Admittedly, I tend to get pretty excited when a chain restaurant puts a new vegan option on its menu. And over the past couple of years, we’ve seen more animal-free options hit fast food menus than ever before which has been amazing.
However, I’ve also had my heart broken too many times when some of these menu items get taken away. Whether they’re pulled unexpectedly or it’s simply a ‘test run’ that has come to an end, either way, it can be very frustrating. Especially when some of the options were really, really good.
In this article, I’m going to go over a few of our favorite vegan-friendly menu items that are no longer available.
Pizza Hut Beyond Meat
“Yeah, but there is no vegan cheese.”
I still remember thinking this when Pizza Hut added Beyond Sausage to their menu in November 2020. Turns out – it didn’t matter.
This was (and still is) one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. Pizza Hut has the best crust of any pizza chain, let’s start right there. Then, that Pizza Hut sauce combined with the Beyond Sausage made me forget that cheese even existed.
We topped off our Beyond Meat pizza with banana peppers, tomatoes and onions and it was flat-out incredible.
Unfortunately, it was a short-lived trial run. By mid-January of the following year, just a couple of months later, Beyond Meat started vanishing from Pizza Hut menus.
Pizza Hut – if you’re out there and you’re listening, bring the Beyond Meat back!
Chipotle Plant-Based Chorizo
Chipotle is already well known for their plant-based Sofritas, but in August of 2021 they added Plant Based Chorizo to go alongside Sofritas.
It cost a dollar more than Sofritas (or a Veggie Bowl with Guac), but credit where credit is due, it was delicious. If it was a permanent fixture on the menu it would make a great additional vegan option to switch it up from Sofritas.
Alas, it was only for a limited time and Plant-Based Chorizo is no longer available.
Does Chipotle Still Have Cauliflower Rice?
While we’re on Chipotle and discussing vegan options that are no longer available – what about the Cauliflower Rice?
The Cauliflower Rice is also no longer being offered by Chipotle (at least not at any of the locations anywhere close to us). Honestly, though, I’m not nearly as sad about the Cauliflower Rice being gone as I am about the Chorizo.
Panda Express Beyond Chicken
There are so many great vegan options on this list that it’s really hard (and a little depressing) to pick which one I miss the most. The Beyond Orange Chicken that Panda Express tested out back in the fall of 2021 is definitely in the running for the top spot.
It. Was. Incredible.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had anything that more closely resembled what I would eat before I went vegan. I’m convinced that there is no chance that someone would be able to tell that the Beyond Orange Chicken was vegan.
From what we are aware of it also sold very well. I would be shocked if we don’t see this make its way back to Panda Express’ menu sometime soon.
KFC Beyond Chicken
We were lucky enough to be at the original test site for KFC Beyond Chicken here in Georgia and the turnout was absolutely bonkers. The line of cars and people literally wrapped around the building.
We tried the Beyond Chicken again when they tested nationwide and to their credit, it was even better than what we had tried before. I’m a huge fan of KFC’s ‘secret blend of herbs and spices’ and this Beyond Chicken delivered!
Similar to Panda Express, I would be really surprised if we’ve seen the last of Beyond Chicken from KFC.
Dunkin’ Donuts Beyond Sausage
All of the vegan options that I’ve mentioned so far were, in fact, test runs. Each item was announced and marketed as a limited-time only item.
However, the Beyond Sausage at Dunkin’ was a permanent menu item for about a year and then it was removed from the menu. To be fair, the breakfast sandwich had its issues.
By default, the sandwich came with egg, cheese and a steep price tag. To make matters worse, removing the egg and cheese didn’t change the price. So, what you were left with was a very overpriced piece of Beyond Sausage on an English Muffin.
Some found success with ordering the English Muffin and Beyond Sausage separately, but the few times we tried to order it that way we were told we couldn’t do it.
For these reasons I rarely ordered it and I must have not been the only one. I have to imagine if Dunkin’ would come back with a more vegan-friendly breakfast sandwich it would do much, much better.
Long John Silvers
This one might be a little less well-known, but in July 2021 Long John Silver’s became the first big chain to offer plant-based fish.
They did a test run of both Good Catch fish-free fillet and crab-free cakes. I was blown away by how good both of these items were! The crab-free cakes were my favorite (I could have ate a thousand of them), but the fish-free filet was also excellent.
It’s such a perfect fit for Long John Silver’s and an underutilized market (plant-based fish options) that we really hope to see both of these items back on the menu at Long John Silver’s soon.
Hardee’s Beyond Burger
The Beyond Burger at Hardee’s is the most mysterious of all the options. In December of 2019 Hardee’s added a Beyond Burger (and Beyond Sausage) to their menu.
It stayed on the menu for quite some time and then early in 2021 people started noticing it disappearing from the menu at their local Hardee’s. Hardee’s never made a statement, but slowly the Burger kept disappearing across the country.
Why did they pull it or do they have plans on bringing it back anytime soon? No one really knows.
What makes the whole situation even more curious is that Carl’s Jr, which we all know is basically the same chain as Hardee’s, still carries their Beyond Star Burger. Weird, right?
It’s awesome to see some of these big fast food chains expanding their menus to offer more vegan options. Giving people (vegans and especially non-vegans) more plant-based options is a huge step forward.
Having said that, it’s also a bit perplexing that some of these options tasted great, seemed to do really well (many locations sold out), but they haven’t been brought back after their test run.
Here’s to hoping that we see many (if not all!) of these items back on menus soon!