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Chick-fil-A without the chicken? The fast food chain is testing new vegan items

The beloved fast food chain is exploring how to add more vegan-friendly fare to its menu.
A vegan "chicken" biscuit may be coming to a Chick-fil-A near you!
A vegan "chicken" biscuit may be coming to a Chick-fil-A near you! Getty Images, Chick-Fil-A
/ Source: TODAY

As more people jump on the vegan and vegetarian train, large restaurant chains are starting to incorporate more plant-based proteins to their menus.

Chick-fil-A already has quite a few vegan and vegetarian options that are mostly sides and salads, but now the beloved chicken chain is looking into exploring how to beef up its menu with more meatless fare.

In a recent interview, Amanda Norris, the executive director of the menu at Chick-fil-A, told Business Insider that the chain has been conducting research on meat-free, vegan options for several years to try to understand what its customers actually want to see on the menu. "We think it is certainly beyond just no meat on salads or no meat in a wrap. It might be some kind of alternative protein on a sandwich," she said.

Of course, the chain's menu isn't currently devoid of all veggies.

The Spicy Southwest Salad can be made vegan if it’s ordered without chicken or cheese, and while the creamy salad dressing usually paired with the salad is not vegan, the Chili Lime Vinaigrette can be substituted.

The chain's Grilled Market Salad and Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap can also both be made vegan-friendly when the chicken and cheese are omitted and paired with different dressings. The ever-popular waffle fries are vegan as well, as is the fruit cup ... but it’s understandable that vegans or vegetarians with heartier appetites are craving more substantial options.

All of Chick-fil-A's salads can be ordered without the chicken.
All of Chick-fil-A's salads can be ordered without the chicken. Chick-fil-A

A different representative confirmed to TODAY that, “The culinary team at Chick-fil-A is always exploring new trends and possible menu offerings for our customers, and we are still in the early phases of the development process." However, it usually takes about 18 months to two years for a new item to complete the testing phase.

Quite a few people on social media aren't quite sure why the chain, which is really all about chicken, is trying to cater to everyone.

While Chick-fil-A is still very much in the early testing phase of getting more vegan options on its menu, other fast food chains are diving right in.

Burger King has been testing the plant-based Impossible Burger in St. Louis and is now expanding the offering to Miami, Columbus, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama. McDonald’s has been trying out a own vegan burger abroad, too. IKEA is even working on a plant-based meatball.

Of course, since Chick-fil-A doesn’t have any burgers on the menu, it will be interesting to see how the chain utilizes a plant-based protein item. Un-chicken biscuits, anyone? Vegan nuggets, perhaps?