Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD
Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a family-run company that expanded into franchising in 2003. They are known for their very simple menu, bulk peanuts, commitment to quality, and the best French fries, according to fans.
The simple menu does have some perks for vegetarians, as there is a smaller chance of cross-contamination with animal products. But it obviously limits our options as well. So what are the Five Guys Vegetarian Options?
Five Guys Meat-Based Menu
Five Guys started with one item, a hamburger. And it appears, that since then, they have taken their time to add new items to their menu.
This appears to be a very conscious decision on their part to maintain their quality standards, so it probably isn’t really a bad thing. However, this also means there are not a lot of options for us vegetarians!
However, it doesn’t appear to be all bad news. The company doesn’t appear opposed to a vegetarian burger or hot dog (ahem, Arby’s).
They have indicated openness to trying a vegan burger option, however are dedicated to making their own product (so no Impossible or Beyond brands, yeah!), and has to be the best it can be.
Hopefully, when it comes around, it will be awesome!
Burgers and Dogs
There’s nothing here for vegetarians yet.
Though, as mentioned above, there may be options in the future!
Five Guys offers a veggie sandwich and a cheese veggie sandwich.
As written on the menu, this is onions, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes on a grilled bun. Plus or minus cheese. Pretty simple, but is actually pretty good.
Note that the bun at Five Guys contains dairy and eggs, so is not appropriate for vegans. You can choose this option with a lettuce wrap if needed.
As with any restaurant that serves meat, there is the possibility of cross-contamination between your vegetables and the meat.
I went through quite a few forums, and it appears that the company policy is that the vegetables are grilled on the bun grill, not the meat grill.
However, it also appears that policy isn’t always strictly followed, as indicated by former employees. You’ll have to decide if this is a problem for you or not.
Five Guys fries come in two varieties: plain and with cajun seasoning.
They are twice-fried in peanut oil.
As with the grill, there is always a potential for cross-contamination with meat products. However, in the case of Five Guys, there doesn’t appear to be any other food prepped in the fryer. So the risk is actually quite low!
Ask the employees if you need any clarification, though.
There are a lot of veggies listed in the toppings menu, allowing you to customize your grilled veggie sandwich.
- grilled onions
- grilled mushrooms
- diced raw onions
- jalapeno, and
- green peppers
Vegetarian sauces include mayo, ketchup, mustard, A.1.® sauce, BBQ sauce, fry sauce, malt vinegar, and hot sauce. Not that mayo and fry sauce are not vegan options.
The vanilla milkshake base is vegetarian-friendly, and you can choose from a variety of mix-ins. Vegetarian options include:
- Oreo® cookies
- peanut butter
- salted caramel
- Lotus® Biscoff
Five Guys carries Coca Cola® products, coffee, and orange juice.
Special Dietary Concerns
Five Guys uses peanut oil to fry their fries and also has in-shell peanuts available in bulk to munch on when you dine in. Anyone with a peanut allergy should be aware of this and determine the risk factors of eating at this restaurant.
Interestingly, they do not allow you to take the peanuts out of the restaurant (such as with carry-out or delivery services) because they worry about the allergy potential.
Those with milk allergies will need to avoid the bun, cheese, and milkshakes. The fry sauce contains milk as well.
My top choice is the grilled cheese veggie sandwich with extra cheese and extra mushrooms. Small side of fries with malted vinegar on the side.
I would also start in on the peanuts while waiting for my food for some protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat.
Obviously, this isn’t the most ideal of meals as it is quite low in protein, especially if you order take-out or otherwise don’t eat the peanuts. But really, for a fast food meal, this packs in way more veggies than expected.
Have some extra protein at your next meal, and you’ll be golden!
As a dietitian, my goal is to empower you with information that enables you to make informed and health-conscious decisions that fit in with your busy lifestyle. No, we shouldn’t eat fast food every day, but sometimes we need a quick option.
And it’s nice to know what our options are ahead of time!
As a side note: This post took a bit more research than some of my other dining-out articles. I’d never eaten at Five Guys before. When I saw that this was a frequently asked question from vegetarians, I figured I’d give it a go and let everyone else see the results!
And actually, the meal was pretty stinking good. Pro tip: you’ll get a TON of fries. You may order less than you think you want!
Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian, mom, wife, and vegetarian in North Texas. She has dedicated Dietitian Jenn to be a source of information, ideas, and inspiration for people like her, vegetarians that live with people with different dietary beliefs and/or needs in a multivore household.