The Best Chain Restaurants to Check Out in Veganuary 2018

…including their special Veganuary offers!

  1. All Bar One

Great news! All Bar One is launching a brand new Veganuary menu in its 56 restaurants across England and Scotland, which will be available only from 2 Jan to 28 Feb. Miss it and you will certainly miss out. The small plates are: Crushed Avocado & Tomato Bruschetta; Padron Peppers; Chilli Non Carne Tacos and – the ones we are all raving about since we got a little preview taster of them – the mushroom tempura.

For the main plates, there is a Rainbow Wrap (beetroot hummus, artichoke and avocado); a burger in a grain bun; a Superfood Quinoa Salad (think kale, pomegranate, pineapple and seeds); a Miso Rice Bowl, seasoned with sriracha and soy; Greens & Grains; a Supergreen Laksa (vermicelli noodles in a spiced coconut sauce); and a Lentil & Cashew Dahl. There is also a choice of dessert: raspberry sorbet or coconut & vanilla rice pudding with a blueberry compote.

Vegan wines and soft drinks are available, too, so book your table now!

All Bar One Vegan Options

Special Veganuary offer! Two courses for £10.50 or three for £13.50

  1. Le Pain Quotidien

This European boulangerie chain with restaurants worldwide has a surprising range of vegan offerings. Breakfasters in both the UK and US will enjoy the Organic Baker’s Basket, blueberry muffins and Avocado Toast, and there are some tasty breakfast bowls to choose from, too. Those coming later in the day will find a Lentil & Avocado Salad and a Chilli. In the UK, there is also a Lebanese Mezze, Pot au Fer and the Ménage a Trois shared platter, while those in the US may find Quinoa Taboulé, Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai and a savoury Crispy Quinoa Cake.

Many more items can be made vegan if you just ask, and there are seasonal items and soups that may be vegan too – all clearly labelled on the menu. There is great news for those of us who still press our noses against the windows of Patisseries and dream – the Raw Nut Cakes (both the passion fruit & beetroot and salted caramel flavours) and the Cocoa & Pear Cake are vegan.

  1. Zizzi

When we asked Veganuary participants back in the summer which was their favourite chain restaurant, Zizzi won hands down. It had a lot to do with them being the first to offer the amazing dairy-free ‘mozzarella’ but may also have been down to the garlic bread made with smoked garlic oil. There is a choice of vegan pizzas on the menu or you can create your own, and there is also Spaghetti Pomodoro, the fresh and tangy Green Goddess Salad, and the rich and satisfying lentil ragu.

For vegans, the absolute worst thing is being handed a dessert menu and knowing that your destiny lies with fruit salad. Not at Zizzi. They offer a Vegan Dessert Calzone filled with fruits, honeycomb (no honey!) and a Sticky Chocolate Praline Torte, both served with a coconut & chocolate ripple gelato. No wonder vegans love Zizzi so much.

New! In January, Zizzi is launching the new Arcobaleno (‘rainbow’) pizza. It’s as beautiful a pizza as you could ever wish to see!

Zizzi vegan rainbow pizza

Special Veganuary offer: In January (Sun – Thurs, 2nd-31st) there is a 2-4-1 offer on vegan main meals, find it HERE.

  1. Las Iguanas

This South American chain of restaurants has its own vegetarian and vegan menu so be sure to request it when you arrive. Or wear your VEGAN T-shirt and they’ll probably guess. You’ll find a really good range of vegan choices from the chips & dips or guacamole appetisers, to the Coconut Squash Tacos and the Fiesta Ensalada. Moving nicely into the main event, choose from the palm heart and coconut curry, the mushroom fajitas, the chilli made with sweet potato and butternut squash or the flavourful salad of beetroot, avocado and cranberries. They are all delicious.

And there are desserts! A refreshing mango sorbet or the beautifully-presented Tembleque – a creamy set coconut pudding with mixed berries and mango purée.

Las Iguanas 2for1

Special Veganuary offer: a 2-4-1 on all vegan mains throughout January!

  1. Wagamama

Wagamama has always been pretty good for vegans but in the past you had to know what to ask for. Now, they have created their first vegetarian and vegan menu. And. It. Is. Amazing. Six beautiful, flavour-packed main meals, four sides and two refreshing desserts. The dumplings (yasai gyoza) remain a firm favourite, but you can also kick off your meal with salted edamame, garlicky wok-fried tenderstem broccoli and bok choy or a fresh raw salad with pickled mooli and a soy dressing. For the main event, there are ramen, rice noodles in a spicy soup, udon noodles with veggies and pickled ginger, and a warm chilli salad. But the thing that vegans can’t help talking about is the Pad Thai. For dessert, there is a choice of sorbet – pink guava & passion fruit or lemongrass & lime. Even the vegan beers and wines are labelled, making Wagamama a fantastic – and fantastically-easy – place to eat.

Watch this space … we are told there may be some more news early in Veganuary!

