Recently we were creating a vegan guide for a ballpark in Florida when we received an email back that said their Outback Steakhouse’s booth offers a Bloomin’ Onion as a vegan option.
Red flags immediately went up for me.
I know we do not have the Bloomin’ Onion listed on our Outback Steakhouse Vegan Guide, but is it possible that a booth could offer it vegan?
And while we’re at it, I’m trying to remember why their Bloomin’ Onion is not listed as vegan…
That’s when I chose to do a little more in-depth research. I contacted Outback Steakhouse and asked a few questions. You may find the answers a bit surprising. I know I did.
What Are The Ingredients of Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion?
When contacting Outback Steakhouse for our vegan guide, we were always told the Bloomin’ Onion contains dairy and egg and is fried in beef tallow. Obviously, the beef tallow makes it a no-go whether the Bloomin’ Onion contained dairy or not.
But what we learned with this interaction is the dairy and egg is coming from the sauce–NOT the Bloomin’ Onion itself!
Now, I will say there are a couple of ingredients in the malted enriched bleached wheat flour that could have animal as its origin but we would have to know what brand the flour is to research more.
Here are the ingredients we were given for the Bloomin’ Onion:
The ingredients in the Bloomin’ Onion are onion, malted enriched bleached wheat flour ((niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), barley malt), salt, spices including paprika (for color), garlic, onion and palm oil, soda water and cooked in beef tallow.
The Bloom Sauce is where the dairy and egg are:
The ingredients in the Bloom Sauce are milk, seasoning (salt, paprika, spices (red pepper, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, oregano), onion, garlic, palm oil silicon dioxide to prevent caking), mayonnaise, horseradish sauce (horseradish, vinegar, salt, artificial flavor and sodium bisulfite) and hot sauce (aged cayenne red peppers, vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder).
And I’m sure you are noticing the palm oil in both of the ingredient lists as well. Is Palm Oil vegan? Technically, yes. But the process to retrieve this tree fruit is very unfriendly to animals and to the environment. If you do a Google search on this topic, you will see an array of articles from vegans debating whether we should avoid or it not.
Is Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion Fried in Beef Tallow?
Yes. In fact, ALL of Outback Steakhouse’s fried menu items are cooked in beef tallow. Not sure what beef tallow is? It’s the fat from a cow.
When there are all of these plant oils available, Outback chooses to fry everything in animal fat. Do you know who else does that as well? Buffalo Wild Wings.
So that means even the fries that us vegans think “should be” a vegan option, are not always an option.
Technically, that also means that Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion is not suitable for vegetarians either.
The Verdict Is…
Is Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion Vegan?
No. The Bloomin’ Onion itself has some questionable ingredients in the flour and then of course what your stance is on palm oil comes into account. But even if you would consider it an accidentally vegan food, the onion being fried in cow fat is where we definitely draw the line.
Most restaurants do NOT use beef tallow in their fryers. It’s 2023, it’s ok to progress past behaviors that we now know are not the best.
What Can I Order Vegan at Outback Steakhouse?
If you happen to be visiting an Outback Steakhouse, they do have some pretty good vegan options though. And even better if you are eating whole food plant-based (no oil).
I’ll share with you what my picks would be and how to modify them if need be:
- Table Bread. Ask for it to be served with NO butter.
- Blue Cheese Pecan Side Salad. Order with NO blue cheese crumbles. The dressing is NOT vegan so I sub it with Mustard Vinaigrette … comes with chopped style mixed greens, shredded carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cinnamon pecans and Aussie Crunch.
- Sweet Potato. Order with NO butter.
You can see our complete Vegan Guide for Outback Steakhouse, here! It has a few more menu items on it.
If you come across a Bloomin’ Onion, whether at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant or at their booth in an arena/stadium, it is NOT vegan. Nor is it vegetarian–which is unfortunate. With a couple of tweaks, this could be such a fun animal-free option.
What’s good to know is you do have a few menu items you can choose from if you happen to visit an Outback. It may not be exactly what you were hoping for if fried food was on your mind. So be prepared, you’ll have to opt for healthy–which is never a bad thing. 🙂