How to Eat Vegan at McDonald’s

Since eating a vegan diet is becoming more mainstream, more and more restaurants are starting to come up with vegan friendly menu items to help appeal to the vegan masses.  One such restaurant just so happens to be McDonald’s.

First starting back in 1940, McDonald’s has grown to become the absolute quintessential hamburger place in America.  It has built its reputation by serving up fries, shakes and burgers. You can bet that the original founders, the McDonald’s brothers Maurice and Richard, had no idea that their little hamburger stand that they started in California would eventually become one of the absolute largest fast food chains on the entire planet.  They did so by serving food that was cheap and quick, bringing them to over 100 different countries and more than 36,000 locations worldwide.

Through the years McDonald’s has received several makeovers, having more of an emphasis on the quality of ingredients that are being used, as well as more transparency when it comes to the nutritional labeling of their products.  In fact, in more recent years, they have even added several menu items that are healthier than what was on the menu previously. Some of these include a variety of different salads, fruit smoothies, and even different types of fruits to add some wholesome goodness to everything else that they offer.

McDonald’s and Animal Well-being

Recently, McDonald’s has had more of a focus on animal welfare and issues that relate to that.  In fact, they have even won the RSPCA Assured’s Food Service Award in 2017 for their commitment to farm animals wellbeing.  On top of that, back in 2015 McDonald’s would even announce that it was going to stop using any type of battery eggs in all of its locations and only use cage-free eggs instead.  While that hasn’t happened yet, the estimated start date for that is 2025.

On the McDonald’s website, they even have a section that is titled ‘Scale for Good’.  In this section they go on to explain that they have come up with a set of principles in regards to animal welfare and health.  The website goes on to say:

“Quality: We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of out commitment to serving McDonald’s customers safe food.  Healthy animals provide safe food.”

Initiative for Sustainability

According to the figures that McDonald’s recently released, the company’s new worth is roughly $106.5 billion.  They have also listed themselves as having environmental protection and sustainability as an essential part of their business model, as well as a plan that will supposedly reduce all of the greenhouse gases by over 36 percent.  They are planning to do this by utilizing several different eco-friendly initiatives that include only sourcing locally, switching all the lights they use over to LED lights, and even improving how recyclable their food packaging is.  As if that weren’t enough, McDonald’s has also claimed that be the year 2025, 100 percent of all the food packaging that they use in all of their restaurants is going to only come from recycled, renewable, and certified sources.

McDonald’s Global Menu

A lot of McDonald’s success can be attributed to the fact that they are really good at observing different global trends, as well as national markets.  Because of this, the company is able to tailor the menus that it offers to include certain aspects of the local cuisine, as well as to meet religious and socio-cultural diet requirements that a certain location may have.  In fact, back in 1994, the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’ even had a scene where Hollywood heavyweights Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta would famously discuss the Big Mac in regards to the European nomenclature of the time.

Israel is a great example of McDonald’s menu catering to the people of the country.  In Israel, there are a total of 180 McDonald’s restaurants. Of those 180, 50 of them only serve Kosher foods, and even some of the other branches offer variations of dairy-free desserts.  Another example is Saudi Arabia. All of the McDonald’s restaurants there are certified Halal, and back in 2013, McDonald’s even opened its very first restaurant in Amritsar (located in Northern India), which is fully vegetarian.  The Indian menu that McDonald’s features is quite varied, being home to some very exclusive menu items that include the McSpicy Paneer, and Veg Pizza McPuff, both of which are top sellers in the restaurant. The McAloo Tikki, which is made using potato and other spices, has been debuted on US soil.  Being one of the best selling menu items in India, it is also the only current vegan friendly option for a burger that is offered by any McDonald’s in the USA.

Recently however, with the increase of plant-based foods becoming more popular among the masses, there has been more of an appeal to come up with foods that are vegan friendly, vegetarian friendly, and even flexitarian friendly.  In fact, the vegan revolution is growing so quickly that the number of vegans in Mexico, the UK and Kenya has increased by over 700 percent in only two years time.

Vegan Options at McDonald’s

It is no secret that McDonald’s wasn’t able to reach new heights in the hamburger business and sever over 69 million different customers each and every day by not changing and adapting.  Because of this, the hamburger giant has started to make several different vegan friendly additions to their menus over the past few years. All of these plant-based options are served across the entire globe, so no matter what McDonald’s location you are visiting, here is exactly how you are going to eat vegan at McDonald’s.

Spicy Veggie One

The spicy veggie one is a wrap that is made with a flour tortilla that has been stuffed with pesto goujons (which is made with yellow split peas, sundried tomato pesto and Arborio rice) and red peppers.  Originally added to the menu of McDonald’s in the UK during the early part of the year, the wrap has actually gotten the approval of the Vegetarian Society. If you are wondering where the ‘spicy’ comes into play, that is due in part to the vegan jalapeno relish.  Can you say fiery?

Happy Meal with a Veggie Wrap

Originally launched for children back in 1979, the Happy Meal has seen its first vegan friendly version released 40 years later.  A huge hit in the UK, the veggie wrap includes a smaller, kid-sized tortilla, and dairy-free red pesto. As with the original Happy Meals, you also get a drink and fries with this one as well.  The timing for an all vegan friendly Happy Meal could not have come at a better time for McDonald’s. In a study that was done on 2,200 UK parents, about one out of every 12 is making sure that they raise their kids to be vegan.

Vegetable Deluxe

Available at most McDonald’s locations, the Vegetable Deluxe is also made with goujons.  In this sandwich, the standard sesame seed bun, as well as some lettuce joins the goujons.  The only substitution that needs to be done in order to turn this sandwich vegan friendly is to make sure and order it without any of the sauce that comes on it, as this does contain egg yolk.

McAloo Tikki

One of the top sellers in the Indian McDonald’s, this was actually first released at the end of the 2018 year in Chicago.  Being named after it’s main ingredient, potato, the vegan patty also contains bits of peas, spuds, and other spices. It is then put into the sandwich buns and topped with salad and a version of all vegan tomato may.  While it is only available in the original Chicago location, it can be found in over 300 locations throughout India.

Vegan Vegetable Nuggets

Being one of the very few all plant based foods that doesn’t contain a ‘Mc’ in front of its name, these vegan alternatives to the popular McNuggets are simply delightful.  Being made with ingredients that include cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas, these nuggets are then rolled in breadcrumbs and fried to perfection. These vegan friendly nuggets were introduced to several Norway locations as part of the new and improved vegan friendly menu.

While in the past it could be extremely difficult to eat vegan at McDonald’s, the times are changing and the options available continue to grow.  McDonald’s is no longer just the place to go when you need a cheap burger, fries and a shake. It has been able to see exactly what it is people want and expand their menu to appeal to them.  Since the general consensus is that going vegan is better for you that is exactly where McDonald’s is taking its menu items. With the release of several different vegan friendly options at locations around the globe, it no longer matters where you are.  You are always going to have a vegan friendly meal to fall back on when the hunger decides to strike.