Vegan Options at Denny's (2024 Updated) Ordering Guide

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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Compared to some other mainstream fast-food restaurants, Denny’s has quite a few tasty vegan options.

Although most menu items are off-limits to vegans, there is still a plethora of vegan meals - you just need to know how to order them.

So, whether you’re craving just a simple snack or a filling lunch, it’s likely that you’ll find what you need on Denny’s menu.

As a certified personal trainer and a vegan enthusiast, I've personally explored various vegan options at Denny's. From my numerous visits, I've gathered some insider tips and personal favorites to help you navigate their menu with ease.

Quick Summary

  • Denny's offers a variety of vegan options, including oatmeal, skillets, fries, and salads, suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • The menu includes plant-based alternatives like the Beyond Burger and allows for customizations to make traditional dishes vegan-friendly.
  • A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information notes that in some US areas, obesity rates are as high as 39% and increasing by 5% annually, emphasizing the importance of plant-based diets in combating obesity and related chronic illnesses.
  • In my experience, Denny's has made commendable efforts to cater to the vegan community, offering diverse and tasty choices.

Vegan Options at Denny's

Vegan breakfast at Denny's

1. Vegan Breakfast

Even the breakfast menu at Denny’s has a couple of excellent vegan options to choose from, both sweet and savory ones:

  • Oatmeal: During my last visit, I specifically requested the oatmeal to be made with water instead of milk. It was a delightful, warm start to my day, perfectly aligning with my vegan diet.
  • Grits: Ask that they be made with water instead of milk.
  • Regular English muffin: Skip the gluten-free one since it contains some dairy ingredients. Instead of butter, ask for jam or jelly.
  • Hash browns: Adding mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and avocado can make them extra nutritious
  • Toast: Ask for multigrain wheat, potato, or seven-grain bread, and use jam or jelly instead of butter.
  • Red-skinned potatoes

According to one of the studies from the PubMed website, the vegan breakfast produces the same pattern of elevated branched-chain amino acids, insulin, and glucose as the animal diet from the fasting results, reflecting the low protein load in the animal and the higher branched-chain amino acid load of the vegan breakfast [1].

2. Vegan Lunch & Dinner

If you decide to go for one of their juicy sauteed vegetable skillet-choices, request your order to be prepared without butter or margarine before you chose one of these:

  • Hearty Breakfast Skillet - Ask for it without eggs, sausage, or cheese.
  • Fit Fare Veggie Skillet: Fit Fare Veggie Skillet: On my recent trip to Denny's, I tried the Fit Fare Veggie Skillet. It's a vibrant mix of veggies including seasoned red-skinned potatoes, mushrooms, and fire-roasted bell peppers. The side of salsa added a refreshing kick to the dish. The topping is a mix of egg whites scrambled with grape tomatoes and fresh spinach. To make it vegan, ask the staff to omit the egg whites.
  • Santa Fe skillet: Ask for it without chorizo sausage, eggs, or cheese.
  • Supreme Skillet: This veggie combo featuring fire-roasted bell peppers & onions, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and seasoned red-skinned potatoes is topped with Cheddar cheese and eggs, so order it without sausage, eggs, or cheese.

According to another study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, vegetarian diets are associated with a lower BMI and a lower prevalence of obesity in adults and children [2].

3. Vegan Sides

Vegan sides you can eat at Denny's
  • Broccoli
  • French fries
  • Fresh sautéed zucchini and squash (not available in all locations)
  • Garden salad (with balsamic vinaigrette, French dressing, or Italian dressing)
  • Sweet petite corn
  • Whole grain rice
  • Seasoned fries - A classic plant-based option, these fries are covered in delicious seasoning. If you’re looking for something healthier, try a plain baked potato topped with steamed broccoli and salsa.

4. Vegan Sauces

Vegan sauces at Denny's

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Bourbon Sauce at Denny's is vegan-friendly. On my last visit, I also tried the BBQ and Mango Habanero Sauces, both of which are deliciously vegan and added a great flavor to my meal.

Also, note that the All-American sauce (egg), Buffalo (milk/dairy) are NOT vegan.

Balsamic Vinaigrette, French dressing, Italian dressing, Barbecue sauce, and other common condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.)

You can also get some Jellies or Maple Syrup to go with your oatmeal, English-Muffin, or toast - they’re vegan, absolutely delicious, and you can get them free of charge.

5. Vegan Desserts

Unlike savory vegan options at Denny’s, the list of vegan-friendly sweets and snacks, the list is significantly shorter. It only includes seasonal fruit, a pack of saltines, or a side of tortilla chips (minus the cheese) with salsa.

Can Vegans Eat Denny’s Veggie Burger?

Yes! As of January 2020, Danny offers Beyond Burger - a 100% plant-based burger served on a multigrain bun with tomato, red onions, lettuce, and pickles.

However, it also comes with cheese and an All-American sauce by default, which are non-vegan, so make sure to omit those, and you’re all set.

Beyond Burger is now available at over 1700 Denny’s locations. You can even add fries to your burger!

You Can Build Your Own Burger

If you’d rather skip the Beyond Burger, you can make your own. Choose the whole-wheat or brioche bun and the veggie patty.

You can size up your order by adding an extra patty for $1.50. Order it without cheese and choose some of these toppings: sliced jalapeños, fresh avocado, barbecue sauce, bourbon sauce, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, or grilled onions.

Are Their Tortillas Vegan?

Yes! Denny’s tortillas are vegan-friendly, and they go great with the veggie skillet meals.

FAQs

What Nutritional Information is Available for Vegan Options at Denny's?

Denny's offers several vegan options, each with its unique nutritional profile. For health-conscious diners, it's important to note that items like veggie burgers and hash browns are lower in cholesterol and saturated fats compared to their non-vegan counterparts.

How Can You Creatively Customize Vegan Dishes at Denny's?

Denny's menu is quite flexible, allowing for creative customizations to make dishes vegan. For instance, you can add avocado, salsa, and a variety of vegetables to your hash browns or burgers for a nutritious and flavorful meal.

How Does Denny's Vegan Menu Compare to Other Popular Diners?

Compared to other diners like IHOP or Waffle House, Denny's offers a more diverse range of vegan options. While IHOP and Waffle House have limited vegan choices, Denny's provides a variety of plant-based dishes, including customizable burgers and salads.

Which Denny's Locations Are Most Vegan-Friendly?

Some Denny's locations are more vegan-friendly than others, often depending on regional preferences and management. Locations in urban and cosmopolitan areas tend to have a broader range of vegan options and are more accustomed to customizing dishes to suit vegan diets.

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30724465/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/
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