2016 saw me frequenting Welcome Breaks and I shared my tips for how to find vegan food at Welcome Break service stations back then. Recently, however, I’ve had to pop in to Moto service stations a few times. It’s still mostly an excuse for me to get some feeling back into my numb areas and stretch my legs, whilst my OH is firmly addicted to his coffee (his order is a medium soy cappuccino, if you were wondering!).
If you haven’t read my previous post on finding vegan food at UK service stations, I’ll fill you in: there are three main brands that dominate the motorways across the country. Moto, Roadchef, and Welcome Break. Each has their own set of brands, but not all brands are at all service stations. However, after (many) drives I’ve determined that there is a trend to what’s available. I’ve put asterisks (*) next to the most commonly seen options.
- Moto: Burger King*, Costa*, EDC*, Greggs, WHSmith*, Arlo’s, Harvester, The Fifth Wheel Bar & Grill, M&S Simply Food*, West Cornwall Pasty Co, El Mexicana, Chow
- Roadchef: Costa*, McDonalds*, Fresh Food Cafe*, RestBite!, WHSmith*, Hot Food Company, Cho Zen Noodle, Soho Coffee Co, Carvery Express, Krispy Kreme*, Spar
- Welcome Break: deli2go, tossed, Ed’s Easy Diner, Waitrose*, KFC*, Starbuck*s, WHSmith*, Subway*, Papa Johns*, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King*, Harry Ramsdens
Tip 1: Go Prepared
If at all possible, take your own food if you’re planning on stopping. I’d say this even if I wasn’t vegan. Why? Service stations are expensive! However, I’m the first to admit I nearly always don’t do this, either because I forget to prep or because we have nothing suitable for travel. Sigh.
Tip 2: Know your options
Similar to tip 2 from Welcome Break is again, don’t get overwhelmed and just assume there isn’t anything to eat. Whether you’re vegan or not, service station food isn’t fine dining and, importantly, isn’t aiming to be. It’s there to fill your belly and get you through to your destination.
At the time of writing (April 2017), the following “fast food” options are there for the taking:
It is totally possible to be a vegan AND eat at Burger King… just not a lot. A recent check of their allergen menu tells me their Veggie Patty isn’t vegan (contains eggs) so you’ll get the fries, onion rings and/or garden salad.
If you want an easy breakfast, order toast with jam. Any milk drink can be made with soy milk but not all the add ins are suitable, so check out my vegan Costa Coffee guide. Food is very limited, but you can usually grab a snack bar at the tills called a “Crumble bar”, dried mango, nuts and they also have popcorn and crisps.
EDC (the eat & drink co)
Want to eat a meal with a knife and fork? The EDC menu offers up a few safe bets like beans on toast! Or how about chips and beans? Jacket potato and beans? Though what with you being on a road trip and all… all those beans…
The garlic bread is also okay, as are the mushy peas and all the other vegetables, according to their allergen menu.
A word of caution on items that look vegan, but contain animal products:
- EDC Carrot and coriander soup isn’t vegan (contains milk and egg)
- Galaxy hot chocolate has milk in it
- EDC hash browns aren’t vegan
Occasionally, I’ll see a vegan sandwich option but to be honest don’t rely on it. Go in here for a snack because vegan sandwiches are a rare spot at service station WHSmiths. Grab some crips, popcorn, Trek bars or Oreos, if you just want to grab a quick snack.
M&S Simply Food?
My usual hunting spot at Moto is, admittedly, not as good as it’s equivalent at Welcome Break, Waitrose. M&S, in the last two service stations I’ve visited, didn’t have any vegan sandwiches. At all. They did have several pre-mixed salads, which are more than lettuce and tomato. My favourite is the Buckwheat Noodle & Broccoli Salad.
West Cornwall Pasty Co?
You’d think you would need to skip over this one, but actually no! Get their Wholemeal Vegetable Pasty and add in some hash browns or wedges if you’re hungry.
Tip 3: Get Creative
As with Welcome Break, there are ways to make more of a meal from your service station stop especially you’re willing to queue up a couple of times. If you’re with another person, or a group: divide and conquer where necessary!
- Chips and salad: one of my favourite things to eat at home when I want something simple. Order chips from EDC or Burger King, pair with a premade simple leaf salad from M&S.
- Samosa salad: As above, but pair some vegetable samosas from M&S
- Falafel salad: As above, but pair some falafel from M&S (not all the falafel are vegan, so check first)
- Mezze platter: works best for 2 or more (or if you’re very hungry). Get some hummus, sundried tomatoes, grilled peppers, olives and (if they have any) bread from M&S. Search their salad section for fun additions like Tabbouleh.
- Pasty dinner: Order a Wholemeal Vegetable Pasty, beans and/or mushy peas and wedges (all from West Country Pasty).
- Hash brown bap: A cheeky breakfast favourite! Order hash browns and a roll with tomato ketchup or brown sauce, all from West Country Pasty.
- Falafel sandwich: If there’s no bread at M&S, get a baguette or roll from EDC/West Country Pasty. Smear with hummus or salsa and stuff full of falafel (all from M&S)