I don’t think it’s a secret that I absolutely love Panera Bread. I’ve always loved the bistro style, the welcoming atmosphere. Back in college, years ago, I’d go there to sip on smoothies and get soup while I studied and wrote the longest essays of my life…
So you bet I had to know if I could still go there after becoming a vegan.
The verdict: I can! Happily so!
Based on all my research (going to Panera once per week for a month and a half) it’s the most vegan friendly “fast food” joint around. We have a ton of options there, not just one or two.
Also, don’t judge me, I went to Panera that much because I’d go grocery shopping and get home late and not want to cook one night a week 😉
Here are some of the things I get from Panera Bread:
- Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich without the feta (I also hold the onions and peppers) on Sourdough.
- Vegan Lentil and Quinoa Broth Bowl
- Soba Noodles with Edamame
- BLACK BEAN SOUP (you need to try this, it’s the best thing on their menu and only comes around for spring and summer) either with or without the bread bowl (it’s over 700 cal. with the bread bowl, but it is really good… I probably won’t get it again, but it was nice to try once)
- Peach and Blueberry Smoothie done with almond milk
I also previously loved the Passion Papaya Green Tea, but I’ve heard some pretty interesting rumors as of late, so I’m staying away from that one… Apparently it’s just this mysterious syrup from a squeeze bottle, poured into tap water. I mean I expected at least some brewed tea, some natural ingredients, but god knows what’s in that syrup.
All in all, I’d give Panera Bread a 9 out of 10 because…
- Vegans have plenty of options for both food and drinks
- Prices could be better, but they’re not the worst
- It’s far healthier than your average fast food run
- Every order is customizable. So say I order an Ancient Grain, Arugula and Chicken salad, I can just have them hold the chicken, add some avocado or pumpkin seeds in there, or both, etc. Suddenly, boom, vegan salad!
- There’s something for every mood and want: breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches, bowls, smoothies, teas, etc.
Rather than feel like they’re catering to everyone else, and just accommodating me with one thing on their menu (passing thought, much?) Panera makes me feel like they treat vegans equally. And that’s progress, my friends!