Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs every year, which roughly translates to 70 hot dogs per person annually. Whether it's a backyard barbecue or a ballgame, Americans love a traditional frank. And that's especially true in Chicago where Portillo's has been serving hot dogs and Maxwell Street Polish sausages for nearly 60 years. But what's available for hungry vegans looking for the American classic? Surprisingly, plant-based customers can leave extremely satisfied with a beloved Chicago-style vegan hot dog when they visit Portillo's.

This May, Portillo's launched its first plant-based hot dog with the help of Field Roast. The vegan option features a Chicago-style hot dog made from 100 percent plant-based protein. This meatless frank is topped with traditional Chicago toppings, providing hungry guests with an authentic experience without animal-based ingredients.

Unfortunately, Portillo's french fries are not vegan-friendly, so plant-based guests cannot get the full Chicago hot dog experience. The fast food company fries its onion rings and french fries in beef tallow, rendering them unfriendly to vegan customers. When completing your meal order, make sure to order a side salad instead of fries! Here's everything that's vegan at Portillo's.

Everything Vegan at Portillo's

Similar to other fast-food restaurants, Portillo's does not guarantee that its plant-based menu items entirely avoid cross-contamination with meat and dairy ingredients.

Vegan Hot Dogs at Portillo's

  • Plant-Based Garden Dog: With the help of Field Roast, Portillo's first signature vegan hot dog comes with all the traditional Chicago toppings including mustard, relish, onion, tomatoes, sport peppers, and pickles.
  • Veggie Hot Dog: This vegetable-packed bun contains sliced tomatoes, onions, kosher pickles, sports peppers, celery salt, relish, ketchup, and mustard.

Vegan Bread at Portillo's

  • French Bread, 6 inch
  • Hamburger Bun
  • Hot Dog Bun

Plant-Based Sides & Salads at Portillo's

  • Garden Side Salad: Pick your favorite dressing to complete this salad featuring red cabbage, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes over a Tuscan spring mix and chopped romaine. Order without shredded cheese or croutons.
  • Greek Salad: Order this salad without chicken, feta cheese, or the Greek Vinaigrette. We suggest adding the roasted garlic vinaigrette instead. Then this salad features red onions, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and cucumber over a bed of chopped romaine.

Dairy Free Sauces & Dressings at Portillo's

  • BBQ Sauce
  • House Dressing
  • Lite Italian Dressing
  • Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Why Processed Meat is Unhealthy

Most hungry customers visit Portillo's to grab a traditional hot dog made from several overly processed animal ingredients. But eating processed meat regularly can have serious health implications that include heart disease and cancer risk. Eating processed meat regularly raises the risk of colon cancer by 29 percent, and that especially includes hot dogs. Several studies have shown that diets high in red and processed meat increase the risk of gastrointestinal cancers and disease. 

Regular red and processed meat consumption is also linked to an 18 percent increase in heart disease risks. Heart disease affects 48 percent of the American population, and likely more, considering that many people suffer from high blood pressure, a cause of heart disease, without knowing it since it has few symptoms –– the reason it earned the moniker of "silent killer," according to medical experts.

Adopting a plant-based diet or choosing a veggie hot dog next time you visit Portillo's can significantly help curb these health risks. One study shows that a mostly plant-based diet can prolong life expectancy by 10 years or more. One California lawsuit even aimed to have processed meat marked as a dangerous carcinogen by the state's government.  The research claims that eating 50 grams of processed meat greatly increases the risk of cancer. The demand includes hot dogs, deli meat, and bacon.

For more delicious plant-based fare, visit The Beet's Find Vegan Near Me articles. 

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