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What Are The Vegan Options At Primanti Bros? (Updated Guide)

What Are The Vegan Options At Primanti Bros? (Updated Guide)

Sandwich, please… The Pittsburgh style!

It’s true that sandwiches are everyone’s go-to meal, especially since you can just carry them with you everywhere you go. They’re also easy and quick to prepare. But sometimes, the grab and go option helps a lot, especially when you’re always on the road.

Luckily, Primanti Bros offers one of the best sandwiches in the US that are not only delicious but can also be modified for vegans. The black bean burger, for instance, is famous among vegans since you can order it without the cheese.

Are finding vegan sandwiches enough for you to take a day off from work? If so, let’s go check on Primanti Bros, and see what other vegan stuff we can get from this famous sandwich shop.

Primanti Bros, Inspiration Meets Opportunity

During the Great Depression, Joe Primanti, a Pennsylvania-born entrepreneur invented his signature sandwiches in 1933 and fed hundreds of hungry workers in Pittsburgh’s Strip District at 18th Street. His brothers Stanley and Dick later joined him serving many late nights and early morning workers at their small diner at Smallman and 18th Street.

The signature sandwiches became a hit that many workers on the road keep coming back to get a taste of the Primantis famous sandwich-fries combo. According to the Primantis’ nephew John DiPriter, the signature sandwiches started out when a worker drove up to their diner with his truck loaded with potatoes.

He brought the potatoes to the diner to see if they were frozen. Joe tried to grill the potatoes. Looking good and delicious, customers started asking for them, and he started putting them on the sandwich. Unconsciously, the Primantis didn’t know that the sandwiches will put Pittsburgh on the map.

The signature sandwiches are known for their side of fries that are grilled where eggs are used to bind them together. Newspapers are then used to wrap them so the workers can eat them while driving without being messy.

The sandwiches are known for their combination of grilled meat, tomato slices, melted cheese, oil and vinegar-based coleslaw, and French fries between two slices of Italian bread.

Primanti Bros signature sandwiches have been featured in several TV shows and national publications, including NatGeo Magazine, Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America, and Man v Food. The sandwich chain was also named one of the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada” by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

When Stanley and Joe passed, Dick Primanti sold the business in 1975 to Jim Patrinos. Today, there are almost 20 locations of Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh. There are also shops in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Fort Lauderdale.

Primanti Bros Vegan Options

Primanti Bros is known for its grilled meat sandwiches, but there are a few options that vegans can have on request. A good rule of thumb is to ask the crew that you need to modify your order, especially since Primanti Bros isn’t a vegan restaurant.

Cheese, meat, eggs, milk, and other dairy products are the ingredients that you need to look out for when you dine in at Primanti Bros. Here are the items from the menu that you can possibly ask for modification. But it’s also possible that there could be cross-contamination, especially since Primanti Bros isn’t a vegan spot.

Again, order these without eggs, cheese, or any other dairy products.

  • Starters & Sides
    • Crispy Zucchini Planks
    • Giant Bavarian Pretzel
    • Whole Kosher Pickle
    • Spicy Batter-Dipped Pub Pickles
    • Coleslaw
  • Hand-Cut Fries And Tots
    • Fresh-cut French Fries
    • Retro Tots
    • Primanti Size Fresh Cut Fries
  • Almost Famous Sandwiches
    • Southwest Black Bean Burger
  • Pizza
    • Build Your Own
  • Salads
    • House Side Salad
      • Served with tomatoes, mixed greens, cucumber, croutons, egg, and cheddar cheese. You can skip the last two ingredients, and even croutons, especially when these are made with dairy.
  • Beverages
    • Coke
    • Sprite
    • Diet Coke
    • Bottled Water
    • Red Bull
    • Beers
      • Miller Lite
      • Coors Light
      • Budweiser
      • Bud Light
      • Michelob Ultra
      • White Claw
      • Domestic Growler
      • Craft Growler

Pro Tip: The items on the menu vary by location. You may have to check with the crew to see the availability.

Vegan Sandwich Vs Meat Sandwich

Regardless of your reason why you went vegan, being healthy in everything we do is crucial to our well-being. And this is why we have to keep track of our calories, sodium, carbs, or fat intake in every food that we eat.

