9 Things to Ask Your Waiter If You’re Vegetarian or Vegan
Heading out to a restaurant can be tough for vegetarians and vegans. Here's how to make sure your meal is meat- and animal-product free.
I’m a Vegetarian/Vegan, What Do You Recommend?
A good opening question, this both alerts your server to your dietary restrictions and gives her the chance to list some of the most popular (and safe!) menu items. Find the best chain restaurants for vegetarians.
Is This Salad Dressing Vegetarian/Vegan?
Salads are generally a great choice for vegetarians, even at meat-heavy places like a steakhouse. Always check on the dressing, though. Caesar salad often has anchovies and eggs, for example, while creamy dressings may contain bacon bits and dairy.
What Kind of Broth Is This Soup Made With?
So many classic soup recipes are vegetable-based. Sadly, if they’re based on chicken or beef broth, they’re no longer safe. Make sure to check.
What Kind of Cheese Is on This Dish?
If you’re vegan, all cheese is off-limits (except these vegan cheese brands). But vegetarians may want to avoid cheeses made with rennet, an animal product. Parmesan, blue cheese, Romano, Gorgonzola and gruyere commonly contain rennet.
Do You Have an Ingredient List?
Many large restaurant chains, both fast food and upscale options, can provide complete nutrition facts for every single item on the menu—including ingredient lists. If the server or cashier doesn’t seem knowledgeable, ask if you can see the list. Check out the most popular vegetarian fast food dishes, too!
Can I Swap Out the Side Dish?
From rice pilaf made with chicken broth to a bacon-filled potato salad, side dishes that aren’t veg-friendly should be easy to swap out. If nothing else, ask for a simple oil-and-vinegar salad or roasted veggies.
Do You Allow Substitutions?
Having trouble finding a dish that’s already vegetarian? Ask about substitutions. While most restaurants can’t remake a sauce or soup, they might be able to make a simpler switch. For example: holding the meat and replacing it with roasted vegetables. Check out these vegetarian substitutes everyone needs to know.