I have a confession to make. I'm addicted to Chipotle and spend a lot of time (and gas money) visiting them. Our closest Chipotle is forty-five minutes round trip and worth every moment in the car. So, you're probably asking "why are you spending 45 minutes in the car to eat three tacos in ten minutes?". Because Chipotle is one of the most gluten-free friendly fast food restaurants I've visited to date.
Their staff (from management to servers) are knowledgeable of Celiac Disease and the need to ensure my order is gluten-free. I've never received a weird stare of confusion when asking for the server to change their gloves before preparing my order. That speaks volumes to my daughter and me.
Yes, dining out when you medically need to be gluten-free is a risk every time and I feel the risk is even greater when you visit a fast food restaurant. However, I can happily say that I've never had a bad experience at Chipotle. And by bad experience, I mean spending hours in the bathroom bonding with my toilet.
Chipotle's message of "Whole or Nothing" rings true with just 51 ingredients that are all non-GMO. Check out Chipotle's statement below concerning those of us who are gluten-free:
CHIPOTLE'S STATEMENT ON GLUTEN INTOLERANCE & CELIAC DISEASE
Chipotle website states: If you avoid gluten, don't eat our flour tortillas. If you are highly sensitive to gluten and would like us to change our gloves, just let us know at the start of your order. You should be aware items containing corn, including corn tortillas (chips and crispy corn tortillas) and corn salsa, may have trace amounts of gluten from potentially co-mingling with gluten-containing grains in the field.
Based on their website Nutrition / Allergen search, Wheat & Gluten categories are combined since all Chipotle gluten-containing items contain wheat.
CHIPOTLE MENU ITEMS THAT DO NOT CONTAIN GLUTEN
As of this post date, there are 23 gluten-free menu options at Chipotle (out of 25 - which is impressive!). Remember that menu items and preparation processes can change at any time, so be sure to speak with your server before ordering.
Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
Cilantro-Lime White Rice
Crispy Corn Tortilla
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Monterey Jack Cheese
Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa
Tomatillo Red-Chili Salsa
Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette
Tip: an awesome gluten-free option is a "Salad Bowl", which essentially is a delicious taco salad built to order.
NOT ALL MEXICAN FOOD IS GLUTEN-FREE
You'll find a great deal of gluten-free Mexican and Tex-Mex food options made from corn flour (maize) to create a corn dough (masa). This makes many nachos, hard shell tacos, and corn tortillas pure perfection for us!
Corn was first domesticated by native peoples in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Native Americans taught European colonists to grow the indigenous grains, and, since its introduction into Europe by Christopher Columbus and other explorers, corn has spread to all areas of the world suitable to its cultivation. Encyclopedia Britannica
Unfortunately, wheat flour is everywhere, including some Mexican food, so always read the ingredient labels in the supermarket and ask the restaurant manager before ordering.
Keep on the lookout for wheat flour in soft tortillas, burritos, chimichangas, tortilla taco bowls, quesadillas, and restaurant made deep fried flour tortilla chips. Anything with wheat flour is not gluten-free and is 100% off limits.
Did you know? Wheat flour in Spanish is harina de trigo.
GLUTEN-FREE TACO SHELL RECIPES
What's your favorite gluten-free fast food restaurant? Have you found one that "gets it" when it comes to serving gluten-free food? Share with the Hold the Gluten community in the comments below!