Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar invites Americans everywhere to sit down with their families for an affordable meal and late-night appetizers. And let’s not forget the unbelievably budget-friendly cocktail menu. But can vegans partake in the fun at Applebee’s? In short, yes, but it takes some negotiating. This neighborhood grill has a long way to go until its menu can be classified as vegan-friendly, but plant-based diners can order a fulfilling meal to go with their one-dollar margarita.
American most infamous fast-casual chain is well-aware of its limited vegan and vegetarian options. Applebee’s offers its customers a full guide to its vegetarian and vegan options, providing tips and tricks on how to optimize your plant-based meal. Despite its slim vegan offerings, there’s a secret to ordering your plant-based dinner at Applebee’s, and we are here to help.
Take note that the menu at every Applebee’s is slightly different, but no matter where you are, the fast-casual chain will have a few plant-based options. Currently, Applebee’s operates about 1,700 storefronts across 44 states, and with new partnerships and menu updates, it is getting easier for customers to order vegan. Here’s how to order vegan at Applebee’s.
Applebee’s Impossible Burger
This March, Applebee’s revealed a game-changing menu item when it debuted the Impossible Cheeseburger nationwide, becoming the company’s first permanent plant-based item. The Impossible Cheeseburger will feature a meatless burger patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and two slices of American cheese. For fully plant-based customers, the Impossible Cheeseburger can be ordered without dairy-based cheese. The Impossible patty can also be added to several other menu items when you substitute animal-based protein.
“We’re always looking to bring options to our menu for our guests who crave variety,” Joel Yashinsky, Chief Marketing Officer at Applebee’s, said at the time. “With the introduction of the Impossible Cheeseburger, we’re giving our guests more delicious combinations to choose from when dining with us. And whether you’re craving one of our classic fresh, never frozen, Handcrafted Burgers, or the new Impossible Cheeseburger, you can’t go wrong. Come on by – we’ll save you a booth!”
Everything That’s Vegan at Applebee’s
Even though Applebee’s will cater to your dietary preferences, note that the company cannot promise to avoid cross-contamination from animal-based products in the kitchen.
Order Vegan Appetizers at Applebee’s With Easy Swaps
- Brew Pub Pretzels & Beer Cheese Dip: When you order these fluffy, savory pretzels, order without honey mustard or cheese dip. Instead, you can ask for marinara sauce or regular mustard.
- Chips & Dip: Replace the white queso dip with either chipotle lime salsa or guacamole!
Vegan Entrees at Applebee’s
- Impossible Burger: A classic vegan burger made with an Impossible Burger patty and topped with lettuce, pickles, tomato, and onion. Make sure to ask for no cheese to make it fully vegan.
- Southwest Chicken Bowl: This filling entree features healthy mixed greens, cilantro rice, house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa, and guacamole, topped with tortilla strips and chimichurri. Order without the chicken and choose one of the vegan dressings.
- Text-Mex Lime Shrimp Bowl: When you order this entree without shrimp, it comes with mixed greens, cilantro rice, house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa, guacamole, chimichurri, and tortilla strips.
- Pasta Noodles with Marinara: This is not on the menu, but you can ask for a classic Spaghetti Marinara with pasta noodles and marinara sauce.
- Breadsticks with Alfredo Sauce: While the breadsticks are fully vegan, the alfredo sauce and butter are not. Ask for no dairy and grab a side of marinara instead.
Plant-Based Salads at Applebee’s
- Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad: This salad comes on a bed of spring mix and romaine lettuce topped with red onions and strawberries. Request no chicken and order with Italian Dressing or Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Add an Impossible patty for protein!
- Oriental Chicken Salad: This Asian-inspired dish comes with a blend of Asian greens, rice noodles, and a specialty Oriental vinaigrette. Make sure to order without chicken.
Vegan Sides at Applebee’s
- French Fries: The perfect side to complete your Impossible Burger meal.
- Waffle Fries: Order with your favorite Applebee’s sauce.
- Baked Potato: A classic, hearty baked potato. Instead of butter and sour cream, order with black bean corn salsa.
- Steamed Broccoli: Order with no butter!
- House Side Salad: Order with Italian Dressing or Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Make sure to ask for no cheese.
Dairy-Free Sauces and Dressings at Applebee’s
- Balsamic Glaze
- Black Bean Corn Salsa
- Champagne Vinaigrette
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Chunky Red Pepper Relish
- Fat-Free Italian Dressing
- Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette
- Pico de Gallo
- Sweet & Spicy Sauce
Eating Plant-Based for Your Health
Even though it seems difficult to order vegan at Applebee’s, choosing plant-based foods can have significant health benefits in the long run. Eating a mostly plant-based diet earlier in life can prolong life expectancy by over 10 years, whereas those who regularly eat red or processed meats have a 13 or 9 percent high risk of early death, respectively. Giving plant-based a try might seem intimidating at first, but the benefits are long-lasting.
One recent study also found that eating plant-based protein can protect your gut health, improving your overall well-being. So next time you visit Applebee’s for an affordable family outing, try the Impossible Burger over the conventional cheeseburger because even the smallest plant-based change can help your overall health.
For more plant-based fare near you, visit The Beet’s Find Vegan Near Me articles.