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Hardee’s, also known as Carl’s Jr. depending on where you’re ordering, is a major American fast-food chain that once expanded its menu to include several vegan options. These included a dedicated vegan burger. While these vegan options have mysteriously disappeared, they may return in the future.
However, you can also make modifications to many of Hardee’s current menu items. Today, let’s take a closer look at all the vegan options available at Hardee’s in detail.
Hardee’s Vegan Entrees
Let’s start with the main attraction for vegan diners at Hardee’s: the Original Beyond Thickburger. This burger is made with 100% plant-based Beyond Meat and comes with ingredients like red onion, tomato, lettuce, dill pickles, mustard, and catchup by default.
Note that if you want to make this item truly vegan, you have to order it without mayo, which is a standard inclusion. You’ll also want to order the Thickburger on sourdough bread or a lettuce wrap (more on Hardee’s’ buns below) since it comes made with a toasted premium bun normally.
Hardee’s also offers the Beyond Sausage if you’re stopping by Hardee’s for breakfast. This has to be ordered with either toasted sourdough bread or as part of a burrito; you can’t get the sausage by itself. The sausage is totally vegan but keep in mind that any biscuit meals that include it are not vegan, since the biscuits are made with milk.
Both of these meals, which use Beyond Meat, were discontinued at the beginning of 2021. This may largely be because of supply chain issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Hardee’s has not released any statement about when the Beyond Thickburger or Beyond Sausage will return, if ever.
For now, vegan fans of Hardee’s will have to wait and see if these menu options ever come back.
Last but not least is Hardee’s’ Red Burrito, which can be ordered with beans and rice and without cheese. The tortilla, Mexican rice, and beans used in the recipe are all vegan while the cheese is obviously not. Choose a side of chips and salsa or beans/rice depending on your preferences and you’ll have a whole vegan meal.
Hardee’s Vegan Sides
Hardee’s is also very vegan-friendly when it comes to sides. All of the below possibilities are vegan, though they are subject to cross-contamination:
- Crispy curls
- Green beans
- Hot dog bun
- Sourdough bread
- Natural cut French fries
Interestingly, Hardee’s’ ingredients list says that these food items contain milk or milk products. But the actual ingredients list doesn’t include any milk-related stuff. This may be just a warning from Hardee’s to prevent individuals with lactose intolerance from having an adverse reaction due to cross-contamination.
Hardee’s Vegan Desserts
Hardee’s also has one vegan-friendly dessert you can order when your sweet tooth strikes: the Peach Cobbler. This tasty treat is a delight from start to finish and is made without dairy at any point. It’s also not subject to the same possibility for cross-contamination like most of Hardee’s’ other items.
Hardee’s Vegan Breads and Buns
When you’re putting together a vegan-friendly meal at Hardee’s, it’ll be helpful to know which breads and buns you can choose from. These are the Flour Tortilla, the Seeded Bun, the Plain Bun, and the Sourdough Bread.
Fortunately, most of these can be combined with the menu items above or other options. As with many restaurants or fast-food chains, be sure to specify the ingredients or components you want in your meal to prevent accidentally eating something non-vegan.
The Discontinuation of Hardee’s’ Beyond Items
As touched on above, Hardee’s discontinued the menu items that used Beyond Meat some months ago. There was never an official press response about the discontinuation of these items, however, which leads us to believe that may bring them back once supply chains are renewed.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a lot of supply lines and delayed the shipping of ingredients needed to create Beyond Meat for many companies. Until Hardee’s says one way or the other that they are getting rid of or keeping the Beyond Meat items, we’ll wait before giving up hope for this fast-food chain.
Hardee’s Vegan Food FAQs
Yep. All Beyond Meat patties are 100% plant-based. That being said, they are technically 100% vegan since they are often prepared on shared cooking surfaces or with shared kitchen instruments. So cross-contamination is a possibility. Still, the vegan patty may be enough for many vegan diners interested in some tasty fast food on the road.
No, unfortunately. Hardee’s Beer Battered Onion Rings have milk/milk products like whey, so they don’t count as vegan although they might make the cut for vegetarian.
Yes, although cross-contamination is a possibility since Hardee’s French fries share fryers with non-vegan items.
Summary – Does Hardee’s Have Good Vegan Options?
All in all, Hardee’s would normally score quite highly when it comes to vegan friendliness. Having a pair of vegan items that use Beyond Meat is excellent, and this fast-food chain was one of the favorites for vegan travelers before they removed those items from their menu.
That being said, not all restaurants are completely out of Beyond Meat products. In addition, Hardee’s hasn’t said that they are fully discontinuing the production of these items; it may be that they plan to create more Beyond Menu choices in the future and are just waiting for the ingredients necessary to make the Meat.
For the time being, Hardee’s is still a solid option if you’re looking for vegan sides or snacks and don’t want to stop at an actual restaurant while on the go. But there’s no denying that Hardee’s’ vegan options have significantly suffered from the removal of the Beyond Meat Thickburger and Sausage. Here’s hoping both of these menu items come back in the future!