The Best Vegan Junk Food

By Faran Krentcil, Fact checked by Jessica Ochoa

3 min read

No matter how committed we are to plant-based eating, sometimes we just want Taco Bell. We know—plant-based food is better for the planet, can feed more people, and support more ecosystems. Also though? Crunch Wrap Supreme. 

That’s why we’ve hunted down 8 recipes for vegan fast food alternatives. Make them yourself or get a foodie friend to help you try them out over the weekend. (You can also just get Impossible Chicken Nuggets, because Candice Patton AND AnnaSophia Robb AND Sosie Bacon are all like, “Yes, these are perfect.)

Here’s where to turn if you need vegan KFC ASAP…

VEGAN APPLEBEES
Food blogger Zacchary Bird says it best: “When I die, I hope to be reincarnated as a jalapeno popper so I know what it feels like to be flawless in every way.” Fortunately, no Instagram stars were harmed in the making of this recipe for vegan jalapeno poppers, which use soy cream cheese and panko breadcrumbs for just the right amount of crunchy goodness.

 


VEGAN IN-N-OUT BURGER
It turns out, Animal Style Fries don’t need actual animal protein to be amazing. After visiting Los Angeles, the Berlin vegan blogger Julia Jagdwurst created her own version of the cult classic hangover remedy, swapping vegan cheese for the dairy version and caramelizing her own onions, which is apparently not that hard (?!?!). Plus, Julia’s got the “secret sauce” recipe down, thanks to her clever use of apple cider vinegar.

 

 

VEGAN KFC
If you can’t live without popcorn chicken, guess what? There’s a vegan fix for that. Lisa Le, the genius behind The Viet Vegan, makes hers with regular breadcrumbs, lemon pepper, and an unexpected pinch of grated ginger for just the right amount of spicy, savory perfection.

 


VEGAN KRISPY KREME
The bad news: It’s gonna take 90 minutes total to make these things. The good news: They’ve got the right ratio of soft dough to crackling glaze, and they only require 11 ingredients, most of which you already have in the house. (1 banana? Some sugar? Cool.) 

 


VEGAN McDONALDS
Over at the Edgy Veg, there’s a vegan burger recipe that mimics a classic Big Mac—crave-worthy sauce included—and it takes just 10 minutes to make. (That means you can get this dinner going in less time than it actually takes to get to a McDonald’s, which is pretty impressive.) This recipe suggests a Beyond Burger patty, but you can go with your fave vegan version or even a DIY swap. (Here are ours!) One tip: Do not sleep on the toasted sesame seed bun! 


VEGAN PANDA EXPRESS
Even Kim Kardashian needs Panda Express sometimes, and as “vegan adjacent” citizens of the planet, we do, too. Prashanthi and Nachiket are the vegan couple behind Yummily Yours, and their solution is a cauliflower-based orange “chicken” made with Sriracha, corn starch, soy sauce, garlic, and freshly-squeezed OJ. It’s really a marvel, but if you don’t have the energy to start from scratch, here’s a secret: Trader Joe’s has the Kung Pao “chicken” version, also with cauliflower, in the frozen food section.

 

VEGAN TACO BELL
Guys. Guys. Guys. Nisha at Rainbow Plant Life made a version of the Crunchwrap Supreme that even YouTube says is equal to the original—and everyone hates everything on YouTube! She does it with Tofutti sour cream and a near-origami folding technique of her tortillas. She also makes her own taco meat with lentils, but you can go with Impossible Burger ground “beef” if you want to save some time. Either way: amazing.

 


VEGAN WENDYS

Do you have a blender? Are you capable of getting some ice? Then congratulations, you too can make the perfect dessert: A vegan “Frosty.” Drink alone, or dip your french fries into it for maximum mall-level authenticity.