Panera is known for a couple of things — a bread bowl filled with soup, and reasonably fast, free wifi. A combination that led them to 2000 restaurants across the U.S and Canada.
Nowadays any establishment offers free wi-fi, but Panera used to be the U.S’s largest free wifi provider. In fact, their sales rose by 15% with that strategy.
Another approach that may have resulted in sales growth was the addition of a plant-based menu. But then, Panera seems to have a different definition for plant-based, unlike most vegans.
Here’s how Panera defines plant-based:
In other words, plant-based food may be vegetarian.
This being said, Panera Bread does have 100% plant-based options. And even if you don’t like them, you can always modify the vegetarian options.
“Vegan” Options At Panera Bread.
Vegetarian Black Bean Soup
This soup is a combination of beans, veggies, and spices. According to Food.com, the Black Bean Soup includes garlic, onions, celery ribs, red bell pepper, cumin, salt, cornstarch (to make it dense), and a touch of lemon juice.
Food.com also added chicken bouillon, but that does not come in the original Black Bean Soup Panera recipe. Not sure why it was added, given how this is a vegan dish.
Fuji Apple Salad
Once you remove the unwanted ingredients, you’ll be left with mixed greens ((like chopped romaine and spring mix), apple chips, red onions, vine ripped tomatoes and pecans.
The salad is also topped with a delicious Fuji apple dressing. If you’d like to create this recipe at home, you can simply follow the recipe at Paneraathome.com.
Steel Cut Oatmeal With Strawberries and Pecans
The name says it all. This recipe is a simple combination of oats, strawberries, and pecans. A good, healthy option for a great start to your day.
Though to be quite frank, I’d rather get these ingredients and make the recipe at home. According to different reviews, Panera hardly delivers fresh fruit.
Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich
This sandwich is a magnificent and healthy option.
It includes sliced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, lettuce, peppadew peppers, and a cilantro/jalapeño hummus blend, giving it the sandwich a spicy flavor.
However, it also comes with crumbled feta cheese, so you should put in the request to remove it.
You won’t be disappointed. The zesty flavor combined with the crunchiness of the vegetables and the spiciness of the hummus makes it super addicting.
Peach and Blueberry Smoothie With Almond Milk
This drink is loaded with vitamin C from fruits such as peach, mango, white grapes, and passion fruit. It also contains blueberries, which act as a powerful antioxidant.
The folks at Panera typically blend these fruits with almond milk.
Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup
This is a 10-ingredient soup packed with vegetables. It contains carrots, celery, onions, red and yellow bell peppers, regular and sun-dried tomatoes, corn, spinach, and poblano peppers.
These ingredients go into a seasoned vegetable stock with chickpeas, dried Aleppo chili, and healthy grains like wheat berries, sprouted short grain brown rice, and red fife. Oh, and it’s also served with a lemon wheel.
Even though this soup is vegan, you should look out for allergens like soy, and wheat.
Modern Greek Salad With Quinoa
If you’re looking for a meal packed with iron and calcium in a meal, this is the one.
This salad combines kale, romaine, cucumber, quinoa, almonds, Kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, and more in one nutritiously powerful bowl.
Summary: Panera Has Vegan Options.
Panera has vegan options.
If you’re looking to have a delicious soup, Panera’s Garden Vegetable Soup is wonderful.
Other than that, I don’t think there is much creativity behind most of the “vegan options”.
As you know, salads and sandwiches filled with veggies are pretty common, and Panera’s are far from being mind-blowing. You’ll probably also find yourself talking with the server to remove some non-vegan ingredients from the vegetarian meals.
This being said, having options to choose from is a great start!
Thank you, Panera. 🙂