How to Order Vegan at Panera: A Menu Guide

While we’d prefer to support an all-vegan establishment, often times that’s just not feasible. Luckily, finding plant-based options in chains is getting easier every year. We no longer have to settle for fries or the dreaded iceberg lettuce salad. The food has substance now. The combination bakery-cafe-restaurant, Panera, is one of those places where we can get a satisfying meal that won’t leave you hungry and dreaming of flavors. In this guide, we’ll go over all of Panera’s vegan options and how to hack a custom order.

How to eat vegan at Panera

Ordering vegan at Panera is simple, but it may not be obvious at first glance. Indeed, many menu items can only be made plant-based by removing animal products – customization is king. Usually the only things you need to worry about are chicken, cheese, and salad dressings that contain dairy.

But, vegan-only soups, sandwiches, salads and bowls could be on the way in the near future. The channel has pledged to become “climate positive”, meaning it will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it generates by 2050. This will coincide with a move towards more plant-based food options on the menu. It’s no wonder: research has shown they’re more sustainable than animal products, which are responsible for around 14.5% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In addition to this, Panera has announced that it will switch to circular, reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging as well as renewable electricity for at least 50% of Panera-owned sites. This built on CEO Niren Chaudhary’s announcement in 2020 that the chain was aiming to make its menu 50% plant-based.

Now let’s move on to food. The options below are based on the standard menu, but Panera often releases seasonal menus which may include vegan options. If something sounds herbal (or herbal with a little tweak) but you’re not sure, you can check the channel allergen menuregularly updated.


Vegan bread at Panera

What would Panera be without bread? The chain offers many vegan bread options, including large artisan-style breads to take home and enjoy with a dab of dairy-free butter as well as sandwich bread.

While the Whole Grain White Bread, Tomato and Basil Loaf, and Whole Grain Lahvash Wrap appear to be vegan as they contain no animal allergens, they are all made with honey. But luckily there is no shortage of vegan bread options:

  • Artisanal ciabatta bread
  • Black pepper focaccia
  • Classic sourdough (bread and bread bowl)
  • Rustic Sourdough Bread
  • French baguette
  • Whole Grain Lavash Wrap


Vegan breakfast at Panera

In addition to hearty oatmeal and fresh fruit, the majority of Panera’s bagels are vegan. Unfortunately, there’s no dairy-free butter or cream cheese on the menu (but we’re still hopeful for the future), so order it with avocado or hummus. Unfortunately, the sprouted grain bagel contains honey. Unfortunately, there are no vegan baked goods at the moment, but the Blueberry Bagel might help satisfy the craving for something sweet and substantial.

  • Blueberry bagels
  • All Bagels
  • fruit cup
  • plain bagel
  • Sesame bagels
  • Steel cut oatmeal with strawberries and pecans (made with water or dairy-free milk)


Vegan salad at Panera

While none of Panera’s salads are vegan by default, most of them can be made plant-based with a few minor tweaks. Above all, you need to be careful with chicken and cheese. Pro Tip: Add protein to your salad by asking for hummus or quinoa. You can also add avocado for some healthy and filling fats.

According to the allergen menu, Asian Sesame Salad ingredients “may contain” egg – this is from the wonton strips, which may have traces of egg due to cross-contamination, not due to a deliberate addition to the recipe.

The salads

  • Asian sesame (without chicken)
  • Crisp Asian Citrus Salad (without chicken)
  • Apple Fuji (without chicken or gorgonzola)
  • Strawberry and poppy seed salad (without chicken)

Vegan dressings and sauces

If the default dressing isn’t for you, fear not: all of the condiments below are vegan.

  • Apple Cider BBQ Sauce
  • Asian sesame
  • Greek
  • lemon tahini
  • Poppy seed
  • Spicy mustard
  • green salsa
  • Mandarin Soy Ginger Vinaigrette
  • teriyaki sauce
  • White Balsamic Apple Flavor


Vegan sandwiches at Panera

There are no default vegan sandwiches on the menu, but there is an all-plant option if you make two changes. Get the Mediterranean Veggie without feta and replace the Tomato and Basil Loaf with vegan bread. We recommend the ciabatta. It comes with tangy Peppadew peppers, cucumbers, greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, hummus, salt and pepper. On top of that, feel free to add some sauce from the list above. Lemon tahini dressing and spicy mustard go wonderfully with this.


Vegan soup and bowls at Panera

Panera bowls are basically a leveled salad accompanied by a mixture of quinoa and brown rice. There are no 100% vegan options, but there are two options that are fine if you cut out dairy and meat.

There isn’t much soup at the moment, but the Ten Vegetable Soup has a rainbow of produce: tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, onions, corn, carrots, celery, spinach, poblano peppers, and garlic , as well as sprouted chickpeas. brown rice and red fife, and dried Aleppo peppers. An additional wand on the side is essential to absorb every last drop.

  • Baja Bowl (without feta or Greek yogurt)
  • Mediterranean bowl (without chicken, feta and Greek yogurt)


Vegan drinks and smoothies at Panera

As for drinks, there are plenty of vegan options. If you order your coffee, Americano or cold brew with almond milk. you won’t be slapped with an extra because Panera removed that policy in 2020. (Your move, Starbucks.) For something refreshing, opt for one of their seasonal lemonades or iced teas. For a lighter meal, try smoothies.

  • American
  • Cinnamon Crunch Latte (remove whipped cream and ask for almond milk)
  • Coffee (hot or iced)
  • Cold brew
  • Vanilla Latte (remove whipped cream and ask for almond milk)
  • Hot tea
  • Iced Passion Fruit Papaya Green Tea
  • Seasonal iced teas
  • Passion Green Smoothie
  • Peach and blueberry smoothie with almond milk
  • Agave Lemonade
  • Cranberry Fuji Apple Flavored Energy Lemonade
  • Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
  • Strawberry Mint Flavored Energy Lemonade
  • Energy Lemonade Mango Yuzu Citrus

Vegan side dishes at Panera

Need a little more for your meal? Add a side! Panera offers fruit, fries and bread. We love ordering an extra bag of kettle fries to take home.

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • French baguette
  • Pot cooked potato chips

Looking for more restaurant guides? We have what you need. Check out some of our favorites:
How to Eat Vegan at Olive Garden
How to Order Vegan at Chipotle
How to Eat Vegan at TGI Friday’s

Vote for the 2022 awards for the best vegan ice cream in the United States.


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