When you go gluten free, eating out at restaurants can easily become more frustrating than fun. Looking around at people enjoying all the things you used to love, just sucks sometimes. But it definitely helps if you pick the right restaurant and go in prepared.
Mexican restaurants offer quite a few gluten free options making them a great choice for those of us who follow a gluten free lifestyle. In this article, we are going to take a peek at some popular gluten free Mexican food ideas. So next time you go out to eat, you are ready!
Different restaurants offer different things, of course, so we’ll take a look at the most popular and commonly served dishes in Mexican restaurants for each category from appetizers to desserts!
Popular Gluten Free Mexican Food
The go-to appetizer in basically every Mexican restaurant is chips with salsa. So are restaurant tortilla chips gluten free? Mostly yes, just like the kind you buy for home, tortilla chips are almost always made from corn. The problem arises when the chips are fried however. If the fryer is used to fry other things, like flour tortillas, than cross-contamination is likely. So if you are highly intolerant and worried, be sure to ask the waiter.
✔ Bottom Line: Corn tortilla chips are gluten free, but ask how they are prepared to ensure no cross-contamination.
As for salsa, it is usually made with vegetables, spices and lemon or lime juice. But be mindful of additions like white vinegar or Worcestershire Sauce (also known in Salsa Inglesa) as both contain small amounts of gluten.
✔ Bottom Line: The salsa should be gluten free, but ask about ingredients to make sure.
Rice is naturally gluten free, and it is to prepare make Mexican rice without gluten. However, sometimes chicken stock or other flavoring is used that is not gluten free.
✔ Bottom Line: Order plain rice or ask for the ingredients list of the Mexican rice to make sure it is gluten free.
Refried Beans are made with pinto beans, some type of fat (grease, oil or lard) and seasonings making them naturally gluten free.
✔ Bottom Line: It never hurts to ask, but refried beans are generally gluten free.
Enchiladas can be a great gluten free choice. Since they are made with corn tortillas with meat and cheese filling and a broth-based sauce, they can easily be made gluten free.
Occasionally, however, flour is used in the sauce to thicken it, so it is important to ask your server.
✔ Bottom Line: Enchiladas are often gluten free, but ask your server about the sauce.
Tacos are my go-to order at Mexican restaurants and probably the safest choice when it comes to avoiding gluten. Because they don’t usually contain sauce, it’s easy to see the ingredients in a taco – most often meat, vegetables and cheese.
✔ Bottom Line: Tacos are a great gluten free dish to order.
A very popular Mexican dessert, flan is naturally gluten free. Made with sugar, condensed milk, eggs, heavy cream, milk, and vanilla – this dessert is delicious and perfect for those who can’t tolerate gluten. Yum!
Gluten Free Mexican Restaurant Options
Below are some of the most popular chain Mexican restaurants and their gluten free menus to help you find the gluten free version of your favorite Mexican dish.
Chipotle Gluten Free Menu
Of all the Mexican restaurants, finding gluten free options is the easiest at Chipotle. Other than flour tortillas, everything else at Chipotle is gluten free!
Click here for more information about allergens at Chipotle.
El Pollo Loco Gluten Free Menu
El Pollo Loco has a gluten free menu to help you choose the best options for you.
- Fire Grilled Chicken
- Skinless Chicken Breast
- Classic Salad (with dressing) – Chicken or Shrimp
- Mexican Cobb Salad (w/ dressing) – Chicken or Shrimp
- Ultimate Double Chicken Salad
- pinto beans
- black beans
- mashed potatoes without gravy
- Loco Side Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing
See El Pollo Loco’s website for more information.
Rubio’s Gluten Free Menu
Rubio’s gluten free manu is one of my favorites and includes many tasty options. Check it out below!
*Personal recommendation – I absolutely love the Mexican Street Corn Tacos!
- Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi Tacos with choice of grilled or blackened Mahi Mahi
- Sustainable Atlantic Salmon Tacos with choice of grilled or blackened salmon
- Grilled Gourmet Tacos with choice of chicken or steak, grilled shrimp or veggies
- Wild-Caught Mango Mahi Mahi Tacos with choice of grilled or blackened Mahi Mahi (request stone-ground corn tortillas)
- Salsa Verde Shrimp Taco (request stone-ground corn tortillas)
- Street Tacos with choice of chicken or steak
- Chicken Classic Tacos
- Steak Classic Tacos
- Mexican Street Corn Tacos
- California Bowl with your choice of protein or grilled veggies
- Cilantro Lime Quinoa Bowl protein or grilled veggies
- Mexican street corn bowl with choice of protein or grilled veggies
- Mango Avocado Salad with your choice of protein or grilled veggies
- Chopped Salad with your choice of protein or grilled veggies
- Nachos with your choice of protein or grilled veggies
- Kids Chicken Bowl with grilled chicken
- Kids build your own tacos with corn tortillas
Visit Rubio’s website for more information.
Baja Fresh Gluten Free Menu
Baja Fresh is tricky when it comes to ordering gluten free Mexican food. According to the company, even their chicken and steak contain gluten. Here are the gluten free options you can choose from.
- Baja Taco with grilled fish or shrimp
- Grilled Shrimp Taco
- Fire-Grilled Wahoo Taco
- Baja Ensalada with Shrimp
- Chili Lime Salad with Shrimp (and without tortilla strips)
Visit the Baja Fresh website for more information.
My biggest tip when it comes to eating out is to look up menus online and find restaurants that offer a gluten free menu already. These places generally are more knowledgeable when it comes to eating gluten free and are better able to help you avoid gluten in their restaurant.
I hope this article helps you enjoy Mexican food the gluten free way! For more gluten free dining advice, check out these articles, Gluten Free Chinese Food; What Can I Eat, Culver’s Gluten Free Menu, and Sushi Dining Guide.
And click here to make the BEST gluten free enchiladas at home!