Panera Bread can be the perfect place to visit when you have family members or friends with differing tastes and varying hunger levels. You can easily satisfy the picky kiddies, as well as the hangry grown-ups. The meal options are healthier and more wholesome than fast food, with fresh ingredients and more plant-based options than many other restaurant chains. How is it to order vegan at Panera Bread?
Unfortunately, one of the most beloved items at this fast-casual chain of restaurants—the bread—is not all vegan-friendly. Some of the specialty breads include ingredients such as milk, eggs, honey, and/or cheese. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of breads to choose from that are vegan. We appreciate the “Eating Vegan” article on Panera’s website that includes some suitable food suggestions and substitutions that
you can make for a mouthwatering meal.
It’s clear that Panera Bread is trying to create a vegan-friendly environment for its customers. They offer a couple of tempting breakfast options and more than a few fantastic lunch and dinner choices. At the very least, you’ll would be able to order a hearty sandwich or bowl, a fresh green salad, and even a sweet or savory snack on the side.
Panera has also included a green leaf icon on the bottom left-hand corner of online menu items as an indication that they’re vegan. Though helpful, the icons are sometimes inconsistent with the vegan items on Panera’s “Eating Vegan” food list. Be cautious when ordering, and if you’re unsure, you can easily call and ask an employee or manager. The way in which the food is prepared might differ from one location to another.
Vegan Options at Panera Bread
Vegan Breakfast Options:
- Apple, banana or fruit cup
- Better than Avocado Toast (see substitution ideas below)
- Peach & Blueberry Smoothie (with almond milk)
- Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries & Pecans (with almond milk)
- Toasted Bagel with strawberry spread
- Mediterranean Veggie (no feta)
- Baja Grain Bowl (no yogurt or feta, ask for extra avocado)
- Mediterranean Grain Bowl (no feta or yogurt, ask for extra avocado & veggies)
- Asian Sesame (no chicken or wontons)
- Fuji Apple (no chicken or gorgonzola)
- Greek (no feta or dressing)
- Modern Greek with Quinoa (no feta or dressing)
- Seasonal Greens
- Spicy Thai (no chicken or wontons)
- Strawberry Poppyseed (no chicken)
- Ten Vegetable
Vegan Sides & Snacks:
- Fruit Cup
- French Baguette
- Artisan Ciabatta
- Classic Sourdough (including bowl)
- Country Rustic Sourdough
- Black Pepper Focaccia
- French Baguette
- Sea Salt Focaccia
- Whole Grain Sourdough
- Strawberry Fruit Spread
- Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
- Green Passion Papaya
- Peach & Blueberry with Almond Milk
Vegan Espresso Bar:
- You may be able to order a cappuccino, latte, or mocha if you specifically ask for no whipped cream, caramel drizzle, or honey. These drinks can be made with almond milk if requested. It’s unclear whether the chocolate syrup is vegan friendly. Some brands are vegan, but some are not. Ask an employee or manager if you can look at the syrup ingredients to confirm.
- Agave Lemonade
- Bottled Water
- Fountain Sodas
- Freshly Brewed Tea (iced or hot, including herbal)
- Hot Coffee (almond milk options)
- Passion Papaya Green Tea
- San Pellegrino Sparkling Water (in bottle or cans)
- Spindrift Sparkling Water
- Design your own amazing ALT by ordering the Kids’ Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT with no bacon, turkey, or mayo and ask for extra avocado, lettuce, and tomato.
- Build a “Better than Avocado Toast” breakfast by asking for a toasted bagel with avocado on the side. Slather that savory goodness on top and season with some sea salt and black pepper.
- Create your own “Seasonal Crunch” sandwich by ordering a french baguette (toasted, if possible), a seasonal greens salad, a side of awesome avocado, and a bag of chips. Spread the avocado on the bottom half of the bread, add as many greens as you can on top and sprinkle with a vegan-friendly dressing or salt & pepper.
Although there are many more options for vegans at Panera Bread than you may have imagined, the website isn’t as helpful as you might hope. They have plenty of full-color photos and a pdf and small pop-up box for nutritional information on each item, but there is no list of specific ingredient information for any of the food options on their menu. Unless you are able to ask for clarification or confirmation, you might want to steer clear of those menu items.
Helpful Hints When Ordering at Panera Bread
- Browse the restaurant’s website before ordering.
- Look carefully at the menu and search for plant-based options (or look for the green leaf in the bottom left corner of the picture)
- Call the restaurant and ask if they can tell you what their vegan options are for the day.
Ordering online may be optimal. For most of the items, you can press the “customize” button on the bottom center of the food photo and choose which options you wish. You can also add any special instructions you have – such as “toasted” or “no dressing”.
Add the seasonal greens salad to any other vegan item for a more satisfying supper.
Bring a nifty nut butter packet with you, just in case you want to buy a bagel and add this tasty topping.
Consider carrying a sealed vinaigrette packet with you (Newman’s Own has a number of vegan options) for extra salad satisfaction!
How to Order at Other Chains
Have you found any other options to be veganizable? Did you find something amazing that we missed? Let us know by tagging #worldofvegan and sharing your favorite vegan-at-Panera-Bread creations with all of us!
Disclaimer: At the time of this article, the foods mentioned above are vegan. Since restaurants constantly update their menus and add or take away items, please keep this in mind when ordering your food. There may be new items that are vegan and not listed or items listed here as vegan, which are no longer vegan. Take care to double-check.