Back in the 1940s, Evelyn Overton, a passionate home baker, discovered a talent for making cheesecake. After successfully baking the dessert on many occasions for her family, she decided to turn pro. Over the decades, Overton’s passion for cheesecake and running bakery shops turned into The Cheesecake Factory—one of America’s favorite restaurant chains.

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Today, The Cheesecake Factory has more than 200 locations across the US, each of which offers a giant menu consisting of plenty of cheesecake (of course), as well as burgers, salads, and so much more. This huge selection can be daunting, but, that said, the vast selection is easily dwindled down if you’re just looking at the vegan-friendly options.

Does The Cheesecake Factory have any vegan meals?

The Cheesecake Factory has much improved its plant-based menu over the years—hello, Impossible burgers! The plant-based patties were quietly added to the menu back in 2018 but weren’t initially served with vegan cheese. That has changed now, however, and the offering is entirely plant-based.

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But, alas, The Cheesecake Factory is far from perfect, and we’re still waiting on that vegan cheesecake. However, if you’re invited to a celebratory dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, you definitely won’t go hungry.

If you’re headed to one of the chain’s 200 restaurants soon and you’re looking for a plant-based bite, here, we’ve compiled some of the best ones to try.

Editor’s note: We’ve included several modifications to non-vegan items in this list to cover all of the possible options. However, The Cheesecake Factory spokesperson we spoke to advised against most modifications so as to not “disrupt the flavor profiles.” So please modify it for your preference.

How to eat vegan at The Cheesecake Factory

Dining at The Cheesecake Factory? With a few modifications, here’s what’s suitable for vegans. 

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1 Appetizers

Skim past the fusion egg rolls and go straight for the Korean Fried Cauliflower, with no dipping sauce (it contains dairy). For an appetizer that could double as a meal, the Thai Lettuce Wraps With Grilled Avocado is your best bet. The dish comes with gorgeously charred grilled avocado halves, bean sprouts, coconut curry noodles, julienned carrots, and three vegan-friendly sauces.

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2 Salads

One thing to note: there are appetizer salads and entrée salads. Both the Little House Salad and Tossed Green Salad are vegan-as-is when ordered with vegan dressing (Balsamic Vinaigrette, Shallot Vinaigrette, SkinnyLicious Mustard Vinaigrette, and French Mustard Vinaigrette).

For a heftier bowl of greens, dig your fork into the substantial Vegan Cobb Salad. It’s a trough of lettuce, fresh and roasted produce, grains, nuts, and seeds in an addictive vinaigrette. 

Vegans can also modify the Santa Fe Salad (ask for no cheese or chicken), and the Barbeque Ranch Chicken Salad (no cheese, chicken, onion strings, and sub with vegan dressing). In essence, if a salad looks good but contains animal ingredients, take off the meat and cheese, swap in a vegan-friendly dressing, and ask to bulk it up with grains or grilled avocado.

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3 Glamburgers

In other words, hamburgers. If you’re in the mood for something meaty, the Impossible Burger is your best bet. The entirely plant-based sandwich is piled high between two special sauce-slathered buns with an Impossible patty, melty vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. It comes with your choice of green salad or fries. 

The made-from-scratch Veggie Burger is vegan-friendly at select locations, so make sure to check with your server. If you’re given the clear, remember to omit the garlic aioli and ask for vegan cheese, mayo, and buns. Equipped with the knowledge of vegan burger toppings, feel free to get creative and modify your veggie or Impossible patty with whatever calls to you.

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4 Sides

Just like a steakhouse, The Cheesecake Factory’s sides are relatively vegan-friendly. Create a meal in itself with sides of grilled asparagus, steamed broccoli, fresh corn, sweet potato or regular fries, green beans, and sautéed spinach.

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5 Pastas

The pizza selection may be lacking, but there are plenty of pasta dishes that can be modified for vegans. The vegetable-heavy Evelyn’s Favorite pasta, for example, is nearly vegan, just omit the cheese, butter sauce, and dip.

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6 Breakfast

If you find yourself accompanying a non-vegan crowd, there are ways to hack it. Your breakfast options are smoothies, fruit, bagels, crispy potatoes, and plain toast. If you needed a vegetable, you might be able to persuade the chef to sautée up a hash of potatoes and veggies, but that’s definitely off-menu. As always, request modifications with a polite smile and you’re more than likely to have your wish granted.

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7 Dessert

Technically, there is one vegan option: a bowl of fresh strawberries, no whipped cream. Given any other environment, we’re often content munching on juicy, ripe strawberries, but when we’re doing so as our dining companions moan over the delight of a four-inch-high cheesecake slice, we’d rather seek something a little sweeter. 

Dear Cheesecake Factory, if you’re reading this, pretty please with a humongous pile of dairy-free whipped cream on top, grant the world a vegan cheesecake option. Thank you.

For more vegan dining guides, read:
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