Mcalister’s Deli is an American chain of fast-casual restaurants founded in 1989 by retired dentist Dr. Don Newcomb. It has over 450 locations in 28 states and is well-known for its sandwiches, soups, salads, spuds, and more.
The restaurant doesn’t seem to have a legitimate vegan option (outside the veggie chili), but it’s possible to have a fulfilling vegan meal creating your own sandwich or dish.
Mcalister’s Deli vegan options:
- Bread (9-Grain, Baguette, Bread Bowl, Ciabatta, Country White Bread, Marbled Rye Bread, Pita, Pretzel Roll, Sliced Wheat Bread, Wheat-Wrap)
- Toppings (Avocado, Black Olives, Onion, Black Pepper, Cranberry Compote, Cucumbers, Granny Smith Apples, Green Bell Peppers, Green Onions, Jalapenos, Pickled Vegetables, Tri-Color Peppers, Romaine Lettuce, Salad Mix, Salt, Sauerkraut, Tomatoes, Spinach, Spring Salad Mix)
- Dressings (Yellow Mustard, Spicy Brown Mustard, Orange Cranberry Sauce, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Chipotle Peach Sauce, Raspberry Pecan Vinaigrette, Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette)
- Justaspud (Without Sour Cream)
- Veggie Chilli
- Veggie Spud (Without Cheese)
- The Veggie (Without Cheese & Non-vegan Dressing)
- Garden Salad (Without Cheese or Sour Cream)
- Southwest Corn Taco with Chili (Without Cheese)
Since some of these options are originally made with animal-based ingredients, you need to ask them to be removed. In this article, we’re going to look at each option in more detail and also determine what can be done to have your order improved.
Mcalister’s Deli Has Vegan Bread
Bread, at its core, is essentially a mixture of flour, yeast, water, and salt.
However, a lot of the bread that you find at the supermarket (and in a lot of these restaurants) usually has more than these four ingredients. As such, you should keep in mind that checking the ingredient label is of utmost importance to avoid unwanted ingredients.
Mcalister’s has 10 types of bread that are vegan-friendly:
- Bread Bowl
- Country White Bread
- Marbled Rye Bread
- Pretzel Roll
- Sliced Wheat Bread
- Wheat Wrap
Bread is a good option to start with, especially if you’re looking to have a sandwich. And at this particular restaurant, there are a lot of options to choose from.
Vegan Toppings and Dressings You Can Add to The Bread
By creating your own sandwich, you can choose to add any toppings you want.
Fortunately, Mcalister’s has some vegan-friendly toppings, including:
- Avocado (My personal favorite)
- Cranberry Compote
- Granny Smith Apples
- Green Bell Peppers
- Green Onions
- Pickled Vegetables
- Roasted Tri-Color Peppers
- Romaine Lettuce
- Salad Mix
- Spring Salad Mix
On top of the toppings, you can also add a dressing to confer the sandwich with a more punctuating flavor. At Mcalister’s Deli, you can find vegan-friendly dressings such as:
- Yellow Mustard
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Chipotle Peach Sauce
- Raspberry Pecan Vinaigrette
- Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
With these three components (bread, toppings, and dressings), you can have an experience at Mcalister’s that is both flavorsome and nutritionally fulfilling.
Other Vegan Options at Mcalister’s Deli
Justaspud (Without Sour Cream)
A name such as Justaspud can certainly make it confusing, but Justaspud is essentially baked potato that is typically filled with sour cream, cheese, or even bacon.
To make it vegan-friendly, you have to ask for it to be plain. In the alternative, you can consider adding a topping (like avocado) or perhaps a dressing (like mustard).
The veggie chili is a meatless, all-bean chili with different flavorsome seasonings. Personally, I love to eat chili inside a tortilla (or wrap) or with a scoop of rice.
However, since Mcalister’s doesn’t serve rice, then having the Veggie Chili with a tortilla and a bowl of salad might be your best option.
Veggie Spud (Without Cheese)
The Veggie Spud is baked potato filled with vegetables, including Spinach, broccoli, red onions, and house-roasted multicolored peppers.
However, this recipe also contains RO*TEL cheese sauce, which you must remove to make it vegan.
The Veggie (Without Cheese or Dressing)
The closest “premade” sandwich you have to being vegan is the “The Veggie”.
It has got spinach, tomato, cucumber, red onion, house-roasted multicolored peppers, avocado, and herb mayo on a 9-Grain bread.
For it to be 100% vegan, you must remove the herb mayo which contains eggs.
Garden Salad (Without Cheese or Sour Cream)
You can order the Garden Salad as a side to complement a bowl of veggie chili or a sandwich.
This salad usually has lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheddar-jack cheese, and a dressing of your choice. Remove the cheese and you have a vegan-friendly salad.
Mcalister’s has plenty of dressings that go well with salad so you shouldn’t have an issue with finding a suitable dressing.
Tomato & Cucumber Salad
Another salad you can order is the Tomato & Cucumber Salad, which is essentially a blend of tomatoes, cucumbers, and sliced red onions topped with balsamic vinaigrette.
This salad is 100% vegan.
Bag of Chips
Mcalister’s Deli also has a bag of simple chips available.
I’ve checked their nutritional profile, and the chips don’t have any animal ingredients, but they’re gluten sensitive.
You can also order a bowl of steamed broccoli, which goes well with a plate of plain baked potatoes and a bowl of veggie chilli.
In some cases, broccoli (and other veggies) are steamed using butter, so you have to request them to not use any butter in the process.
If you want a dessert, I’m afraid Mcalister’s Deli doesn’t have complex vegan-friendly desserts (like a mousse or a cheesecake), so you have to opt for the simplest and healthiest option.
Mcalister’s offers you a mixture of fresh fruits that will vary based on your location and the season at hand.
Mcalister’s Deli also sells applesauce, and unlike some places, they create this applesauce using real, fresh apples. It’s also a good side dish option.
Like any restaurant, you’re bound to find vegan-friendly beverages, both unhealthy and healthy options. At Mcalister’s you can find the following vegan-friendly beverages:
- Mcalister’s Famous Tea
- Pure Cane Sugar Lemonade
- Fountain Drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, etc)
- Gallons to Go
- Bottled Water
Some vegans (especially in the United States) may not be up to drinking sugary beverages because not all the sugar is vegan-friendly.
However, for the less stringent individual, that shouldn’t pose an issue given that these drinks are free from animal ingredients.
Summary: Mcalister’s Deli Has Some Vegan Options
Mcalister’s Deli has a great variety of vegan-friendly ingredients.
They have 10 types of vegan-friendly bread and more than 10 toppings that you can choose from to create an awesome vegan sandwich. On top of that, there’s a decent dressing variety, as well as other solid vegan options such as the Veggie Chili and improvised Garden Salad.
In conclusion, Mcalister’s Deli is a good place to have a vegan meal (or in the least, it’s better than most non-vegan restaurants out there).
Two Final Recommendations For My Fellow Vegans
Allow me to make two quick recommendations that have helped me in my vegan journey by ensuring I’m always healthy and deficiency-free.
- The first recommendation is my favorite vegan multivitamin supplement. It was created with vegans in mind. It contains vitamins B12, D, and Omega 3. In other words, it contains nutrients that vegans are generally low in.
- The second recommendation is this amazing vegan starter kit that is actually a bundle with 9 e-books that will help you lead a healthy, vegan lifestyle without running into any dietary deficiencies. It has great advice, and it includes print-outs and checklists that will make the theory easy to implement. This is something I’ve included in my recommended products page as well.
Thank you for reading this blog post and I sincerely hope it has served you well.