Lucky for the vegan-inclined, there are impossibly tasty chicken sandwiches beyond Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, and no animals were harmed in the making of them. Not only are these 10 vegan twists on the classic chicken sandwich better for you, but they’re much kinder choicers for the animals and the planet, too. And if you think you’ll be sacrificing taste or texture by biting into one of these bad boys, you’re dead wrong. Bring a friend and a napkin; your taste buds (and your worldview) will never be the same again.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Atlas Monroe, multiple locations
This soul food pop-up may have engineered the perfect fried chicken recipe, and it just happens to be plant-based. The company was not only the first vegan chicken producer to enter the competitive National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans in 2018, but it was also deemed Best Dish by Extra Crispy editor Ryan Grim. The menu has expanded from buckets to buns—putting its finger-licking, crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside vegan chicken between slices of bread. A handful of vegan-friendly restaurants around the country stocked this fried chicken sandwich for a limited time, but the rave reviews will surely tempt Atlas Monroe to bring it back. Cooks, to your dredging stations! There are a lot of orders to fill.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Veggie Grill, multiple locations
One of the earliest vegan restaurants to compete in the chicken sandwich games, Veggie Grill’s signature menu item rivals even the buzzy newcomers. For over a decade, Veggie Grill has been the place where omnivores gently place their hand on their vegan friend’s knee, look them in the eye, and say, “This isn’t vegan.” The chain’s new slogan should be, “Veggie Grill: successfully duping omnivores since 2006.” The Sante Fe Crispy Chickn’ is a standout sandwich comprised of a juicy, meaty chickn’ patty, romaine, sliced tomato, red onion, mashed avocado, and spicy mayo on a toasted wheat bun. You can’t go wrong with the original, but to eat on trend, try the Nashville Hot Chickin’ Sandwich, which features the same crispy chickin’ slathered in Nashville Hot Sauce then topped with coleslaw, bread and butter pickles, and scarred scallion ranch, all held together with a sesame seed bun. Dare we say it rivals Hattie B’s? Yes, yes we do. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Slutty Vegan, Atlanta, GA
It’s more than just the name that attracts attention; the food at this Atlanta fast-food concept is equally headline-grabbing. Opt for the Chik’N Head, which offers a sweet and savory sandwich experience—the housemade crispy plant-based chicken is tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce, cooled down with a slather of vegan ranch and coleslaw, balanced with a bit of acid from a few pickles, and held between two slightly sweet and fluffy Hawiian buns. As with all of its sandwiches, this handhold is served with a side of Slutty Fries. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Berben and Wolff’s, Albany, NY & Troy, NY
People drive from the city and even neighboring states to get a taste of this upstate vegan sandwich shop, which just opened its second location. While it may be difficult to pass up the plant-based renditions of Po’Boys, Reubens, and Cubanos, the deli’s version of a fried chicken sandwich doesn’t disappoint. Order the Wing Burger doused with your choice of buffalo or barbecue sauce then topped with shredded carrots, celery, and ranch on a sesame seed bun. It’s like a basket of chicken wings in sandwich form.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Green New American Vegetarian, Phoenix, AZ
A play on a certain fast-food chain featuring a red-headed female mascot, the Wendy’s Pickle sandwich outshines the original. With only a few pickles, hot sauce, and mayo to accompany it, the southern-style breaded vegan chicken patty is truly the star of the sandwich. The toasted ciabatta bread acts as the perfect serving vessel. Order with one of the unique sides such as the thyme fries, fried Brussels sprouts, tahini coleslaw, fruit, or Grandma’s Chili. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Souley Vegan, Oakland, CA
If plain isn’t your game, Souley Vegan’s Proud Mary might just suit your style. The sandwich starts off with a plant-based, crackly-yet-tender chicken patty schmeared with special sauce and barbecue sauce then topped with tomato slices and romaine. Ok, fine, nothing too special here. Underneath that chicken, however, is a thick layer of crispy barbecue tofu, pickles, and more special sauce. This monstrosity is barely contained between a soft cracked wheat burger bun. There are two ways to tackle this sandwich: take a knife and fork to it or unhinge your jaw. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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7. Wayward Vegan Cafe, Seattle, WA
Wayward is serving up classic American diner food at its best—large portions, affordable prices, and a down-home atmosphere. Here, you can get your fried chicken sandwich fix for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In the morning, order The Freebird—an open-faced homemade herb biscuit sandwich made with the diner’s signature battered and fried southern-style chicken, country gravy, onion frizzles, and flowering kale. For lunch or dinner, try the Southern Comfort, Chico Vegan Melt, or Southern Belle which features a generous scoop of potato salad on top of a ranch and barbecue-slathered fried chicken patty. Why not put your side in your sandwich? 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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8. The Southern V, Nashville, TN
The country music capital’s first vegan restaurant offers a bit of Southern charm along with a great fried chicken sandwich. Diners have two options—the reliable Chick’n Sandwich simply stacked with a seasoned and fried seitan-based chicken cutlet, chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion; or the ‘Nashville’ Hot Chick’n Sandwich that includes all the above with a significantly spicy hot sauce. Pair your sandwich with a complimentary southern-style side from mac and cheese to turnip greens. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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9. J. Selby’s, St. Paul, MN
When it’s literally zero degrees outside, you need something spicy to warm you from the inside out. J. Selby’s Nashville Hot Chickin Sandwich will set a fire to your belly, but not in an excruciating, my-tastebuds-are-gone, kind of way. This hot handhold is comprised of a perfectly fried and battered, plant-based chicken patty brushed with just the right amount of housemade hot sauce and topped with cooling coleslaw, sweet pickles, and thick, mayo-swiped Texas toast. After this sandwich, you’ll wonder why more restaurants don’t use Texas toast for their bread. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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10. Lettuce Feast, Los Angeles, CA
You might have to become a low-key stalker to try this Los Angeles pop-up’s fried chicken sandwich, but it’s worth checking and rechecking the Street Food Finder app. If you can wait a whole week, the company is a regular at Vegan Exchange in North Hollywood. Wait patiently in line for your Nashville Hot Chicken Sando or OG Sando and try the Ghost or Reaper dippers, if you dare. Both are made with the company’s homemade crispy chicken patty and vegan butter bun—though the OG is paired with lettuce, tomato, and “honey” mustard, while the Nashville comes with slaw, ranch, and your choice of hot sauce. Again, there’s no need to be a hero. The OG, Mild, Medium, and Hot Honey sauces are spicy enough. Only true heat-seekers should take on the more advanced hot sauce dipping options. 

 

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: Lettuce Feast

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