What Are The Vegan Options At Great American Bagel? (Updated Guide)

  • By: Daniel B.
  • Date: January 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Fresh bagels mean a happy tummy. That’s what Great American Bagel offers alongside other delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack offers. But is the vegan option possible?

Great American Bagel specializes in delivering big and fresh bagels with their other homemade paninis, sandwiches, and more. They have been in the service for 35 years. But what’s more exciting is that they have vegan options available for people like us, and that’s what we’re going to find out.

So if you’re searching for spots with tasty bagels, Great American Bagel is worth checking out. Let’s take a peek at their menu.

Great American Bagel, Your Award-Winning Bagel Bakery

Wayne Flately, in 1987, started Great American Bagel in Westmont, Illinois, a bakery offering fresh bagels as well as a deli-like shop using the finest ingredients they can get. In 1994, they started franchising and have grown to more than 60 locations in over 18 states.

Their affiliate company, Great Canadian Bagel also has 15 chains in Canada, delivering the same bagel offers and deli inspiration.

Great American Bagel offers hand-packed cream cheese, homemade sandwiches, paninis, fresh salads, soups, among others. Their signature Tomazzo pizza bagels are definitely customer-favorite. These bagels are steam-baked every day on-site, which makes them fresh that gets you in the mood.

They also offer Great Rewards program for their loyal customers in select locations. With their long-standing reputation in delivering excellent food and service in a family-friendly environment, it’s a no-brainer why Great American Bagel has been an award-winning fast-food company.

Great American Bagel Vegan Options

Although Great American Bagel doesn’t offer an entire menu for vegans, they do have a few choices for a plant-based diet, including the delicious veggie supreme sandwich. Sounds exciting, right?

Let’s check their menu to see if some of these can be modified at the customer’s request. The menu and pricing though vary from one location to another, but overall, these are what they offer that is possible for vegans. We have to skip other dishes that can’t be modified.

  • PB & J. This is part of Kids Meal served on your choice of white or wheat baguette with peanut butter and jelly. Yes, that’s what PB & J stands for. You may have to ask about the jelly since it’s mostly non-vegan because of gelatin unless agar-agar is used. This is sourced from seaweed, but it’s marketed as gelatin and used in vegan cooking.
  • Grilled Cheese. It’s one of everyone’s favorite, and Great American Bagel is winning on this one. You just have to ask the kind of cheese or butter used in making this to ensure you’re eating the vegan way. It’s served on a baguette with your choice of butter or cheese.
  • Vegetarian Sandwiches. These are served with your choice of baguette, bagel, or wrap.
    • Veggie Supreme. Here comes our favorite part of the menu of their Vegetarian Specialty Sandwiches. It’s served on your choice of their famous bagel with red onion, lettuce, roasted red pepper, tomato, cucumbers, veggie cream, and cheese and vinaigrette dressing. Rejoice! It’s vegan!
    • Mediterranean Hummus & Veggie. It’s served with hummus, lettuce, roasted red pepper, tomato, black olives, onion, cucumber, and a dressing.
    • Avocado Toast. We personally love this toast served with fresh avocado, onion, and tomato on a toasted bagel with garlic butter.
    • Caprese. It’s served with delicious fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, and steak tomato.
  • Bagels. They have choices of vegan bagels, which we are definitely living for. You can also add hummus, peanut butter, or veggies to your bagels. You can choose from:
    • Everything Bagel
    • Cinnamon raisin
    • Blueberry
    • Sesame
    • Plain
    • Multi-grain
    • Jalapeno
    • Gourmet Bagels with Butter and Jelly
    • Gourmet Cream Cheese Bagel. You may have to verify the cream cheese used in this.
    • Tomazzo Bagels. This is their famous specialty plain bagel dipped in delicious pizza sauce. It’s topped with mozzarella cheese and is baked fresh in-store daily. Just ask how they’re prepared to ensure that all these on the list are vegan-friendly.
      • Original Tomazzo
      • Hot Tomazzo
      • Veggie Tomazzo
      • Tomazzo Melt. It’s served with red onion, tomato, and provolone cheese.
      • Tomato Cream Dream. This is served with onion, tomato, cucumber, and your choice of cream cheese.
      • Vegetarian Sandwich with Optional Cream Cheese. Its served with tomato, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, carrots, green peppers, and a choice of cheese.
  • Bread. Their bread is vegan-friendly. You can have the following:
    • Whole Wheat Baguette
    • Plain Baguette
    • Sesame Baguette
  • Fresh Salads. These are made to order to ensure their freshness.
    • Garden Salad. It’s served with tomatoes, leaf lettuce, onion, cucumbers, carrots, croutons, shredded cheese, bacon crumbs, hard-boiled egg, and your choice of dressing. Obviously, we can’t have bacon and egg. So you can skip these two, and opt for the other veggies instead.
    • Caesar Salad. This is served with croutons, chopped lettuce, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing.
    • Greek Salad. It’s served with delicious romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, olives, onion pepperoncinis Feta cheese, Greek dressing, and hard-boiled egg. You may have to ask about the Greek dressing and the cheese used if they were prepared vegan. Otherwise, you can skip this dish entirely.
    • Garden Chopped Salad. We love this dish served with tomato, romaine lettuce, cucumber, onion, carrot, croutons, shredded cheese, and hard-boiled egg. You can skip the latter. Also, don’t forget to ask about the cheese.
    • Fruit Salad. This is a no-brainer that you don’t have to figure out how it’s prepared.
  • Soup and Chili. Great American Bagel also has a good reputation when it comes to their soups and chili. But you should also check and ask how these were prepared. They serve three to five varieties of soups and chili daily.
    • Gourmet Soup
    • Gourmet Chili
  • Dressings. You can choose any of these, and ask how these were prepared just to make sure they’re all plant-based. Most of these are typically not vegan-friendly. But many restaurants have introduced vegan versions of these dressings.
    • Ranch
    • Italian
    • Caesar
    • Balsamic Vinaigrette
    • 1000 Island
    • Greek
  • Beverages. Great American Bagel offers Seattle’s Best hot and cold drinks. For coffee beverages, you can also check with them if the milk or creamer used is plant-based. Otherwise, choose the safest ones.
    • Fresh Brewed Coffee
    • Iced Tea
    • Hot Choco
    • Hot Tea
    • Iced Coffee
    • Espresso
    • Caffè Latte
    • Caffè Americano
    • Caffè Mocha
    • Cappuccino
    • Caramel Macchiato
    • White Chocolate Mocha
    • Vanilla Latte
    • Hazelnut Latte
    • Fountain Drinks
    • Bottled Juices and Teas
    • Smoothies. These are fruit smoothies with a choice of one or two fruits.
      • Strawberry
      • Peach
      • Banana
      • Raspberry
      • Piña Colada

