We’re now well into January, the month that many people associate with cutting out meat and adhering to a plant-based diet.
Fast food chains across the globe have recognised this, and so continue to introduce more vegan dishes to their menus to appeal to the growing market.
Items include sandwiches, wraps, nuggets and, of course, burgers.
It’s clear the rivalry between McDonald’s and Burger King is going nowhere anytime soon.
And with McDonald’s launching its first-ever vegan burger, the McPlant, myself and fellow food and drink journalist Julia Bryce decided to compare some of the plant-based items available at both chains to put them through their paces.
McDonald’s vs Burger King vegan menu
With very few options on-the-go, which is sure to be disappointing to the vegan community, it was simple narrowing down what to compare.
By simple, I mean what we ordered was near enough all each chain had to offer (well, that would fill a hole at least).
All of the items on both menus are savoury, so luckily neither of our sweet tooths needed to be curbed that day.
After visiting McDonald’s in Bucksburn, based on Inverurie Road, we headed to not one, but two Burger King venues at Queen’s Links Leisure Park and Union Street.
The total for the McDonald’s order came to £12.86, while the Burger King order cost £13.27.
With everything purchased, it was time to find out which dishes would prove a meat-free food lover’s dream (and which would leave a sour taste).
The order (McDonald’s):
The order (Burger King):
So, which fast food giant came out on top? And were there any items that wowed us?
McDonald’s McPlant vs Burger King’s Plant Based Whopper
The first word that springs to mind when thinking about our McPlant experience is “mush”. Not the nicest word to pluck from our vocabularies, but it really is the best to use when describing the texture of that Beyond Meat patty.
Our expectations were high given the item is new to the McDonald’s vegan offering, but the chain could have achieved so much more.
It was also bland, the same of which could be said for the slice of neon yellow vegan cheese perched on top.
Although we had to venture to a second Burger King branch to try their Plant Based Whopper, it was definitely worth the trip – and it was miles above the McPlant in both taste and appearance.
Flame-grilled, the burger could have been beef for all I would have known.
Sandwiched within a delectable sesame seed bun, the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, vegan mayo, pickles and ketchup were mouth-watering.
With Julia being a fan of the brand’s ever-popular whopper, it was always going to be a challenge to impress with the plant-based version. Spoiler alert, it did!
Plant Based Whopper
McDonald’s Spicy Veggie One vs Burger King’s Vegan Royale
Julia hit the nail on the head when she mentioned The Spicy Veggie One looking and tasting similar to the wraps we sampled during our Taco Bell experience some time ago.
Filled with leafy lettuce, which didn’t taste too great, there was no spice and very little flavour. Considering we were promised spicy relish to accompany the veggie dippers and veg, this was disappointing.
The wrap was far too thick as well, resulting in the pair of us having very little to scran on other than dough.
Luckily our Burger King item was a delight, and I think I speak for the pair of us when I say it was the dish of the day.
I was shocked at how well the chain managed to replicate the look and taste of chicken when tucking into the vegan patty, which is paired with crisp iceberg lettuce and vegan mayo.
It’s definitely something Julia and I would order again.
The Spicy Veggie One
McDonald’s veggie dippers vs Burger King’s vegan nuggets
Although McDonald’s fell flat during our drive-thru experience, the veggie dippers did impress.
“A tasty blend of red pepper and sundried tomato pesto, all coated in crispy golden breadcrumbs,” states the McDonald’s website, and I will say it delivered.
The coating did boast a lovely crunch and the filling had a kick to it, so for those heading to their nearest McDonald’s and are eager to sample a vegan treat, we would certainly recommend them above all.
The pair of us were satisfied with the Burger King vegan nuggets, too, although a sauce is definitely required.
The overall winner of the McDonald’s vs Burger King showdown was Burger King receiving a total of 44.5/60, while McDonald’s received 31/60.
For those interested in comparing the calories in the vegan dishes we sampled to their meat alternatives, check out the graphics below.
Can you think of any local venues or dishes you would like the Drive-Thru Diners to try? Fill out our online form to share your recommendations.