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At first glance, going to a seafood restaurant as a vegan may not be the best idea. After all, seafood isn’t vegan by definition… or is it?
Technically, there are a couple of sea-food-related items vegans can munch on, but they aren’t very numerous. Furthermore, seafood restaurants mostly focus on the animal foods harvested from the ocean, like lobster, fish, and more.
Red Lobster is certainly one of those restaurants. But vegans may occasionally need to visit one of these seafood hotspots to spend time with their families. If that happens to be you, don’t fret – we’ll break down all the vegan friendly menu items at Red Lobster right now.
|Crispy Brussel Sprouts
|Sea-Salted French Fries
Entrees for Vegans at Red Lobster
Let’s start with the bad news. If you’re a vegan at Red Lobster, you essentially only have one real entrée to check out: the Dragon Broccoli Stir-Fry.
There are a few issues with this entrée, however. Many Red Lobster restaurants don’t have this option, so whether or not you’ll be able to order it is dependent on the ingredients available to your local Red Lobster.
If your local Red Lobster does have the Dragon Broccoli Stir-Fry, you’re in luck since it’s pretty delicious. It includes broccoli and other vegetables in a stirfry made with no animal ingredients or byproducts. This can be a great way to get through a meal at Red Lobster without cheating on your diet.
What if they don’t have it? In that case, you’re pretty out of luck. Instead, you might want to check out other vegan-friendly seafood restaurants. For example, Bonefish Grill provides fast seafood and has a decent spread of vegan bites. Check out this breakdown of Bonefish Grill’s menu for more information.
Vegan Sides at Red Lobster
More likely, you’ll be forced to choose from one of the several vegan friendly side dishes at Red Lobster. There’s some reasonable variety here, although none of them are particularly impressive or inspiring. These include:
- The baked potato. You have to order this plain without any inclusions to keep it 100% vegan, as it normally comes with butter and other animal-based toppings
- Sea-salted French fries. These are a classic option and are totally vegan, though they may be exposed to cross-contamination during the cooking process
- A fruit cup. The fruit cups are sealed, so you don’t need to worry about cross-contamination
- Rice pilaf. Note that some Red Lobster chefs will add butter or other animal products to the rice pilaf, so order it to be made for vegans just to be safe
- Seasoned fresh broccoli. As before, butter is added quite frequently to this side, so order it without butter to avoid accidentally eating an animal product
- A side salad. Order this without any cheese or croutons and we recommend ordering it with the Champagne vinaigrette, which adds a good flavor to the veggies
Other Vegan Options at Red Lobster
So, you’ve got the sides and the possibly only vegan friendly entrée at Red Lobster. What else is there? Not much.
You can order some freshly made lemonade if you want a delicious beverage to wash down your limited food options. Or you can order marinara sauce, cocktail sauce, pico de gallo, or margaritas for dressings or an alcoholic beverage, respectively.
That essentially wraps it up. As you can see from the above list, Red Lobster isn’t particularly advanced when it comes to vegan options.
Red Lobster Vegan FAQs
No. That’s because they include dairy products in their flour and there’s no way to change the recipe ahead of time. Avoid the biscuits if you’re a vegan at all costs (even if they look quite tasty).
Same as above. While many of the pastas at Red Lobster are particularly popular, they are not vegan friendly since all the noodles are made with animal products and all the pasta dishes include animal products in their recipes. Red Lobster may eventually change this to include a vegan or vegetarian pasta in the future, however.
Yes. While the French fries are vegan by default, they are made in a fryer that can be used to prepare animal products. Furthermore, all the dishes at Red Lobster are made with shared cooking surfaces and tools, so there’s always a chance that you might ingest some animal products left on your food by accident.
This is par for the course for folks who don’t eat at vegan-specific restaurants, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Is Red Lobster a Good Restaurant for Vegans?
In the end, Red Lobster is as bad of a place for vegans as you might expect. After all, it is a seafood restaurant! But you can at least take some comfort in the fact that you can order some vegan friendly sides no matter what. Even better, your local Red Lobster location may have a vegan appropriate entrée depending on its available ingredients.
In our opinion, you’ll be better off going to another restaurant if you want something substantial to eat. Try to convince your family or friends to eat somewhere that you can enjoy the food as well! If you don’t know where to start, good news; we’ve broken down all the best vegan friendly restaurants and their menus on Cook Gem.
Check out the list and find a restaurant that has more vegan friendly items and you’ll enjoy your lunch or dinner just as much as your companions.