Go Vegan at Subway!

Ben offers step by step instructions on one great easy way to eat vegan on the go!

Subway sandwiches were originally a much bigger staple in my vegan diet.  Maybe it’s because there are just so many more vegan options all around me now, but lately I don’t go to Subway all that much. But when I do, I feel like I manage to eat pretty healthfully (except for the bread** of course).

**note that the only vegan bread offering is the Italian Bread.

When I first went vegetarian (6 months prior to going vegan) I used to get their VegiMax Patty which, I must admit, was pretty delicious (especially when microwaved and the edges would get a little crunchy).  But it’s far from vegan. It contains egg whites and casein. Sheesh, people!  Find another binding agent, already!

So over time I learned just to get the following…

For your amusement, I will type this using the exact words I use to order this deliciousness…..

1) Could you please get a new pair of gloves first?  Yes….  Yeah, a new pair of gloves?  Yeah, it’s gonna be a vegetarian sub, so….. Oh, thanks…..  yeah, okay, so….

2) Can I please have a footlong Veggie Delite on Italian Bread, NOT toasted, NO cheese?

3) [AT THIS POINT THE BREAD IS USUALLY SLICED AND HANDED OFF TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE WHO IS WEARING OLD GLOVES WHICH HAVED TOUCHED MEAT AND CHEESE AN MAYO AND TUNA AND GROSSNESS…..  WHEN THIS IS THE CASE, I STOP THEM AND ASK THEM FOR NEW GLOVES AS WELL]

4) Do you have spinach?…. No?…… (small sigh of disappointment — small, but intentionally audible) …..Okay, then just a LITTLE bit of lettuce, please (and it is ALWAYS too much.  ALWAYS)…….   Could I also have tomatoes and onions?…..  yeah, two more slices of tomato, please?  And more onions…..  Thank you!…. and green peppers? …… Could I have MORE green peppers?  …….. Thanks so much …….  could I also have Cucumbers and Pickles? ………  More pickles please? …… And could I please have extra, EXTRA black olives?  ……. Thank you………  Yeah, actually even a little MORE bla…….  yeah, that’s GREAT!!!!  Thank you……..  [SOMETIMES THERE IS AN ARGUMENT HERE ABOUT ASKING FOR “EXTRA” ANYTHING, TELLING ME THAT “EXTRA” ANYTHING WILL MEAN IT COSTS MORE — TO WHICH I USUALLY RESPOND SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES OF “FINE, F****** CHARGE ME WHAT YOU F****** WANT, JUST F****** GIVE ME SOME MORE F****** OLIVES!!!!!!!!!” — although I do it very politely of course] ………… And could I please have that with BBQ sauce and oregano, please?…… Thank you…….  Could I just have a little more BBQ sauce please?…… Thanks so much!

5) [HERE IS WHERE I ***IMMEDIATELY*** CAUTION THEM “Could you please use a CLEAN knife?  A CLEEEEEEAN knife?”  …… Here’s the deal….  they sometimes use one small knife just to hold all the ingredients in while they close the sandwich.  Sometimes they use the same knife to cut the sub, or sometimes they grab a bigger knife to do the cutting.  In either case, that knife has touched just about every possible ingredient there….  ingredients from sea creatures, land creatures, and animals that stand in concrete stalls with their own feces, as their babies are torn away so we can steal their mammary secretions……..  It is gross to me when these ingredients come into contact with my plant-based, sun-fed ingredients.  So I have to get their attention and INSIST on a clean knife (or sometimes just NO knife) from this point on.  At this point, it becomes a battle of wills.  Their will to not be bossed around by some vegan jerk versus my will to get what I want cuz this is America.  Usually they’ll grab a dry napkin and wipe off the knife.  This is where I specify that I want them to WASH it with soap and water (which, let’s face it, takes about  second and just isn’t that hard to do.)

6) Release a HEFTY SIGH here, because that was an ordeal for myself, the employee, and any customers now held up in line behind me.

7) Grab yourself a nice apple juice and, if they have them, the original Sun Chips (or whichever vegan chips you prefer)

8) ENJOY!!  If you’ve made it this far you’ll have a delicious and filling vegan meal!

These instructions become particularly handy in airports and malls. Be sure to follow them exactly! Ben will be so proud

Comments 18

  1. I once actually did get charged extra for both corn and olives at a Subway (do American Subways offer corn?–UK ones do), so I wrote in and complained about how ridiculous it was to be charged extra when my sandwich cost them so much less than any other sandwich on the menu. I got an email back saying they’d given my complaint to the manager at that branch, and if I went in and gave my name I would get a free sub with all the complimentary fixings I desired. I think they assumed I would be too embarrassed to show up all “hi yes, I’m the complainy olive girl.” They were wrong.

