All the vegetarian items you can get at Panda Express

All the vegetarian items you can get at Panda Express

Quick-service restaurants continue to rely on plant-based meats and vegetarian options on their menu. The same goes for Panda Express, the fast-casual Chinese-American chain that reintroduced orange chicken in a partnership with Beyond Meat and continues to seek new ways to incorporate more plant-based ingredients into its menu. As more consumers choose to eat less meat, this seems like a natural progression.

That said, it’s important to note that Panda Express entrees and sides are not prepared in completely vegan kitchens. “All dishes at Panda Express are cooked and prepared in the same kitchen with shared facilities and equipment, which may not be acceptable for guests on strict vegetarian and vegan diets,” shared a spokesperson for Panda Express. When it comes to your own diet, use your best judgment. In the meantime, here are all the entrees and sides at Panda Express that aren’t actively made with meat (although some of these options contain animal by-products, like eggs and cheese).

Beyond the orange chicken

Although this dish has yet to be rolled out across the country, it has been one of the most successful regional launches from Panda Express to date. This reinvention of Panda’s most popular entrĂ©e hits all the sweet, spicy and citrus notes, without any meat. It is currently available in select locations, which can be found here, for a limited time. But for all its popularity, we’re sure this vegetarian-friendly option will eventually become a permanent item on the menu.

Eggplant Tofu

Although Eggplant Tofu is not offered at all Panda locations, this is my plea to Panda Express to make this entree more readily available. Of all the vegetarian options at Panda, this is definitely top-notch. The braised eggplant is softened in a bath of sweet and sticky hot sauce. The tofu browns and maintains a crisp edge and a fluffy interior, while the red pepper has a crisp touch. It’s a symphony of textures and flavors that will satisfy vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Vegetarian spring rolls

These vegetarian spring rolls are filled with a mixture of shredded carrots, cabbage, celery, green onions, and translucent noodles, all wrapped in a crispy egg roll shell. Dipping these spring rolls in a tub of sweet and sour sauce really brings them to life. A small order comes with two pieces and a large order offers 12, so get them just for yourself or to share.

Cream cheese Rangoons

The inside of these crispy rangeons contains cream cheese and diced chives (no crab here!), So they’re technically vegetarian-friendly if you can get past the fact that they are deep-fried in the same deep fryers as non-veg items. And if you can get past that fact, drizzling them with sweet and sour sauce is delicious.

Super greens

For a more nutrient-dense side that will pair perfectly with anything on Panda’s starter menu, go for the super greens. This mixture of broccoli, kale and cabbage is mixed with a garlic soy sauce and retains its bright tone and freshness.

White rice

This is a standard fare, but it’s hard to miss with a serving of steamed jasmine rice, right? It’s just rice. It’s good, it’s hearty, it smells vaguely flowery, it’s deeply harmless. Rice goes with just about everything, and Panda Express rice is as fluffy and tasty as anything you make at home in a rice cooker.

Integral rice

Same as above, except brown rice is more nutritious and a little crazier. Even just mixing brown rice with super veggies and eggplant tofu would make an amazing and colorful meal.

Fried rice

Although this would not be suitable for vegan guests, as it contains eggs, fried rice is simply a mixture of peas, carrots, and green onions dressed in a tasty soy sauce. If you don’t mind being tossed into woks that meat dishes may have touched as well, this is a suitable side.

Chow mein

The Panda Express spokesperson confirmed that the chow mein is not made from any animal products, however it is also thrown into woks that may contain cross contamination. If that’s okay with you, you can enjoy a tangle of wheat noodles with mushy onion slices, celery, and cabbage.


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