’s the only restaurant around and you really need a bite to eat, you’ll need to know what you can eat as a vegan without cheating on your diet. That’s what this guide is for; below, you’ll find a breakdown of all the vegan options at Culver’s. Let’s get started!
|Menu Item||Dish Type||Notes|
|Crinkle Cut Fries||Side||Cross-contamination possible|
|Sweet Potato Fries||Side||Cross-contamination possible|
|Garden Fresco Salad||Salad||Order without cheese or croutons|
|Side Salad||Salad||Order without cheese or croutons|
|Apple Slices||Salad Mix-Ins|
|Grape Tomatoes||Salad Mix-Ins|
|Mixed Greens with Spring Mix||Salad Mix-Ins|
|Red Diced Onions||Salad Mix-Ins|
|Romaine Lettuce||Salad Mix-Ins|
|Sliced Strawberries||Salad Mix-Ins|
|French Dressing||Salad Dressing|
|Raspberry Vinaigrette||Salad Dressing|
|Reduced Calorie French Dressing||Salad Dressing|
|Sesame Ginger Dressing||Salad Dressing|
Vegan Sides at Culver’s
Bad news; there aren’t any vegan entrées or main menu items that Culver’s for you to chow down on. Instead, you’ll have to content yourself with vegan friendly sides, which also aren’t very numerous. They include:
- Apple slices. These are not made with anything else, so they’re 100% vegan
- Sweet potato and crinkle-cut fries. While both of these fries are vegan by default, they are potentially subject to cross-contamination risks. They are fried in a shared fryer and prepared with shared cooking tools. So if cross-contamination discounts a food item as vegan to you, don’t try the fries
- Steamed broccoli. Depending on the Culver’s location you visit, they may try to add butter to the broccoli. Specify no butter when you order just to be safe
- The dinner rolls. These are surprisingly vegan friendly as they aren’t made with any animal products. You can technically make a sandwich by adding some veggies or dressings to a general, but we aren’t sure how good this will actually taste in practice
As you can see, your side options are pretty limited, at least when you don’t count the salad (more on that below). Because of this limitation, we heavily recommend checking out a different restaurant in the area if possible instead of trying to put together a reasonable meal at Culver’s.
Alternatively, try out cafes and restaurants with vegan-suitable menus. Perkin’s is a similar restaurant with more options like baked potatoes and other items that, while not entrees, are still more filling than the choices above.
Salads and Dressings for Vegans at Culver’s
As mentioned, Culver’s does offer salad. In fact, you can order either the garden fresco salad or the side salad; the latter is a little smaller and is best enjoyed as a side dish. But since you don’t have any entrées to check out, you might want to order the garden fresco salad – which has more food – to make sure you get enough calories for a full meal.
Regardless, both salads must be ordered without cheese or croutons to be 100% vegan friendly. You can also add a variety of toppings, mix-ins, and salad dressings to customize the flavor or ingredients of your salad. These include:
- French dressing
- A raspberry vinaigrette
- Reduced calorie French dressing
- Sesame Ginger dressing
- Apple slices
- Craisins (mixtures between cranberries and raisins)
- Grape tomatoes
- Either iceberg or romaine lettuce
- Mixed greens with a spring mix of vegetables. This is usually only available during the spring and summer months, however
- Sliced strawberries
- Red diced onions
This is a good range of salad customization options. But it doesn’t ultimately make up for the fact that Culver’s is pretty limited in terms of actual vegan friendly foods or entrées.
Culver’s Vegan Options FAQs
No, which is a downside since many vegans will probably see this on the Culver’s menu and get their hopes up. Unfortunately, the veggie burger contains pasteurized milk. It’s one of the key ingredients for the burger, so Culver’s can’t customize this to make it vegan friendly.
Additionally, the veggie burger comes with cheese cultures and eggs. Even worse, the bun for the veggie burger is made with cream, which is a dairy product. Basically, no part of this is vegan friendly aside from the vegetables. So vegetarians have a reasonable option at Culver’s but vegans are still limited to the sides and salads mentioned above.
No, sadly. Culver’s’ onion rings contain milk and so are not vegan by definition.
Yes. Culver’s doesn’t really focus on making things vegan friendly at their establishments. Furthermore, any fried options, like the French fries mentioned above, are made with shared fryers. The chefs use shared cooking surfaces and tools to prepare all their menu items.
Therefore, you should never order anything from Culver’s and assume that it is 100% vegan. There’s always a chance that they may have accidentally added some animal products to your meal, even if it is just a few particles.
Should You Eat at Culver’s if You’re a Vegan?
Overall, it’s pretty clear from the above breakdown that Culver’s is not a very good spot to grab a bite to eat if you are a vegan. Its side options are very limited such that it’s difficult to put together a meal with enough calories to sate your appetite, which makes Culver’s a worse place for vegans than many other restaurants overall.
Even worse, there’s no indication that Culver’s will be changing its menu anytime soon. Because of this, it’s unlikely to become a vegan friendly restaurant over the next few years, if ever.
Due to all these reasons, we recommend checking out a different restaurant if at all possible. Fortunately, we’ve put together a breakdown of vegan friendly restaurant menus – and some explorations of which vegan foods are best on those menus – right here on Cook Gem. Check them out today and you’ll never be afraid to visit a new restaurant!