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First of all, What is Panda Express?
Panda Express is a popular American fast-food restaurant that mainly offers Americanized Chinese cousins. It was founded in 1983, and now the restaurant chain has over 2.200 stores nationwide. The Chinese-styled chain is mostly famous for its spicy chicken dishes, but it doesn’t mean they do not offer anything plant-based.
So, does Panda Express have vegan options at all?
Let’s be honest; they used to be extremely bad for vegans, with only their vegan rice, but now they have a few Panda Express vegan options, including multiple entrees, delicious sides, and rice.
This is largely thanks to PETA; while many vegans aren’t a fan of them, they do good sometimes, and in this case, they definitely did well — thanks to a petition they started and shared everywhere they pressured them into a complete menu revamp that included adding tons of Panda Express vegan options and removing unnecessary ingredients like chicken stock or butter to their vegetable dishes.
The Asian-styled restaurant chain doesn’t do such nonsense, so their vegetable dishes are largely vegan-friendly. Unfortunately, Panda Express stopped having multiple vegan-friendly vegetable entrees at all locations, so that some locations won’t have things like Eggplant Tofu. If you aren’t sure, going to Pei Wei is safer, which always seems to have vegan-friendly options.
Let’s see Panda Express Vegan Menu!
- Vegetable Spring Roll (Not all locations)
That’s the only Panda Express Vegan “Appetizer” — personally I see spring rolls more as a side dish than an appetizer, but hey, they call it an appetizer, so I suppose it’s an appetizer at Panda Express.
It’s cabbage, celery, carrots, green onions, and Chinese noodles together in a crispy wonton wrapper. Although, celery may be substituted with other non-animal products like green beans, mushrooms, onions, and tofu at some locations.
- Eggplant Tofu (Not all locations)
- Vegetable Chow-Mein (Not all locations)
- Vegan Beyond-Meat Orange Chicken
Generally, at Panda Express, you’ll pick one of the above as a “double-portion” and 2 sides to go with it, so keep this in mind — you can also order super greens or chowmein as a side-dish rather than an entree; it’ll just be a smaller portion if you select it as your side-dish to, say, the eggplant tofu.
Unfortunately not available at all locations anymore. According to the restaurant’s official site, It contains lightly browned tofu, eggplant, and red bell peppers tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. While It doesn’t contain any animal ingredients, they use the same fryer so the risk for cross-contamination is pretty high.
Beyond Original Orange Chicken
The Original Orange Chicken we know and love, but made with Beyond Meat’s plant-based protein. It was launched one year ago as a test. The results speak for themselves; It’s still on the menu! However, If the cross-contamination is a no-go, then the plant-based orange chicken is as well.
Stir-fried wheat noodles with various vegetables could be a great plant-based alternative for brown or white steamed rice. Luckily, the fast-food chain doesn’t use chicken broth to make it any more like it used to.
Vegan Side Options at Panda Express:
- Brown Rice (steamed)
- White Rice (steamed)
- Vegetable Chow-Mein (not all locations)
- Super-Greens (broccoli/kale mix)
You can’t order spring rolls as a side dish at Panda Express, or at least they’re not supposed to allow it — although it doesn’t hurt to ask if you want them and don’t want to order them as an appetizer. Don’t shy away from the super-greens here, they’re not so bad, and when you get it with a vegan-friendly sauce (mentioned below) they actually become quite tasty while remaining relatively healthy.
It isn’t the most delicious meal; in another hand, it is quite healthy and probably vegan everywhere, according to the Panda Express allergen guide. However, better if you tell them to make it certainly dairy-free. What’s in Panda Express super greens? Kale, Broccoli, and cabbages all together in a bowl.
There is no Asian-style restaurant without plain rice. Luckily, they do not use butter to fry the rice.
There was a time when the restaurant chain used chicken broth to cook the pasta, but fortunately, those days were gone. So, it is totally vegan, according to Panda’s allergen guide.
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Sweet & Sour Sauce
- Chili Sauce
- Plum Sauce
- Potsticker (dumpling) Sauce
- Hot Mustard
- Soy Sauce
All of the above sauces are vegan-friendly at the restaurant chain — personally, we’d recommend the plum sauce if you just want a mild flavor enhancer, say to cover up some kale flavor in the super-greens, the Chili sauce if you want to spice up your rice or chow mein, and the others if you just really love Teriyaki or Sweet & Sour Sauce. But they are all really tasty, so it really depends on your preference.
- Fortune Cookie
- Sweet Tea’s/Drinks
You may be wondering, are fortune cookies vegan? While many Chinese buffets have ones that are made with eggs, the Fortune cookies at Panda Express are 100% Vegan-friendly and completely free. Yep, you heard it right, plus they are pretty tasty as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any further questions other than those below, free feel to contact us!
Is Panda Express chow mein vegan?
Yes, Panda Express Chow Mein is considered vegan since this side does not contain animal-based derivatives. However, cross-contamination can be a problem since the woks are only washed but not dedicated to plant-based food.
Does Panda Express have vegan orange chicken
Yes, They do! They announced the signature meal with Beyond Meat in September.
Where to get Panda Express Vegan Orange Chicken?
Everywhere! It is available nationwide, according to Panda.
Does Panda Express have vegan options?
Panda Express has several vegan options including multiple entrees like the Eggplant Tofu, Vegetable Chow-Mein, Super Greens, and delicious sides, and of course rice (brown and white). To be honest, the Asian-styled restaurant is one of the best places to visit as a vegan.
Are Panda Express fortune cookies vegan?
Yes, Panda Express Fortune Cookies are vegan, because they do not contain any animal-based derivatives. Usually, fortune cookies do contain dairy, but not Panda’s. Cross-contamination can be a problem, though.
Are Panda Express spring rolls vegan?
Yes, Panda Express Spring Rolls are vegan. They contain vegetables and no animal-based derivatives.
Is Panda Express teriyaki sauce vegan?
Yes, The Teriyaki Sauce at Panda Express is considered vegan. It does not contain any animal products.
Does Panda Express have vegan food?
Certainly, It does! While there isn’t too much of it, they are pretty decent.