Panda Express: 7 of the Best Vegan Options

With over 2000 locations in America, it's hard to avoid Panda Express. Why would you want to, some may ask. Anyone who's been vegan for a little while will be very familiar with how disappointing it feels when you can't eat anything but the salad at a restaurant. 

Often we end up eating at the same place every week or avoiding eating out at all. We've put together this article so you know where you can eat. We've done all the research and taste testing so you don't have to. 

So can vegans eat at Panda Express?

Well, Panda Express has gone on the record saying that they cannot guarantee that any of their food is 100% vegan. This is due to their kitchen set up, which often leads to cross-contamination. This is pretty common in chain restaurants. 

So, if you're vegan because of lactose allergies then you should avoid Panda Express. However, if you are comfortable eating in a restaurant that also serves meat then there are a few options for you. 

Warning - Panda Express doesn't have many exciting vegan options.   

#7 - The Drinks

The good news in this category is that Panda Express doesn't offer any in-house specials when it comes to drinks. 

Most of their options are big brand sodas, which are all vegan. 

  • Coke (regular, diet, cherry, zero) 
  • Sprite (regular, zero)
  • Fanta (regular, fruit punch, lemon)

The highlights of their drinks menu are the flavored teas. All of which are vegan.  

  • Black Tea
  • Lemon Green Tea
  • Passion Fruit Mango Black Tea
  • Fuze Lemon Black Tea
  • Fuze Raspberry Tea
  • Glaceau Vitamin Water Squeezed Zero
  • Gold Peak Premium Unsweetened Tea

#6 - The Sauces

Traditional Chinese sauces often contain multiple types of animal products and byproducts. Surprisingly, Panda Express offers a range of vegan sauces. This was quite an unexpected find. 

These are the vegan sauce options at Panda Express: 

  • Chili Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • Potsticker Sauce
  • Hot Mustard
  • Plum Sauce

#5 - The Super Greens

We'll be the first to admit that this is not the most exciting vegan option ever. 

But the Super Greens side salad is delicious. This salad is made up of steamed broccoli, kale, and cabbage. It's fresh, it's filling, but it is a little dull. However, it's also cheap and is a great way to bulk out your meal. 

#4 - The Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls are one of the most iconic dishes in Chinese Cuisine. The good news for you is that you don't have to miss out on them at Panda Express. 

The Vegetable Spring Rolls are in fact vegan. They are also delicious, and make a great pairing with Panda Express's vegan sauce range (see #6 for the full list). 

#3 - The Fortune Cookies

The silver lining of Panda Express's meager vegan options is that there is one tradition you won't have to miss out on. 

Yes, that's right, the fortune cookies at Panda Express are vegan. Fingers crossed they predicted an expanded vegan menu. 

#2 - The Chow Mein

Another iconic dish in Chinese cuisine is Chow Mein. This particular dish is one of the most popular and celebrated dishes offered by Panda Express. 

In 2019 Panda Express changed the recipe for their Chow Mein. They replaced the chicken broth with vegetable stock and now the dish is vegan. You will need to make sure you are getting it made with rice noodles and not egg noodles. 

Whilst this isn't the blandest option on the menu, it's still pretty dull as far as Panda Express meals are concerned. We'd love to see Panda Express expand their vegan range. 

#1 - Eggplant Tofu

We have now reached the most exciting vegan option on the menu. The EggPlant Tofu side. It is frustrating that Panda Express doesn't offer a single vegan main. However, the Eggplant Tofu does get pretty close to this. 

The dish consists of fluffy, steamed brown rice topped with red pepper, tofu, and eggplant in a sweet and sour sauce. 

The rice helps to make this a very filling option. With some Spring Rolls and a Super Greens side salad, it is possible to make a delicious vegan meal with all the traditional flavors of Chinese cuisine. 

Bonus

The steamed white rice, the steamed brown rice, and the Chow Fun are all vegan too! 

Cassie Marshall
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