Great Vegetarian Dishes to Order at Restaurants

Quote of the Post:
“Forever is composed of nows” – Emily Dickinson

Hi again! So this year, my school is starting this thing called June Academy, where we pick our own fun courses to take for 2 weeks. One of the classes that I’m taking is blogging and podcasting! I’m super excited to spend that time to really dedicate myself to blogging and producing content for you guys.

As stated on my about page, I’m a pescatarian that occasionally eats white meat chicken. In other words, I like to stay away from red meat and try to put whole foods in my body. I feel best when I get my 5 veggies/fruits a day. Of course, I still love having cake.

I understand the struggle of going out to eat with friends when following a vegetarian diet. Don’t you just hate it when restaurants assume that we’re fine with a boring salad? Well I don’t know about you, but that’s the straight out wrong for me. I want to be able to eat a sandwich, have some delicious soup, and eat a cool salad with creative ingredients.

Believe it or not, a lot of restaurants out there have great vegetarian options. These are some of my favorites and some hacks to help you out!

Cheesecake Factory

1. Veggie Burger


Cheesecake Factory’s veggie burger patty is made from brown rice, faro, mushrooms, black beans, and onions. It’s a great alternative to the typical beef burger patty. And, it comes with either fries or a salad, if you’re trying to get your veggies in. It’s a great option for vegetarians out there who love to indulge!

2. Kale and Quinoa Salad


A healthier vegetarian alternative to their veggie burger, Cheesecake Factory’s kale and quinoa salad is part of their “super” foods menu. It’s got kale, quinoa, grapes, red pepper, sunflower seeds, parmesan, and lemon vinaigrette. Want to make it vegan? Just ask them to hold the cheese. A warning: their portion sizes are huge so eat half and save the other half for another meal!

They also have tons of other great salad options, such as a vegan cobb salad, a falafel one, and an almond-crusted salmon salad for pescatarians out there like me. No need to stress about what you’re going to have at CF!

Panera Bread

1. Spicy Thai Salad


I know, I know. The picture above has chicken right on top of the salad, but get this: at Panera, you can swap out chicken for avocado in any of their salads, free of extra charge! I did this last weekend when I went with my mom, and this salad was delicious. If you’re a huge lover of peanuts like me, you’ll love this salad.

2. Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup


In the winter time, I love ordering a nice bowl of warm soup. Panera’s tomato soup isn’t dairy free, but it’s so nice and creamy. Compared to many other tomato soups that I’ve tried, Panera’s is delicious because it doesn’t contain any tomato seeds. What’s the point of drinking a creamy soup if you have to chew away the seeds?

Burger King

1. Veggie Burger


Can you believe that Burger King actually has a veggie burger? McDonald’s doesn’t even have one! If you’re ever on a road trip and the only options available to you are fast food chains, skip Mickey D’s and head for BK.

Burger King’s veggie patty is sourced from the brand MorningStar®. They use their Garden Veggie Patty which consists of mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, carrots,  and red bell peppers.

Olive Garden

1. Cucina Mia! – Create your own pasta dish


When that pasta craving hits, steer towards Olive Garden. Their Cucina Mia menu option allows you to pick your pasta, sauce, and toppings. Though none of their toppings are vegetarian, they’ve got a great selection of pastas: whole grain linguine, gluten-free rotini, cavatappi, angel hair, all the works. They’ve also got amazing vegetarian sauces: marinara (with the option of cheese), pesto, and alfredo.

Also, feel free to ask for vegetables added in, such as broccoli, tomatoes, and mushrooms.  Now go get your carb on!

2. Ravioli di Portobello


A great way to reach your 5 a day, this ravioli dish is filled with mushrooms and topped with cheese and tomato sauce. Best for those out there who want some vegetables with their pasta!

Looking for some other options with veggies? Try OG’s eggplant parm or minestrone soup!


1. Vegetarian Burrito Bowl


Life hack for when you’re craving some fast-casual Mexican: order a burrito, burrito bowl, salad, or tacos without any meat, not even sofritas. This marks your order as a “veggie” order and allows you to get guac for free! Have fun saving $2!


1. Fresh Mozzarella Salad w/ No Chicken


In the middle of nowhere and desperate for a non-boring salad? Wendy’s offers unique salads; none of that typical garden, greek, or farmer’s market stuff. Think mozzarella, strawberry-mango, apple-pecan, and spicy caesar.

P.F. Chang’s

1. Vietnamese Noodle Salad


For all of P.F. Chang’s salads, you have the option of requesting no meat. Or, if you’re pescatarian, they have shrimp and salmon options. This noodle salad includes rice noodles, vegetables, peanuts, and a garlic lime dressing. Don’t you just love when salads aren’t so plain?

2. Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps


Typically, these lettuce wraps contain chicken in them, but thankfully, P.F. Chang’s created a vegetarian version. A healthy alternative to bread or buns, these lettuce wraps help you add some fiber and veggies into your diet. Though they claim the recipe is a secret, I’m going to guess that one of the ingredients is five spice tofu. Delicious!

Not only does P.F. Chang’s offer these two wonderful vegetarian dishes, but they have a wide range of other eats. Cauliflower tempura, egg drop soup, veggie spring rolls, chili-garlic green beans, coconut curry veggies, if your group wants to dine here, no need to worry.

Sushi (In General)


Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a chain sushi restaurant. I feel like most sushi places are local to an area. At least, for me, my favorite spots only have a few locations.

But whatever sushi restaurant you’re dining at, they’ve got to have a selection of veggie rolls. Personally, I don’t have a problem with sushi (pescatarian, you know?), so I always get an avocado roll and a salmon roll, or both of them together.

A great veggie option that I think almost everyone can agree is amazing, is a simple avocado roll (or avocado-cucumber roll). And if you’re lucky, your local sushi spot will also offer a sweet potato tempura roll. I know tempura isn’t exactly the healthiest, but trust me, the fried, crispy part compliments the sweetness of the potato perfectly. Then, your roll has just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering.

Other delicious dishes include vegetable summer rolls (not fried), miso soup, and vegetable gyoza. And who could forget, edamame! I swear on sushi itself, edamame is food from the gods. They’re so fun to eat and an excellent source of protein (wow, I just sounded like a cereal box when I said “excellent source”).

Anddddd that’s a (vegetarian lettuce) wrap! I hope, at this point, I’ve given you vegetarians some hope that there are options out there for you. Even if it’s somewhere at a restaurant like Chick-fil-a or a steakhouse, there’s bound to be something you can eat. If there’s not, order some fries and call it a day!


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