Eating Vegan at Portillo’s- All the Best Options

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For many, Portillo’s is more than just a restaurant; it’s a place that feels like home. This Chicago icon was started back in the ‘60’s as a food cart called The Dog House. Since then, it’s become a classic destination in a number of states, with over 70 locations in total. An eatery famous for its Italian beef, burgers and hot dogs may not attract vegans far and wide. However, if a hungry vegan gets dragged along with some friends or wants to experience this beloved restaurant, there are a few menu items that won’t disappoint! Despite its meat-heavy menu, Portillo’s has made an effort to be inclusive of vegans, from creating a vegan hot dog option to making a vegan chocolate cake. So, although vegans won’t be breaking down the door to eat there any time soon, they’ll find a tasty vegan meal to enjoy. To make it simpler, Vegan Unlocked has made a secret menu, vegan menu and editor’s picks to ensure that vegans can find what they’re looking for. Whether you’re craving a hearty salad or a chocolatey dessert, you’re in luck!

The Vegan Unlocked Research Team analyzed all 64 items on the Portillo’s menu. We came away with a custom creation and a few tasty on-menu options.

Portillo’s has a score of 1 out of 5 stars with little to no vegan options. It’s not winning any awards as a vegan destination, but you can find what you need if you’re in a pinch.

This score is calculated based on the amount of vegan offerings on Portillo’s menu “as is” or with an easy substitution, a restaurant vegan customizability score and finally the amount of vegan options vs non-vegan options. Learn more about Vegan Unlocked Ratings.

Secret Menu

It may be tempting to play it safe and only go to explicitly vegan-friendly restaurants, but this cuts you off from many options, from classic fast food joints to tasty neighborhood eateries with a few hidden (vegan) gems. Unless you prefer to only go to all-vegan restaurants, an essential skill of veganism is making a menu work for you no matter where you are. It becomes second nature to avoid certain ingredients, which can be as easy as holding the cheese or subbing out a sauce. Plus, the Vegan Unlocked research team makes our own secret menu, making it even easier to enjoy all-vegan, modified meals at decidedly non-vegan restaurants.

To skip the customization and order from the regular menu, scroll down to find the Portillo’s vegan menu items and our editors’ top picks below this section.

Sweet and Hot Peppers Sandwich

To create this flavorful, peppery sandwich, get a side garden salad with no cheese and no croutons, get a side of hot peppers and a side of sweet peppers. Then, mix everything together in the bread that comes with the salad, and voila, you have a tasty veggie sandwich!

All Vegan Options on Portillo’s Menu

What are all of the vegan options on the Portillo’s menu?


  • Plant-Based Garden Dog: This plant-based dog is made of Field Roast, and it comes with mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle and sport peppers, all on a steamed poppy seed bun.
  • Chopped Salad: For a filling, yummy salad, this is the thing to get, featuring romaine and iceberg lettuce mix, ditalini pasta, tomatoes, green onion, red cabbage and tossed with our famous, homemade House dressing. Make sure to hold the cheese, chicken and bacon. 

Sides, Sauces, Add Ons, Toppings

  • Garden Side Salad (no cheese, no croutons)
  • French Bread, 6 inch
  • Hamburger Bun
  • Hot Dog Bun
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
  • House Dressing
  • Lite Italian Dressing
  • Sweet peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Hot oil

Editor’s Picks: What Are the Best Vegan Meals at Portillo’s?

The Plant-Based Garden Dog is the most budget-friendly vegan choice at only $3.99. This is amazingly cheap for what you get! This tasty dog includes a Field Roast dog topped with mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle and sport peppers on a steamed poppy seed bun.

The modified Chopped Salad is the best vegan meal at Portillo’s, featuring a filling, delicious salad that includes pasta, lettuce, fresh veggies and a flavorful dressing.

The Sweet and Hot Peppers Sandwich is the most out-of-the-box option, and is especially fun because it was created by the Vegan Unlocked research team! This tasty and creative sandwich is full of sweet and hot peppers and veggies, all wrapped together in bread.

Note: Vegan Unlocked is a tool dedicated to helping people find plant-based options. We are not an allergen resource, and want to encourage our friends with allergies to proceed with caution. We cannot control and don’t always know when cross contamination takes place. See Portillo’s allergen menu here. As far as cross-contamination of vegan foods with animal products, this is completely up to your comfort level as an individual. Read our stance on cross contamination.

Frequently Asked Portillo’s Questions

Are Portillo’s fries vegan?

Unfortunately, Portillo’s fries are non-vegan, as they are fried in beef tallow.

Is Portillo’s plant-based dog vegan?

Yes, Portillo’s plant-based dog is fully vegan, made of Field Roast.

Are Portillo’s garden dogs healthy?

Portillo’s garden dogs are definitely healthier than their meat-filled alternative. Made with pea protein, they have the same amount of protein as Traditional Dogs, with less sodium, no nitrates and no artificial flavoring.

You can find out more information on the Portillo’s menu by visiting their website here.

Dining at Portillo’s Soon?

Be sure to tag Vegan Unlocked and share your vegan meal or custom creation to be entered into our monthly giveaway!

Portillo’s vegan menu was brought to you by…

Lydia Greene

Lydia Greene is a freelance writer with a passion for food and travel. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking in the woods near her home in Portland, Oregon, cooking up a tasty meal or dreaming up her next adventure.

Cristina Garrido

Cristina is a vegan cook and recipe developer. She’s worked in several vegan kitchens, as a collaborator for different cooking blogs and now works as a consultant helping restaurants interested in making their menus more vegan-friendly. She’s passionate about cultural foods and culinary innovations. Her non-food related interests include thrifting, sustainability and exploring her new adoptive country, Portugal.

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