How to Eat Vegan at Panera Bread

When you think about restaurants that are great options for eating vegan friendly foods, there is a good chance that Panera Bread comes up in the conversation.  With a menu that is primarily composed of bread, soups and salads, this place is definitely one of the more vegan friendly places to grab a bite to eat. But how are you supposed to know exactly what is vegan friendly and what is not?    This guide will help you to be able to eat vegan at Panera Bread.

To make things even easier for all of the vegans out there, Panera Bread has recently launched a brand new ‘plant-based’ menu.  While this new plant-based menu is mainly composed of vegetarian options that are being called plant-based, Panera defines this new menu as:

“The options here are all meat-free (no fish or shellfish, either), though milk and egg products, and enzymes or rennet from animal sources are allowed.”

While having a plant-based menu is great and all, the one negative here is that some of the meals are going to not be vegan friendly, even though they are supposed to be plant-based.  So this is somewhat problematic in a way if you are on a vegan diet and would like to enjoy some delicious Panera Bread foods. Fortunately, with a few changes to some of the current meal offerings, you can easily create some vegan dishes.  All you are going to need to do is modify a few of the already vegetarian plates.

Eating Vegan at Panera Bread

With some simple modifications, you can easily make the following foods vegan friendly.

  • Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian):  If you are craving some delicious, flavorful soup, the black bean soup is the way to go.  The black beans are simmered with various vegetables and sprinkled with just the right amount of spice to make it taste amazing.  And on top of that, you can even get it served with a bread bowl instead of a regular bowl.
  • The Fuji Apple Salad:  One of the best vegan salads on the menu, this salad will definitely satisfy your taste buds.  Made with a combination of mixed greens, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, apple chips, pecans, and then topped with a white balsamic vinaigrette of Fuji apple, this salad is possibly the best on the entire menu.  If you are going to be ordering the Fuji Apple Salad, just be sure that you make sure to skip the Gorgonzola and chicken. Once you do this you will have the perfect vegan friendly salad.
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Pecans and Strawberries:  While the name tells you exactly what you are getting here, this is another great vegan friendly option that is on the menu at Panera Bread.  Just be sure that the oatmeal is made using water instead of milk. While it is normally made with water, it is always better to be safe than sorry on the little things like that.
  • The Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich:  Another great vegetarian option, it will need some slight modifications to make it vegan friendly.  Being packed with cilantro jalapeno hummus, the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich also has some of the freshest veggies available, as well as those sweet Peppadew peppers that everyone loves.  What you are going to want to make sure they don’t put onto this sandwich is the feta cheese that it normally comes with. Also, be sure that you switch out the bread that the sandwich comes on to either ciabatta, French baguette, or sourdough.  Once you have made these two modifications, your Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich will be vegan friendly and still delicious.
  • Blueberry and Peach Smoothie with Almond Milk:  Possibly the absolute best smoothie in all of Panera Bread, this vegan friendly option does not require any type of modifications to become vegan.  What you can expect with this mush-have smoothie is a drink that is packed full of mango and peach puree, white grapes, almond milk, fresh blueberries, and a hint of passion fruit juice.  As far as vegan smoothies go, this one is more than likely going to be a must-have whenever you are eating at Panera Bread.
  • Garden Vegetable Soup (Vegetarian):  Only being offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, this soup is already vegetarian friendly, but not quite vegan friendly.  This soup is made with a tomato-broth and then packed full of sliced zucchini, cauliflower, yellow beans, barley and Swiss chard.  When you order yours, all you are going to do to make it vegan friendly is to simply let them know that you do not want the pesto that is normally included in the dish.  After you have eliminated the pesto, you now have a yummy, vegan friendly soup.
  • Greek Salad with Quinoa:  If you are in the mood for a dish that is a little on the lighter side, the Greek Salad with Quinoa is an excellent choice.  Being made with some of the freshest ingredients, you can expect to see romaine lettuce, kale, quinoa, cucumber, Kalamata olives, almonds, and more.  The one thing that you are going to want to make sure and hold out of your salad on this one however, is going to be the feta cheese. Once the feta is out, your salad is now vegan friendly.

Panera Bread’s new plant-friendly menu options are one of the best ways to appeal to those who choose not to eat animal and animal by-products.  While there not entirely vegan friendly, with some simple modifications to the ingredients in the dishes, you will be able to create your own vegan friendly version of just about anything on the menu.  Just remember to let the person taking your order know that you are trying to only order vegan friendly foods and they will be able to help you make the correct decisions and not accidently order something that doesn’t follow the vegan guidelines.  Just remember that if you are not sure whether or not something is vegan, all you have to do is ask them.