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  2. So your story about the extra veggies is bringing back a memory of my grandmother going to Subway with me (when I was vegetarian) and basically bullying them into adding extra cheese for me. I’ve worked at Subway, though. I was probably the only person who made sure I changed the knife when somebody ordered a veggie sub. I also got so bored with eating that veggie sub that I made up a whole bunch of new vegetarian options.

    I think Subway is actually testing some vegan options, though.

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      Yup! I hear they are indeed testing three new vegan options. I believe they’re being rolled out first in Canada as a test market thingy. I pray to God they’ll make it here! That would be a HUGE win if all Subways offered vegan options! And not just for vegans to order — but for visiblity of vegan options, and to show people just how easy it is to be vegan!

      Here’s an article about it:
      https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/subway-offers-three-new-vegan-sandwiches/

  3. Great post – and good for you for (not seeming to) mind having to go through all the hassle to get your non-contaminated vegan sub from Subway. (the “ordeal” you reference for all parties involved is how I feel as well when I go to a place like this to get a sandwich made) There’s a Pita Pit on the corner of my street, and they can make you a good falafel pita; however, that involves the hassle of having to get them to cook the falafels on an uncontaminated part of the grill, and then change their gloves (making sure not to touch cheese or meat with the new gloves while multitasking at making another person’s death pita at the same time as yours), and then the awkwardness of trying to explain to them WHY you are asking them for these seemingly tremendously odd and picky requests, when you know they really just don’t get it.

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      Actually, if the people are Indian or Middle Eastern (as they usually are when I go to falafel places here in NYC), they are usually very respectful and understanding of one’s desire to abstain from animal ingredients. Stand up for your beliefs and don’t worry about how they take it. Their discomfort is not yours to nurse.

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  4. What would possess you to eat at Subway if you’re a vegan (or an omnivore, for that matter)? Of course they touch meat with their hands. It’s Subway. You seem like a smart person, so i can’t imagine that you’re really surprised/put-off when the sandwich artists don’t automatically to change their gloves for you. It sounds like you’re just trying to get attention.

    Let me offer you a tip on how to be a better vegan. Make your own sandwiches at home. It’s probably going to be more delicious and inexpensive if you make it yourself as well.

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    Thanks for the comment, San. If it were as simple as preparing all my meals myself, I certainly would. I don’t know if you live in New York City but here, stopping home to eat between errands, jobs, plans with friends, etc… is pretty much impossible and as a person who works several jobs, eating on the go is a reality for me.

    That said, I feel that as a paying customer I’m perfectly justified in asking for what it is that I want. Could I work on being nicer about it? Yeah. Always.

    Mind you, I don’t believe I said I’m surprised that the don’t automatically change their gloves. That’s why I’m always ready to ask for this in advance – I’m aware it’s a special request. I’m also aware that at the end of the day, they would probably rather have my business than lose it.

  6. Get over yourself. I don’t care how old this post is. These employees? They are just trying to make by. You’re giving vegans a bad name. The employees are just trying to get by at their shitty $7.25 hourly jobs, and the kinds of you do not make it any better. Be more respectful the next time to decide to go out to eat vegan. Not everyone thinks the same as we do.

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  7. I’m vegan and I work retail and honestly I hate you, you are so obnoxious and annoying, just ask them to not cut the thing and leave the poor employees alone, they don’t get paid enough to deal with your crap.

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      Thanks for weighing in, Daniela. To be honest (this is Ben here) I got a lot of negative feedback about this and it did give me a chance to think about it more from their point of view. When I wrote this post, I was definitely exaggerating it for the sake of comedy, but I can definitely see what could be irritating about the tone of the piece (and MY tone). For what it’s worth, this post is nearly four years old so I’m sure you can imagine I’ve had time to make some changes in my approach. Honestly I’ve kinda given up the whole “new gloves” fight, so I hope that puts a happy ending on this story.

      And hey, while I’ve got your attention — I can probably do without being told “I hate you”. I’m sure you didn’t actually mean to tell another human being you haven’t met “I hate you”. Especially a fellow vegan. Especially not knowing enough about me as a person to have such strong feelings about me. I think we already got enough hate in the world. I’m sure there are things you’ve done or said four years ago that someone else might take issue with so — how’s about we all give each other a tad more credit and a tad less hostility? That might be fun, right?

      Big hugs!! (With new gloves, of course!)

  8. In the UK gloves are automatically changed when you order a veggie sub… Why would they offer veggie options if they weren’t willing to change them? I really don’t see why there’s so much complaining about you wanting fresh gloves. People wanting the gloves swapped for religious reasons wouldn’t get a single comment.

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