Road Trips Vegan
Road trips are the perfect escape. They can fit into a short or long weekend or be stretched out over a week. Most of my life, until recently, I had driven to the places I visited. Colorado, Niagara falls, New Orleans, DC, NYC all road trips with really spectacular destinations. I’ve also driven to the river 45 minutes away just to watch the birds, and I’ve driven to a small town to have lunch or coffee. Adventure is everywhere if you are flexible enough to look for it.
The beauty of the road trip is that getting there is half the trip, there are countless museums, lookout points, rivers, historical markers and national parks to explore. If you can only take a short trip, I recommend you drive without a destination down a country road and explore the small towns you meet along the way. The world is big and there is plenty we haven’t see in our own backyards or half the state away. If you live in a city drive a couple of hours away and see what you find, I bet there is hiking or camping or a cute little dutch inspired town not too far away. There may even be a huge waterfall, like Great Fall which you can find only an hour out of downtown DC.
I survive most road trips with water, coffee and a good trail mix. If you aren’t going very far packing sandwiches guarantees even if you don’t find vegan food you can have a tea and your sandwich anywhere there is shade. I always pack sandwiches the first day of the trip and any day after that I can start from a house.
Sandwiches – BLTs, PB&J, tomato, hummus and arugula, just to name a few of my favorites
Granola bars – If you have other snacks you usually keep at home, then those, I usually have a few granola bars around. You can find two of my granola bar recipes here.
Oatmeal – the only good part about the hotel is the free oatmeal, well it’s not very good but it does keep you alive. The better places will have chopped nuts or you can add some of your own trail mix.
Trail Mix – if you flew in or it’s a long trip and can’t keep up with homemade granola bars trail mix is an easy grocery store option. Buy nuts, seeds and dried fruit and mix in a big tupperware container.
I’ve been to a lot of vegan and vegetarian restaurants at this point and I’ve decided it might be more efficient to write individualized reviews for each city. It’s a big project but hopefully in early 2019 I can start releasing them. I always suggest you google the cities you are going to be in and read the reviews and menus, happy cow or trip TripAdvisor can help but even yelp will do the job. There are plenty of amazing places to eat if you are willing to look.
If you don’t want to do any work, my years of driving around the country every summer have brought me a small list of favorite vegan havens, these all fall into the fast food or chain restaurant range. My goal is to always find a new local restaurant to try but sometimes you need lunch in the middle of nowhere and there is only fast food.
Burger King – French fries and if you eat milk they have a veggie burger meal too, but the bread isn’t vegan. However you get accidentally vegan with their French Toast Sticks at and Butch Apple Pie. So it’s a breakfast win in the fast food world.
Bruegger’s Bagels – because bagels are vegan but most places only serve cream cheese, not Brueggers they have hummus, mustards and veggies.
The Cheesecake Factory – Believe it or not has a vegan veggie burger, that’s about all but at least it’s something
Denny’s – Skillets, an American tradition just like Denny’s on the weekend. Nearly all their skillets can be had without eggs, the light and fit has the most veggies but pick your poison. Remember in all places when ordering a skillet ask for no butter. For a good dinner Denny’s has always been a savior to me they serve an Amy’s burger that is vegan. It only gets better with accidentally vegan, english muffins, bagels, and french fries.
Chipotle – other than the veggie burrito the Sofrita’s are vegan and made from tofu.
CiCi’s Pizza – if there is one near you their crust and sauce is vegan, just take off the cheese.
IHOP – it’s not a glamorous option but if it’s the only one the grits and fruit plate will pull you through.
Johnny Rockets – A pretty good black bean burger, but I’m not convinced their fries are vegan.
Mellow Mushroom – It’s basically the best pizza chain in the country, they not only have vegan options but gluten free one’s too.
Noodles & Company – Firstly they add tofu to any dish, that’s great but they also have a number of veganizable dishes. Ask your server because she offered a lot and I couldn’t remember them all. There was even vegan bread options.
Olive Garden – Eat all the breadsticks you want, that butter is soy not dairy. You can have a plain pasta with marinara sauce add some steamed broccoli to not be too sad and eat another breadstick. A new plus I hear the the minestrone soup is now vegan too, I haven’t tried it yet so report back. Just no croutons.
Panera Bread – Here like most places there is oatmeal with pecans, it’s not bad. In the afternoon there is lentil Quinoa soup and a Soba noodle broth. The black bean soup is vegan too, but for sandwiches and salads you will have to remove ingredients and play around with to make a vegan one.
Taco Bell – I don’t like it but there is a lot for a vegan here, the beans, rice and salsa are vegan for starters. The tortillas too, so just find the combo of crunchy and soft you are looking for and take off the meat and cheese.
TGI Fridays – Apparently now serve the beyond burger, I haven’t been yet if you go tell me how it is in the comment.
Countless traditional burger joints and local restaurants also offer vegan burgers, baked potatoes, guacamole or salad. If you pull off at any exit that doesn’t have one of the above a quick google will help you find out if you can eat vegan in a restaurant or not. It’s as simple as “what’s vegan at XYZ diner”
Happy travels, may you fill your heart and belly well everywhere you go.