Jimmy John’s is owned by the same company as Sonic Drive-In, Arby’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Despite the mediocre range of vegan options available at Sonic, Jimmy John’s has no actual vegan meal. You can create your own meal from sides and toppings though!
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Jimmy John’s does not offer any meat or cheese substitutes and your sandwich can only be filled with vegetables. This is because as a company, they specialize in delivering very meaty sandwiches and vegetarian options appear to be a bit of an afterthought.
You can order 3 different varieties of chips at Jimmy John’s. These are the regular Jimmy chips, thinny chips, Jalapeno Jimmy chips, and the BBQ Jimmy chips.
Jimmy John’s only has one vegetarian sandwich option, which luckily can be made vegan. This is called the #6 Original Veggie. Simply request the sandwich without the Provolone cheese and mayonnaise. This leaves you with a slightly bland sandwich consisting just of avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts.
There are ways to create your own sandwich combining some of the breads, vegetables, and sauces below.
You can also request the #6 Original Veggie as an unwich. This means that instead of coming in bread, it is wrapped in lettuce leaves to hold the internal components together. If you are gluten intolerant, or celiac, this may be a good option for you. Otherwise, we don’t really recommend it.
The French bread and the thick-sliced wheat bread are both considered to be vegan at Jimmy John’s. Your local branch may not certify these breads as vegan. This is because the factory where the bread is processed also tends to handle milk and egg-containing products. This means that there is a slight risk of cross-contamination, however, most vegans will be happy to eat this.
Additionally, on the allergen information guide published by Jimmy John’s there is no milk or egg allergen listed in either of these bread types.
The 9-Grain bread has some confusion concerning the ingredients. Some online sources state it contains honey while others refer to it as vegan. We would advise sticking to the 2 breads listed above for full certainty. Of course, if you are unsure we suggest asking staff in your local Jimmy John’s for a rundown of the ingredients.
Vegetables and toppings
The vegetables available at Jimmy John’s are lettuce, celery, onion, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and pickles. The alfalfa sprouts, Jimmy peppers, and the oregano-basil topping are also vegan.
Sauces and spreads
The avocado spread, Jimmy mustard, yellow mustard, Italian vinaigrette, and grey Poupon are all vegan too.
The avocado spread is simply made of avocados and sea salt. Grey Poupon is a type of whole-grain mustard.
You can also order a dish of oil and vinegar to dip your French bread into as an appetizer.
At Jimmy John’s there are a few drinks that you can order while sticking to a vegan diet. These are coke, diet coke, sprite, Dr. Pepper, and Dasani water.
What would our order be?
We would go for the French bread with some avocado spread. Add in some lettuce, onion, and peppers. Top with some BBQ Jimmy chips for crunch and drizzle on some Italian vinaigrette to finish off.
If you’re skeptical about adding chips to your sandwich, it’s worth a try. It may sound strange but we promise it’s life-changing. When your options are limited you need to get creative, so what have you got to lose? Make sure to press the bread down a little before eating.
About the founder
Many vegans may be reluctant to eat at Jimmy John’s as the founder, James John Liautaud used to hunt large game animals. He has been open about his hunting past, having hunted African elephants and Delta leopard for sport. Online there are even pictures of him posing with the animals' corpses.
He no longer hunts for sport, only hunting for meat since. Additionally, he is no longer the owner of the restaurant chain and has passed ownership to Inspire Brands. He has also resigned from his position as chairman and is now just an advisor to the board.
What are some better fast food options to try?
Del Taco now offers a taco made with plant-based Beyond meat. At P. F. Chang’s you can replace the meat with tofu in most of their dishes.
Bruegger’s Bagels has many vegetarian sandwiches which can be made suitable for vegans by removing the dressing and cheese.
Cheeburger Cheeburger has a wrap, salad, and sandwich based around portobello mushrooms that are grilled. These are all suitable for vegans.
Denny’s serves a vegan burger and lots of vegetable-based sandwiches that can be customized to make them vegan. There are many other vegan options too including breakfast items!
If you are in the Bay Area, Ike’s Sandwiches has many vegan meat substitutes including turkey slices, meatballs, chicken, and vegan cheese. They even have a vegan version of their classic Dirty Secret sandwich sauce.
Manhattan Bagel has an almost entirely vegan menu, with the exception of a few items. The Vegetable Garden and Manhattan Grille sandwiches can also be made vegan if you remove the cheese and spreads.
Subway is also a good option for vegan sandwiches. They now make a Beyond Meat meatball marinara sub if that was a favorite before you turned vegan. You can also eat a Veggie Delite, provided the cheese and mayo are removed.