How to find cheap vegan food when eating out

Whether you’re vegan or you just want to make sure your vegan friends don’t starve on your joint night out, you’ve come to the right place. There has never been a better time to eat vegan food, with a plethora of options available everywhere you go.

The growing popularity of veganism helps everyone eat more healthily and sustainably; vegans can find more options on a day out; and the decreasing demand for animal products of course means that more animals are spared their lives.

But where can you eat as a vegan? The truth is, pretty much anywhere. Chain and independent stores alike are embracing this surge and providing great vegan options - yes, we’re talking about more than chips here!

On a night out

While not the most vegan of places, McDonald’s actually has some decent and affordable options. Yes, even a hamburger place has to accept veganism is now mainstream! Maccies offers a vegan breaded goujon wrap, a vegan Happy Meal, a veggie burger (ask for no mayo), hash browns and French fries.

We hear KFC are working on a vegan option or if you’re out a bit earlier in the day, your local Greggs may still be open with their famous, incredibly delicious VSRs (that is, vegan sausage rolls). You can grab pitas, wraps, dips and more at Nando’s too.

Packed lunch

Hey, packed lunches save lots of money! If you find yourself spending £7 on lunch every day, just think to how much this would add up to over the course of a week or a month.

It’s easy to put last night’s leftovers in Tupperware and heat it up when needed or prepare some quick sandwiches or wraps to eat in the sun. There are lots of ideas online and they only take minutes to make.

Buying lunch

Not all vegans actually eat salads – I, for one, can’t stand them! Subway is a safe bet but avoid the flatbread or the honey oat sub. YO Sushi, Wasabi, LEON and Bagel Nash are great for lunch.

If you’re looking for something more standard, head to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, The Co-op, WH Smith or Boots as they all offer vegan wraps and sandwiches.

All major cafés and the majority of the independent ones provide plant milk. In addition, you can find vegan snacks at Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, Starbucks and Costa. The former is particularly good for vegans, with three Veggie Prets recently opening in London.

Do some quick research

There’s a good chance the place you’re visiting already has vegan options but check online if it’s your first time there. If they don’t have anything exciting, the vast majority of the time the chef will be happy to prepare something special for you.

Travelling or new to the city? No problem – just download the app HappyCow or check their website. It’s an online directory of vegan and vegan-friendly establishments.

Indian, Mexican and oriental (particularly Thai and Chinese) cuisines are most likely to be rich in vegan options. Mention to the waiter if you spot an item that can be veganised by simply replacing one or two pesky ingredients and voila, you’ve created yourself a vegan meal. Don’t forget to check side dishes too – some may be real gems.


UK’s Italian restaurants are leading the way for vegan options. Zizzi, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express serve pizzas topped with vegan cheese, with the former sporting a huge vegan menu, while Carluccio’s, Bella Italia, Prezzo and ASK Italian all provide great options for vegans.

Wagamama, The Real Greek and TGI Fridays have recently launched exciting vegan menus. Las Iguanas, Nando’s and Handmade Burger Co are also notable for their vegan food.


Okay, independent pubs is an area for improvement but there are a few that offer amazing vegan options. In terms of chains, Wetherspoons paves the way with its dedicated vegan menu, followed by Loungers, Harvester, Cosy Club, Sizzling Pubs, and even the meat-heavy places like Toby Carvery and Beefeater.

Need more inspiration?

There are lots of really helpful vegan forums and Facebook groups to join. It’s a good idea to search Facebook for a local group in your area, e.g. ‘vegan London’. The community is very welcoming and helpful so ask away if you have any questions.

Eating out as a vegan or with a vegan won’t make a fuss if you keep a few key tips in mind. Choosing vegan options shows demand for plant-based products as well as benefiting the animals, the planet and your own health. Most of all, have fun exploring all the delicious, exciting and cruelty-free vegan dishes!

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