“What is your order? Please speak into the mic.” “Would you like fries with that?” “Can I super-size that for you?”
These are questions you might hear if you’re going through a drive-thru for dinner. The popularity of cars in the 1950s led to the introduction of drive-thru eateries and the invention of fast food. On July 24th, we celebrate not having to get out of the car to get dinner on National Drive-Thru Day.
The U.S. has the largest fast food industry in the world with millions of people drawn to the low-cost, high-speed restaurants that serve indulgent and popular foods. Of course, now we know a lot more about fast food and that it isn’t the best choice for our bodies. So, is the answer to give up fast food and avoid the drive-thru places? Not necessarily. Healthier fast food drive-thrus are popping up – like Amy’s Kitchen that offers organic, vegetarian food. Until one opens near you, you can still make healthy versions of your favorite drive-thru foods at home. You get to choose the ingredients so they can be healthy as well as nostalgic and indulgent.
Take a look at these Fast Food Favorites Made With Whole, Plant-Based Foods and these 12 Delicious Vegan and Healthier Versions of Your Fast Food Favorites. Then try these 25 recipes that are better versions of your drive-thru favorites.
1. The Best Veggie ‘Big Mac’ With Radicchio Slaw
Forget about fast-food and make these Veggie ‘Big Mac’ Burgers instead. That’s right — nothing that hasn’t grown straight out of the ground was used to make these incredibly flavorful and hearty burger patties. To make them even better, the burgers are topped with a crunchy and tangy radicchio slaw and creamy avocado. We’re lovin’ it.
2. Spicy Mango Tofu Tacos
You can literally put anything and everything into a taco and it’s delicious – take these Spicy Mango Tofu Tacos, for instance. In this particular recipe, corn tortillas are filled with roasted tofu, juicy mangos, some heat from jalapeños, and a dollop of zesty guacamole. Summer-y and irresistible!
3. Crispy Chickpea Fries
Crisp on the outside with a fluffy interior, these Crispy Chickpea Fries are absolutely delicious! They’re simple with a slight zest and their shape stays intact through frying for a very snackable dish. Enjoy these as a fun side dish or make a big batch just to munch on.
4. Crispy Crunchy Cornmeal and Pepita Onion Rings
Goodbye, greasy, fast food onion rings! Say hello to these lovely baked Crispy, Crunchy Cornmeal and Pepita Onion Rings instead! A mixture of cornmeal and crushed pepitas gives these unique onion rings a crunchy coating and a unique blend of flavors. Dip them in your favorite sauce for an extra special treat!
5. Layered Fiesta Taco Bowl
Celebrate the day with this incredible Layered Fiesta Taco Bowl. Smoky coconut bacon, warm black beans, and corn, and lime roasted bell peppers are all layered on top of each other in possibly the most epic Mexican-style veggie bowl ever. This dish is warm, zesty, citrusy, and above all, delicious! You’re not getting this at any restaurant.
6. Raw Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard
This refreshing Raw Salted Caramel Truffle “Blizzard” is really easy to make and it’s even easier to eat. Frozen bananas are blended into soft serve ice cream with a rich, salty date caramel. The recipe may serve two, but you will not want to share this. Trust us.
7. General Tso’s Tempeh
General Tso’s sauce is that deliciously sticky, sweet, and slightly spicy sauce that you can get from Chinese takeout dishes. This General Tso’s Tempeh is a revamped version where you can control the sodium levels, but still enjoy that same sauce you love over crispy, fried tempeh. It’s easy to make and will certainly feed your jones for takeout.
8. Baja Tofu Tacos
Taco Tuesday just got better and it’s because of these Baja Tofu Tacos. Tortillas are filled with savory and crispy baked tofu, crunchy cabbage, creamy avocado, and a garlicky lime sauce. A little hot sauce brings the heat to this amazing taco dish.
9. Crispy Chicken Sweet Potato Sandwich
“World’s greatest sandwich” isn’t a term anybody should throw around lightly and these Crispy ‘Chicken’ Sweet Potato Sandwiches are worthy of the title. They look like fast food patties on the outside, but on the inside, they’re soft and tender. Made from rice and sweet potato and coated in herbed breadcrumbs, then fried until crispy, they’ll satisfy all your crunchy sandwich cravings.
10. Faux Fish Sticks With Coconut Basil Crema
Remember those frozen fish sticks your mom used to throw on a sheet pan and heat up in the toaster oven? We loved them but these Faux Fish Sticks With Coconut Basil Crema are way better. Hearts of palm are the secret ingredient in these “un-fish” sticks, and you will be amazed at how similar they look and taste to traditional fish sticks! Vegetables — what can’t they do?
11. Loaded Baked Potato With Carrot Bacon
It’s easy to make indulgent dishes healthier – like this Loaded Baked Potato With Carrot Bacon. Usually loaded baked potatoes have an obscene amount of butter, sour cream, and bacon. However, sub in vegan butter, a cashew-based sour cream, and carrot bacon, and boom! Healthy potato recipe!