  1. Pret

Pret is a real game-changing restaurant and a popular choice at Veganuary HQ. There are now three exclusively Veggie Prets in London and this year the company trialled veggie-only fridges to see whether this would boost or hinder sales of meat-free options. (It hindered, and so those fridges have gone.) The sandwiches are made fresh in Pret throughout the day so not all items will be available in all stores at all times but there are some truly delicious baguettes, wraps and flat breads available including Avocado & Chipotle Chickpeas, Butternut Squash Dhansak, and Avo, Olives & Toms. All their vegetarian soups are also vegan, and their Veggie Pots are delicious. Try the ever-popular Mac & Greens and the Beans & Avocado Power Pot.

Early risers will enjoy the hearty coconut porridge or perhaps the Acai & Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl. Pret doesn’t forget the sweet stuff – there is a choice of chocolate or mango chia pots, a Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Pot and a vegan brownie with gooey salted caramel. Heaven.

  1. Ask Italian

Here is another Italian restaurant flying the flag for vegans! Aside from the lovely olive, bread and piccante nuts to nibble on, there are three starters – a new Tuscan Bean Soup, dough balls and bruschetta. You can ask for three toppings for your pizza and they offer a dairy-free mozzarella to go on top.

There are also four delicious pastas to choose from: Spaghetti Al Pomodoro; fettucine with courgettes and chilli, topped with olive tapenade; aubergine fettucine; and a new Spaghetti Bolognese (a mixed vegetable and lentil ragu). There are some lovely sides too, including a Mixed Grain Salad and Roast Charlotte Potatoes. They even do a kids’ starter, pasta and pizza making it a great family choice.

Yes, they do desserts! A choice of sorbet flavours or the indulgent Blood Orange & Chocolate Tart. Great work Ask Italian!

Check out their full vegan menu here!

  1. Handmade Burger Company

This is another popular choice due to HBC’s six vegan burgers (yes, six!) and the choice of chips, seasoned chips and sweet potato chips. These guys know how to keep a vegan happy! The burgers are Cajun Vegetable & Bean; Veg-Mex; Falafel; Sweet Potato & Bean; Thai Vegetable and the Veggie Stack (order it without the cheese). All are served on fresh sourdough buns.

They also serve soya milkshakes in vanilla, chocolate, banana, strawberry and peanut butter flavours.

Handmade Burger Co vegan mains

Special Veganuary offer: 2 for 1 on all vegan mains from 1-31 January 2018

  1. Carluccio’s

The range at Carluccio’s has expanded and if you haven’t been for a while, you’ll be in for a treat. Snack on focaccia and olives, or order bruschetta with plum tomatoes and basil, crostini with mushrooms and kale, or a Verdure Board to share that has with loads of delicious goodies, including caponata, mint & garlic marinated green beans, poponcini peppers and marinated artichokes.

There are two new vegan pasta dishes – Spaghetti con Polpette di Pane (tomatoes, capers, olives and basil with ‘balls of bread’ – intriguing!) or Orecchiette al Cavolfiore (a cauliflower sauce, with sautéed kale, chilli and capers). If you’d rather steer away from pasta, try the new Zucca con Verdure Arrostite – roasted butternut squash with roasted veg and pine nuts and a herb-garlic breadcrumb topping.

There are vegetable side dishes too and a choice of sorbets for dessert – melon, passionfruit and lemon.

  1. YO! Sushi

What a great place to try a wide range of delicious vegan dishes! Choose from tofu or pumpkin katsu, vegetable dumplings (gyoza) with a dipping sauce, vegetable tempura, miso dumpling ramen, stir fried noodles and nori rolls. Already a fantastic haul but …

News just in … there are three new dishes ready for you to try: Green Gyoza (spinach dumplings); Agedashi Tofu (a hot tofu dish with daikon, ginger, spring onion and topped with Ponzu sauce); and crispy Spicy Cauliflower. Beautiful!

Carluccios vegan option

Special new year offer: from 1-19 January, a selection of our favourite vegan dishes are just £2.80. (Participating stores only.)

  1. Loungers

Loungers is a great option for brunch because a) there are restaurants in more than 100 locations in England and Wales and b) they do a full vegan breakfast (which includes falafels and hash browns) and also sweet potato waffles with avocado, lime and coriander. You might choose instead the three tapas dishes of Patatas Bravas, Hummus, and Avocado, Tomato & Chilli Dip or head straight for the mains, where falafel appear in a variety of disguises – a burger, a salad and in ciabatta. There is also the Goan Vegetable Curry served with basmati rice, or the Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Rice Bowl.

Rather wonderfully, there is a rich Dark Chocolate and Ginger Torte for dessert or a piece of Fruity Flapjack which is perfect with a cuppa.

Loungers plant-based
  1. JD Wetherspoon

It’s most certainly a sign of the changing times when Wetherspoon’s has a dedicated vegan menu. It’s not huge but with almost 1,000 pubs across the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, it’s wonderful to know that a vegan meal is never far away. It starts with a breakfast, which can be cooked (tomatoes, mushrooms, beans and hash browns) or a bagel or fruit. As a main meal, there is a choice of Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach Curry, Quinoa Salad, Five Bean Chilli or Teriyaki Noodles, and there are side dishes of samosas, onion bhajis, vegetables and – of course – chips. Nachos can be ordered without cheese and sour cream, to make beer-time snacking a pleasure.

