Rebel Whopper vs Zero Chicken: we road test the best vegan fast foods

It’s Veganuary and to mark the occasion a plethora of fast food restaurants have launched a vegan or vegetarian alternative to their menu.

KFC, Boojum, McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway are among the restaurants that have launched a meal aimed at those looking to cut down their meat intake.

But, are they actually any good?

We ordered in three meal options aimed at vegans/vegetarian consumers, and put them to the taste test?

Burker King’s Rebel Whopper – €5.10

Burger King launched the Rebel Whopper late last year. Although the Whopper is marketed as “100 pc plant-based”, it’s not suitable for vegans or vegetarians as it’s cooked on the same broiler as their meat patties.

A spokesperson for the fast food chain said this is to provide their “signature flame-grilled taste, so we do not label the burger as vegan or vegetarian burger”.

So what does it taste like?

The Rebel Whopper patty, made from soy, wheat, herbs, onions and vegetable oil, is a tasty alternative to a meatburger – but it has its flaws.

While I liked the absence of any grease or mess that usually comes with a Whopper burger, the flame-grilled taste, which is a defining characteristic for the regular Whopper, was almost too overpowering to be matched with the plant-based patty.

The patty itself is quite thin, but it held together without any signs of crumbling.

Although plenty of satisfied reviewers have branded this meal as just like the real thing, I have to disagree.

As someone who isn’t vegetarian, I don’t think I’ll be swapping my regular order for this option in a hurry.

Boojum’s vegan burrito bowl – €7.65

I found the Boojum vegan burrito bowl to be the most favourable meat-free option available out of our lineup.

Vegan-friendly menu options that can be added to the bowl include sweet potato and lentils, which can be served with vegan sour cream, guacamole and pickled onions.

Boojum also offer Mexican spiced butternut squash and three bean chili as meat alternatives.

For my burrito bowl, I tried the sweet potato and lentil topping, with Mexican rice, guac, vegetables and sweet corn on top.

I loved this option. With every bite, my taste buds were left tingling at the familiar creamy, cool taste of guac, that just about manages to neutralise the spice of Mexican rice.

I didn’t miss the presence of meat, or feel as though I was eating an imitation of another dish. I was left feeling full, and as though I got complete value for money. So much so, I think this vegan offering will now become a favourite order for me.

KFC’s Zero Chicken Burger- €6.70

KFC’s Zero Chicken Burger replaces a regular chicken fillet with a Quorn alternative. The fillet is topped with KFC’s vegan mayonnaise, and has all the Colonel’s regular herbs and spices.

The Zero Chicken burger is a fantastic vegan offering. It looks very similar to a regular chicken fillet burger, and the taste isn’t far off either.

Although the Quorn fillet tastes slightly dry, the 11 herbs and spices combined with the vegan mayonnaise was enough to keep me wanting to take another bite.

The burger itself is a little pricey, but second to the the burrito bowl, this offering from KFC could definitely become a preferred order of mine. 

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