What Is A Bagel?

A bagel was first made in the 16th and the 17th century by the Jewish people based in Poland and has become a staple of Polish food culture. It later spread worldwide and has been famous, especially in the United States, Canada, among others.

Its name originated from the Yiddish word beygal, which is a German dialect called beugel, meaning “bracelet” or “ring”. It is said that bagels may have been first made in Germany before they came to development in Poland. This pastry was reportedly made as a present to women who gave birth.

Traditional bagels are made with wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast leavening. So these are vegan-friendly. They are made by forming the dough into a ring, boiled in the water for a short time before they’re baked. Bagels are usually dense, chewy with a doughy interior and sometimes crips, brownish exterior. They are also topped with sesame seeds or poppy.

However, as commercial bakeries become a thing, bakers would use sweeteners, flavored syrups, milk, eggs, honey, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or butter to make bagels. This makes them non-vegan and is not safe for us who follow a strictly plant-based diet.

How Healthy Are Bagels?

Bagels are common during breakfast. But for some, bagels are also present in their lunch and dinner. There are claims that these are high in carbs. But because the ingredients vary, we really can’t say which is which.

For a plain, medium-sized bagel of about 105 g that’s made from wheat flour, salt, water, and yeast, it seems that it’s already high in carbs. Let’s check out its nutrition facts.

  • Calories: 289
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbs: 56 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Thiamine: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Manganese: 24% of the Daily Value
  • Copper: 19% of the Daily Value
  • Zinc: 8% of the Daily Value
  • Iron: 8% of the Daily Value
  • Calcium: 6% of the Daily Value

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about 45% to 65% of carbs is what you gain from your total daily calories. For instance, if you have 2,000 calories a day, that would be about 300 g of carbs.

For those who are trying to lose weight, bagels may not be your best choice as they are high in calories and carbs.

The Bottom Line

Great American Bagel has been a reputable bakery and deli for over 30 years with lots of vegan options available in most of its locations. Since bagels are high in calories, you should consider having them with other vegetarian choices, especially when you are trying to lose weight.

After all, healthy eating is what we aim for.