  1. Bella Italia

You’ll find an ever-expanding range of vegan options at Bella Italia, from soups and bruschetta as a starter to some rich and satisfying main meals. True, the pizzas do not yet come with vegan cheese, nor is there a dessert, but the Lenticchie (lentil and mushroom ragu with spaghetti) is hearty and delicious and the new mushroom risotto is well worth trying. Also new is the Verde Burger made with cannelini beans and Italian herbs. With salads and sides, you’ll be well fed here.

New! For vegans who may have over-indulged at Christmas, Bella Italia is launching Less is Amore – a lower calorie menu with three vegan choices: Spiralised Vegetable Pomodoro, Spiralised Vegetable Lenticchie and Aubergine Parmigiana. I have pictures of these

Spiralised Vegetable Lenticchie and Aubergine Parmigiana
  1. Turtle Bay

With 41 restaurants across England and Wales, this Caribbean restaurant has a lovely range to offer the hungry vegan. Start with Trini Doubles (puffed-up flatbreads with curried chickpeas and chutney) or Sweetcorn Fritters, made with scotch bonnet peppers and Indian hot sauce. Then perhaps choose one of the One Pot meals – Ital Rundown (beans and veg in a coconut sauce) or the sweet potato and aubergine curry, both served with rice and roti. There are also fries and sweet plantain and Caribbean slaw and various salads.

Well worth a visit.

Turtle Bay vegan meal
  1. Pizza Express

Vegans seem to really love pizza, especially when there is a dairy-free cheese on offer, so Pizza Express remains a firm favourite. They have a new vegan Giardinera pizza or you can create your own and ask for the vegan mozzarella cheese instead of the dairy cheese. The olives and roasted tomatoes are already vegan, and the bruschetta and dough balls can be made to be vegan if you ask.

Disappointingly, their Coconut Delight dessert seems to have disappeared from the menu.

  1. Pizza Hut

After trialling vegan cheese in select stores, the company has now made it available across the UK so you can choose a veggie pizza – or create your own – and ask for the Violife vegan cheese. (Sadly, the cheese is not yet available in the US but keep asking and it soon will be!)

The salad bar is well stocked with all the usual items, but sprinkle on those bacon bits because they are vegan, too, and choose the Low Fat French Dressing.

  1. La Tasca

New for Veganuary! From January, La Tasca will be launching a vegan set menu at its eight locations across England. This Spanish tapas restaurant has some super-tasty offerings, starting with a choice of fresh breads and Gordal olives, and three starters: chargrilled tenderstem broccoli with garlic and chilli dressing; warm Catalan-style roasted vegetables; and a beautiful salad with roasted beetroot and chicory.

There is a choice of two mains – a paella which is delicious and beautifully-presented and more than big enough to satisfy, and a rich White Bean & Vegetable Stew.

You’ll find a choice of sorbets to round off your meal, or a coconut rice pudding.

  1. Aubaine

Currently only in London and Dubai, this French restaurant chain is launching a special Veganuary menu and it’s looking pretty good! To start, choose between the Beetroot & Green Apple Tartare and the Roasted Cauliflower with pine puts and pomegranate. There are three vegan mains – a Portobello & Black Bean Burger, a Butternut Squash Risotto and the one we hoped to see – Mushroom Bourguignon which is served with mashed potato and carrot bacon. Dessert looks pretty fancy with a choice of Polenta & Poached Plum Cake and Organic Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie, served with a sorbet. If you’re not in London or Dubai, you might want to book your trip now.

  1. Itsu

This Asian-inspired restaurant chain has outlets all across London (you can’t miss them!) and one each in Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge. They stock four flavour-packed salads including Greens & Beans (miso-dressed tofu, noodles, tenderstem broccoli and red ginger) and Humble Warrior (avocado, quinoa falafel, shredded leeks and sushi rice).

There are six sushi dishes – Veg & Seeds Dragon Rolls; Veggie Club Rolls; Avo Baby Rolls; The Veggie Box; the Sushi Salad; and Veggie Saucy Maki. And six hot meals – Detox Miso Soup; Miso Classic Soup; Veggie Gyozas; Quinoa Falafel & Veg Rice Bowl; Veggie Gyoza Noodles and the new Vegetable Fusion Gyoza.

There are sides of edamame, tenderstem broccoli with satay sauce and khobez bread, and two sweet treats (Coconut Collaborative Little Choc Pots and a chocolate-coated coconut bar).

  1. Toby Carvery

Yes, we know, the clue is in the name but even carveries know it’s wise to put on vegan options. You will have to skip the starter but there are three main meals to choose from: Portabello Mushroom Bullseye Tart, Grilled Aubergine Stack with a tomato sauce and topped with a vegan white sauce, and Root Vegetable Roast under an oat & cranberry crumb. Vegans should ask for the vegetables without the glaze (who needs their veg polished up anyway?) instead of eating those on the carvery deck. But the good news is that there is a vegan Chocolate & Cherry Torte for dessert – just ask for it without cream or ice cream.

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Veganuary is the world's largest vegan movement, inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year.