While it’s always great to enjoy delicious treats, being healthy is more important. So, if you were to check the nutrients you will get from eating vegan sandwiches, here’s an estimated figure in comparison to meat sandwiches.

Gluten-Free Vegan Sandwich (85 g)Meat Sandwich (85 g)
Calories: 160Calories: 127
Total Fat: 2 gTotal Fat: 6.04 g
Total Carbs: 32 gTotal Carbs: 0.75 g
Protein: 3 gProtein: 16.24 g
Sodium: 310 mgSodium: 1,201 mg
The figure above is only an estimate according to the 2,000-calorie diet

A vegan sandwich is also a great source of vitamin A, C, and D, iron, and calcium, which meat sandwich almost lacks. If you notice, a vegan sandwich gives more calories compared to a meat sandwich.

However, this will also depend on the ingredients used. More often than not, vegan food has higher sodium content due to the flavorings and seasonings added to achieve the meaty flavor. In this figure, the gluten-free vegan sandwich has lower sodium but a little higher calories compared to a meat sandwich.

This is why it’s important to balance your meals and snacks all the time by piling up on more veggies and fruits. You should have fiber and flavonoid-rich fruits and veggies because they help a lot in proper digestion and are also a great source of antioxidants.

Always be mindful of your calorie intake, especially since extra calories are stored as fat, which can put your heart health in danger. You will also need to work hard to burn those calories, which you cannot do in just one sitting.

Another thing is the sodium intake, which WHO, CDC, and AHA recommend to take only up to 2,300 mg a day. Excessive sodium intake puts your kidneys at risk. It can also cause high blood pressure, which is a major factor in developing strokes and heart diseases.

For our bodies to work properly, we will need at least 500 mg of sodium daily. Lack of sodium can cause hyponatremia, a condition where you suffer nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, weakness in the muscles, and seizures. In severe cases, this will the person in a coma or death.

This is why a balanced diet, especially for vegans, plays a vital role in living a healthy lifestyle.

Top Vegan Deli Brands For Vegan Sandwiches

With vegan sandwiches nowadays staying on top of the game, fake meat plays a crucial role in producing quality and delicious plant-based meals. Luckily, there are many vegan food manufacturers that have been creating fake meat to pair with burgers and sandwiches.

I love homecooked meals, and I also have my own favorite vegan meat brands that I always buy whenever I take a trip to the grocery. Lazy days are normal, and you don’t know when it hits you. So, it’s important that you have these vegan meat brands in your pantry for easy cooking when eating out isn’t your choice for the day.

These vegan deli slices are available at your local grocer or supermarkets. But you can also check these out online on Amazon.

  • Tofurky Deli Slices (Peppered, Smoked-Ham Style, Hickory-Smoked)
  • Sweet Earth Plant-Based Black Forest Ham
  • Green Slice Organic Deli Slices
  • The Be-Hive Deli Slices
  • 365 by Whole Foods Deli Slices (Hickory-Smoked
  • Field Roast Mushroom & Balsamic Deli Slices
  • Unreal Plant-Based Deli Corn’d Beef
  • Lightlife Vegan Turkey Slices
  • Plant Provisions Tuscan Red Pepper Slices
  • Yves Veggie Cuisine

Research conducted by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that vegan deli slices are a good source of folate, iron, and fiber. Compared to ground meat, vegan or imitation meat has less saturated fat although it’s always higher in sodium content and less protein, vitamin B12, and zinc.

However, fake meat is considered healthier than real meat due to its nutrients that are not found in real meat. Most real meats are always associated with cancer, kidney failure, strokes, and heart diseases. This is why many people have now switched to a higher percentage of plant-based diets if not fully vegan or vegetarian.

The Bottom Line

Primanti Bros isn’t a vegan sandwich chain, but it offers a few options that can be modified for hungry vegans. Its black bean burger for instance is such a hit among vegans and vegetarians that you only have to skip the cheese. Yes, skip the cheese, and you’re eating the vegan way at Primanti Bros.

Other than Primanti Bros’ black bean burger, most of its signature sandwiches are crafted with meat and dairy products. But if you love homecooked meals, you always have the option to make your own sandwich in the comfort of your own home.

There are also other vegan chains that serve plant-based sandwiches. I’ve listed the top-rated ones in this article. Have fun!