12. Meaty Beet Burger With Cashew Cheese
Try this protein-packed vegan Meaty Beet Burger With Cashew Cheese for the times when only a meaty burger will do. It’s also perfect for barbecues and when you need to please a crowd. The texture and color is very close to meat and it tastes amazing. It’s all about the right seasoning to get the flavors right for this special treat.
13. Crispy Turmeric Tofu Nuggets
All that’s between you and these Crispy Turmeric Tofu Nuggets are a few ingredients! When you need to make a dish that’s guaranteed to please everyone, go for these crispy delights. These are great served on a bed of lettuce, or with a few simple sides and some dipping sauce.
14. Sweet Potato Sushi Burrito
You love sushi and you love burritos, so why not combine them for a tasty two-in-one lunch? This Sweet Potato Sushi Burrito has roasted sweet potato, avocado, and shredded red cabbage all rolled up in brown rice that is seasoned with rice vinegar and a big sheet of nori. It’s the perfect fusion dish when you can’t decide between two favorites.
15. Carrot Hot Dogs
Besides burgers, every cookout needs hot dogs. There’s no need to buy veggie dogs when you can make these Carrot Hot Dogs. The marinade gives the carrots that smoky flavor you know and love. Add your favorite toppings and no one will know they’re eating a carrot. We won’t tell either.
16. Spicy Tofu Scramble and Avocado Breakfast Burrito
This Spicy Tofu Scramble and Avocado Breakfast Burrito is the right way to kick off your morning. It’s stuffed with scrambled tofu, made spicy from fresh jalapeño peppers, fresh greens, avocado, and a zingy hot sauce. This burrito makes a satisfying breakfast or brunch. You could even add black beans, or a drizzle of Sriracha if jalapeño isn’t spicy enough for you.
17. Sausage Sweet Potato Breakfast Sandwich With Sriracha Maple Aioli
Salty, sweet, saucy, crunchy, hot, chewy — that is what this Sausage Sweet Potato Breakfast Sandwich has to offer. The Sriracha maple aioli gives this sandwich a spiciness not usually found in breakfast foods, but the maple reigns it into perfection. The breakfast sausage supplies that crave-able saltiness, and the sweet potato coins add texture to make one amazing first meal of the day!
18. Sweet Potato Quesadillas
The combination of crispy and creamy textures, as well as the sweet, cheesy, spicy and smoky flavor profile makes these Sweet Potato Quesadillas a total crowd pleaser. They’re especially great because they can be whipped up in just 10 minutes! Serve with fresh veggies, salsa, baked beans, or vegan sour cream.
19. Maple Chipotle Meatball Grinders
These Maple Chipotle Meatball Grinders are sweet, savory, and a bit spicy. They have green onions, maple syrup, and Chipotle chilis – a fusion of Asian and Mexican flavors. You can opt to make homemade meatballs for these grinders, or use pre-made ones if you want to speed up the whole process!
20. Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni pizza is a comfort food with flavors that hold a permanent spot in our hearts. But what can you do when you want it meatless and dairy-free? This Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza recreates that hot, spicy pepperoni flavor with crispy, thinly sliced zucchini marinated in a spicy and flavorful sauce. Top that with melty vegan cheese and you’re ready for pizza night.
21. Cheesy Tofu Breakfast Bagel
Skip the drive-thru and recreate an eggy and comforting breakfast with this Cheesy Tofu Breakfast Bagel. This savory breakfast has tofu, avocado, and caramelized onions on a bagel for a delicious sandwich. In addition to being a savory delight, it’s filling and protein-packed. Yum!
22. Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
This Buffalo Cauliflower is spicy, but it also has a nice, sweet note, so it’s not all about the heat — especially when you pair it with the cool, creamy ranch dip. The cauliflower florets are soft, but crispy on the outside, and so tasty you’ll want to eat an entire tray by yourself. These would be the perfect appetizer at a barbecue, game day, or any day.
23. Jackfruit Carnitas With Pickled Red Onions
Nobody will believe that these Jackfruit Carnitas are actually made from a tropical fruit. Jackfruit is sautéed with garlic and then simmered in a spicy sauce, allowing it to absorb all of the flavors. This recipe uses canned jackfruit in syrup, so it ends up sweet and spicy at the same time. It’s topped with tangy quick-pickled red onions for added crunch.
24. Grilled Maple Tahini Sweet Potatoes
You just found the perfect “French fry” — these Grilled Maple Tahini Sweet Potatoes. These wedges soft and tender with caramelized edges and especially delicious when drizzled with a sweet-tart maple tahini dip with a squeeze of lemon juice. Top them with roasted, crushed cumin seeds and serve them at your next plant-based barbecue.
25. Red Onion and Beet Burger
These rustic, earthy, and protein-packed Red Onion and Beet Burgers are made with a savory, yet refreshingly light blend of vibrantly red and naturally sweet beets, creamy cannellini beans, and nourishing walnuts. Serve these nestled between a grainy whole wheat bun, with a generous heap of lettuce, sunflower sprouts, sweet relish, and a healthy schmear of spicy horseradish mustard and natural ketchup.
Skip the drive-thru and make your favorite fast food items at home with these recipes. You won’t need to place your order into a clown’s mouth, you’ll save gas, and your dinner will be healthy and delicious.
Lead image source: Layered Fiesta Taco Bowl