How To Eat Gluten Free (And Well) At 15 Chain Restaurants
For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, fast food restaurants and restaurant chains can be a scary place. Since most of the items are pre-made and frozen, or made in mass at the beginning of the day, altering your order can be out of the question. Not to mention that fast food and chain restaurants are known and loved for their gluten-heavy foods (anything fried, or turned into a patty melt, or “Parmesaned”). Luckily a lot of restaurants have realized that by not offering gluten-free options, they’re missing out on a huge group of foodies. Now you don’t have to be the one friend, in a group full of five hungry people who stalls the Jack in the Box trip because you, “Need to call and ask about their ingredients, first…” Here is how to eat gluten-free and well at chain restaurants.
Boston Market is all about the sides. Lucky for you, a lot of those sides are gluten-free. You can happily nosh away on the loaded mashed potatoes, the garlicky spinach, the Mediterranean green beans, and the famous cinnamon apple slices.
Buca di Beppo
Buca di Beppo has a full gluten-free menu that offers most of its classic with gluten free pasta. You can tailor-make your pasta dish because they usually have gluten-free options in every form of pasta.
Chili’s offers a full menu that lists their gluten-free items online. The star items are the Caribbean salad with shrimp, topped with avocado-ranch dressing, the Memphis Dry Rub ribs and the sweet corn on the cob.
If your partner drags you to Hooter’s to enjoy some cleavage with his cole slaw, you can actually enjoy some pretty delicious options. The big grilled fish sandwich or the Hooter’s burger (sans bun) don’t have any gluten in the seasoning.
It’s not a night at Red Robin without ordering one of their gourmet burgers. You don’t need to get a boring strip of grilled chicken here; the RR Bacon Cheeseburger and the Tavern Burger don’t have any gluten.
If you want a restaurant where everybody, with all sorts of dietary restrictions, can eat, go to Claim Jumper. For the GF diner, you can safely eat these scrumptious items: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, the California Chicken Tortillas, and the Norwegian Salmon. You can eat a lot of items here, actually, but these are some standout GF items.
When your friends are getting meat-stacked sandwiches, you can’t exactly go bunless—that would be a pile of meat. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it might lack the variety your crave. Try the chopped farmhouse salad—it’s loaded with veggies, guacamole, cheese, beans, rice, and meat.
At Chipotle, order a burrito bowl with a side of corn tortillas. If you order corn tortilla tacos, you don’t get much filling. Ordering the burrito bowl with a side of corn tortillas lets you stuff your tacos as much as you want, sans the gluten.
Fried chicken wouldn’t be fried chicken without gluten. But you can still get a pretty yummy meal at the chicken chain. Order the red beans and rice. The beans are spicy and filling, and the rice gives you a nice carbo load.
If you’re craving a little south of the border munchies, Taco Bell isn’t off the menu. Get the tacos supreme, which is made with crunchy corn tortillas. You can also try the tostada, which has beans, meat, sour cream, guac, lettuce, tomatoes and onions on top of a crispy corn tortilla.
Olive Garden took a cue from Buca di Beppo and makes most of their signature items gluten-free. Stick to marinara sauce for gluten-free pasta sauce. The breadsticks will be off limits, but a lot of their soups are gluten free.
The Baja Ensalada is loaded with salsa, roasted veggies, meat, lettuce, beans and more. You can also order any burrito “bare” style, which just means it comes without the flour tortilla.
Bubba Gump Shrimp
Just because you can’t order the breaded shrimp doesn’t mean you can’t leave satisfied. Try the classic shrimp cocktail, the Fresh Fish Cajun Style, the Mahi-Mahi, and veggie skewer or the tossed chicken cobb salad.
There are some pretty tasty GF options at Red Lobster that don’t make you feel like you’re missing out, like the garlic shrimp scampi, the bacon wrapped shrimp, and the live Maine lobster.
Outback is a pretty easy place for GF diners to enjoy themselves at. Skip the fries since these have gluten-heavy seasoning, and substitute in a baked potato. The Herb Roasted Prime Rib is an option, as is the sweet glazed pork tenderloin, the shrimp Caesar salad and the Aussie Chicken Cob without the croutons.