McDonald’s debuts vegan burger in the US—but is it actually healthy?


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Getting a fast food fix as a vegan isn’t easy. Desperate attempts to find something satisfying on a long road trip can mean settling for a lettuce and ketchup sandwich instead of a burger. That could change as McDonald’s—the second-biggest fast-food chain in the country—unveils a vegan option in the U.S. for the first time.

McDonald’s has experimented with vegan burgers in other countries in recent years, but the most popular one from India was chosen to make its debut in America. The McAloo Tikki features a veggie patty made from potatoes, peas, and “seasoning reminiscent of samosas.” Topped off with red onions, tomato slices, and—get this—an eggless tomato mayo, it sounds utterly delicious, but is it actually healthy?

The vegan burger contains 353 calories, 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of sugar. Compare that to the chain’s bestselling burger, the Big Mac, which packs a hefty 560 calories, 26 grams of protein, 13 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of sugar. So, less protein, but way less fat and calories, and zero red meat. (FYI: McDonald’s does not have a full ingredients list for the McAloo Tikki online right now, so it’s not clear what other things were added into the veggie patty.)

Don’t go looking for it just anywhere, though: the McAloo is only available at the global headquarter’s restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, which features a rotational a menu of favorites from around the globe. Here’s hoping they make it a thing across the country, because like I said, vegan fast-food options are really slim right now.

If you’re in Chicago and happen to get your hands on a McAloo Tikki, be mindful when selecting a side order. McDonald’s fries are totally vegan in most countries, but those served in the U.S. contain beef flavor and hydrolyzed milk. (Not cool, Mickey D’s!) For now, a vegan can dream.

Three words that’ll make your day: Veganized Crunchwrap Supreme. Or, try an easy vegan fried egg recipe that’s just begging to top your avocado toast.

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