Dining out while following a vegan diet can be tricky. For example, the restaurant chain Panera doesn’t offer many vegan items.

Still, the menu does have a handful of suitable options. Plus, you can customize quite a few items to make them vegan.

Additionally, you can view the ingredient lists for all menu items online. This makes it easier to assess which options work for a vegan diet.

This article lists 7 vegan options you can order at Panera, as well as an overview of their nutrition facts.

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Plain bagels are generally made from flour, salt, water, and yeast, which makes them vegan.

Yet, some flavor additions like cheese, bacon, or butter are not vegan.

According to their website, the following Panera bagels are vegan (1):

  • Plain
  • Everything
  • Blueberry
  • Poppyseed
  • Sesame
  • Salt
  • Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat

The nutrition facts vary depending on which bagel you choose. Here’s an overview of the nutrition facts for all the vegan bagels (1):

  • Calories: 180–290
  • Protein: 7–10 grams
  • Total fat: 1–2.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 34–58 grams
  • Sugar: 4–10 grams
  • Fiber: 2–3 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 390–410 mg

Bagels tend to be high in carbohydrates. Panera’s bagels also offer some protein, a nutrient that promotes feelings of fullness (2).

This restaurant doesn’t offer vegan cream cheese, but you can ask for avocado instead. This is a nutrient-dense vegan alternative that adds extra fiber and healthy fats (2, 3).

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Panera is known for its many bread options, but not all of these are vegan. If you’re looking for vegan bread, choose one of Panera’s following options:

  • Black Pepper Focaccia
  • Country Rustic Sourdough
  • Artisan Ciabatta
  • Classic Sourdough Loaf
  • Sourdough Bread Bowl
  • Tomato Basil Miche
  • White Whole Grain Loaf
  • Whole Grain Lavash Wrap
  • Whole Grain Sourdough Loaf
  • French Baguette

The nutrition facts vary depending on what you choose. Here’s the range of nutrition information for a 2-ounce (57-gram) serving of all the vegan bread options (1):

  • Calories: 130–290
  • Protein: 5–9 grams
  • Total fat: 0–2.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 25–31 grams
  • Sugar: 0–3 grams
  • Fiber: 1–2 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 250–370 mg

Bread on its own won’t be much of a meal, but you can try the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich without feta, using one of the bread options listed above (4).

Alternatively, you can add avocado to your bread order, just like you might with a bagel, for a boost of healthy fats and fiber (3).

One serving of the Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries, Pecans, & Cinnamon Crunch Topping has the following nutrition composition (1):

  • Calories: 360
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 15 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Total carbs: 52 grams
  • Sugar: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 150 mg

Steel cut oats are the least processed version of oats. They tend to be a little higher in protein and fiber than rolled or quick oats (5).

The fiber content of this meal gets an extra boost with the strawberry and pecan topping. What’s more, both strawberries and pecans have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions (6, 7).

This breakfast also offers filling protein. This is great news, since it can be a challenge to get enough protein on a vegan diet, especially when eating out (2).

While this oatmeal has a moderately high 17 grams of sugar, part of this is natural sugar from the strawberries.

Smoothies are super convenient breakfast or snack options for when you’re on the go. They can be packed full of nutritious ingredients, though some versions also contain high amounts of sugar.

The nutrition facts for a 16-ounce (473-mL) Peach & Blueberry Smoothie with Almond Milk are (1):

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Total fat: 2 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 49 grams
  • Sugar: 41 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 50 mg

The ingredients are unsweetened almond milk, fresh blueberries, mango and peach purées, and white grape and passionfruit juice concentrates (8).

With 41 grams, this smoothie is high in sugar. Still, keep in mind that some of this is natural sugar from peaches and blueberries — fruits that also contribute to the 4 grams of fiber found in this drink.

That said, consuming a high sugar diet has been linked to several health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. If you order this beverage, be sure to choose low sugar meals and snacks throughout the rest of your day (9).

