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PF Chang’s Vegetarian Options

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Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD

PF Chang’s is a popular Asian Fusion chain restaurant in the fast-casual style.  As a generality, Asian restaurants are a good option for a multivore group as you can often find foods right on the menu that are already vegetarian.

No swaps or veggie plates here! With their higher-than-the-Western-World vegetable and bean/soy intake, there should be plenty for a friendly veg*n to enjoy. 

But let’s take a look at PF Chang’s vegetarian options specifically.  Their menu helpfully includes a little leaf symbol for options that are vegetarian as presented.

Appetizers

Lettuce Wraps (vegetarian option) – this is readily available on the menu. Note that even though the menu states that the protein options include vegetarian, there is not actually a protein source in the wraps. This is fine for an appetizer, but add something to it!

Edamame – simply steamed and salted.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts – perfect for a spice lover! 

Crispy Green Beans – tempura battered with a spicy dipping sauce 

Shishito Peppers or Chili-Garlic Green Beans – both spicy vegetable options to start your meal.

Dim Sum

Dim sum originated as a small source of sustenance for travelers and rural workers. These small bites of food were served by roadside vendors along with tea.  Dim sum is sometimes compared to tapas, the small dishes in Spain served to accompany drinks.

On PF Chang’s menu, the only vegetarian-friendly option is the vegetable spring rolls, served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Though to be fair, this section of the menu only has 4 items.

Sushi

There’s nothing on the menu that is already vegetarian-friendly. Similar to their dim sum menu, their sushi menu is fairly small. Potentially, you could order a California roll without the imitation crab meat. 

However, I would opt to save my sushi cravings for a Japanese restaurant!

Salads and Soups

They have an Asian Caesar salad and Mandarin Crunch salad that could both potentially be ordered sans meat (or maybe swap for tofu?).  However, the menu does not specify the dressing on either salad, so there is a good potential for sneaky fish ingredients, even if the menu doesn’t specify they’re there.

Similarly, the egg drop soup doesn’t frankly mention meat, but also doesn’t specify what the broth is. I would assume it’s chicken broth.

Main Entrees

Ma Po Tofu – crispy silken tofu and broccoli with a spicy red sauce.

Stir-fried Eggplant – also with a spicy sauce. 

Buddha’s Feast – probably what I’d choose! Five-spice tofu, green beans, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots.  This option isn’t spicy.   

*Note: these options are clearly marked as vegetarian, furthering my suspicions that the egg drop soup listed above is not vegetarian.

Noodles and Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice – contains egg. 

Lo Mein – noodles, mushrooms, Asian veggies, and tofu. Choose the vegetarian option. 

Korean Glass Noodles – choose the vegetable option, has sweet potato glass noodles, which everyone should try at least once. Also contains onion, mushrooms, edamame, bell pepper, and egg. This is probably my second choice!

Desserts

All of the desserts appear vegetarian-friendly. 

For vegans, choose the Chang’s Apple Crunch or Banana Spring Rolls, hold the ice cream.

But seriously, they have something called The Great Wall of Chocolate. How could you choose anything else?

Other Menus

PF Chang’s has a dedicated gluten-free menu on top of the items specified in their main menu. Additionally, they have taken precautions to be allergy-friendly, considering the common use of peanuts in many Asian cuisines.

That’s quite a few options!

As I’ve mentioned before, Asian restaurants tend to be a treasure-trove of vegetarian options, and it appears that PF Chang’s is no different. 

The biggest hurdle is going to be in the sauces, which often contain fish sauce and are not vegetarian-friendly. Those items that are specifically labeled as PF Chang’s Vegetarian Options have a veg*n-friendly alternative made from mushrooms, so consider advising your server of your needs in a friendly manner.

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