Lastly, this smoothie is a great choice if you are looking for something not only vegan but also low in fat and sodium.

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Here are the nutrition facts for a 16-ounce (473-mL) Green Passion Smoothie (1):

  • Calories: 250
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Total fat: 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 59 grams
  • Sugar: 50 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 45 mg

Similar to the Peach & Blueberry Smoothie listed above, this option is low in sodium and fat. It’s also a good source of fiber that can help fill you up (2).

The Green Passion Smoothie is high in sugar, though, containing 50 grams. The 2020–2025 dietary guidelines recommend that you limit added sugars to less than 10% of your total daily calories, or about 50 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet (10).

That being said, some of the sugar found in this smoothie is natural sugar from fruit. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to balance it out with low sugar meals throughout the rest of your day.

Unlike the Peach & Blueberry Smoothie, this smoothie provides a serving of spinach, making it a better choice if you’re looking to get in some extra greens.

Lastly, both these smoothie options are low in protein and calories. As such, they may not be as filling as other menu items.

Here are the nutrition facts for an 8-ounce (237-mL) bowl of Ten Vegetable Soup (1):

  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Total fat: 2 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 15 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 1,090 mg

This soup is a good source of fiber, with 4 grams per serving. Because it’s low in calories, it may be best as a snack or a side to a more complete meal.

The sodium content per serving is 1,090 mg, which is considerably high, especially when the meal is just 100 calories. So, you may want to enjoy it in moderation and balance it out with lower sodium meals and snacks during the rest of your day.

If you’d like to try this soup and make it more filling, you can order a slice of Panera’s White Whole Grain Loaf to enjoy on the side. This will add another 130 calories, 2 grams of filling fiber, and 290 mg of sodium to your meal (1).

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of the Tomato, Basil, & Cucumber Salad (1):

  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Total fat: 6 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1 gram
  • Total carbs: 9 grams
  • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 480 mg

This salad is meant to be enjoyed as a side with a soup or sandwich. With just 90 calories, it’s easy to see why it wouldn’t be a filling meal on its own.

Additionally, it’s on the higher end of sodium content, featuring 480 mg per serving. If you’re enjoying it as a side with another item, opt for a lower sodium entrée.

While the following options are not vegan when ordered as-is, you can modify them to make them vegan (4):

  • Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, without chicken
  • Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken, without chicken and wontons
  • Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken, without chicken and gorgonzola
  • Mediterranean Grain Bowl, without feta or Greek yogurt
  • Baja Bowl, without feta or Greek yogurt
  • Teriyaki Chicken & Broccoli Bowl, without chicken
  • Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, without feta and with vegan bread

While everything on this list is vegan, some options may be more nutrient-dense than others.

If you’re looking for low sodium meals, the best choice is one of the vegan smoothies with just 50 mg or fewer of sodium. The oatmeal on this list is also fairly low in this mineral, with 150 mg per serving.

However, take note of the high sugar content in these smoothies and try to choose lower sugar meals throughout the rest of your day.

Also, keep in mind that many of the items on this list are low in calories and protein, so they may not be filling enough to make a complete meal. For this reason, consider combining more than one option to make your meal more satisfying.

Overall, if you’re looking for the most complete meal, the steel cut oatmeal provides 360 calories and more protein and fiber than any other items on the list, while remaining low in sodium and saturated fats (1, 2).

Eating out while following a vegan diet can be difficult. Thankfully, it’s not impossible — as long as you do a little research first.

Most restaurants, including Panera, publish their menus and ingredient lists online. This can give you an idea of which menu items suit your dietary restrictions.

While it’s possible to find vegan options at Panera, keep in mind that some may not be high enough in calories or protein to be filling.

Additionally, as with many restaurant meals, some menu items can be fairly high in sodium and added sugar. We recommend enjoying them in moderation and in balance with a healthy diet.

Just one thing

Try this today: If you’re new to the vegan diet or just need to brush up on your knowledge, stop by this article to see 37 foods and ingredients to avoid.