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America's Best Gluten-free Mexican Fast Food Chains
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
Celiac.com 03/20/2015 - Mexican food and tacos are one of my most consistent gluten-free food options. If I'm on the road, or pressed for time, sometimes fast food chains are the only option.
But not all Mexican fast food chains are created equal when it comes to gluten-free options. Some do a good job, others do not.
So here is a list of Mexican fast food chains that do a good job with gluten-free food options. As always, your individual experience at any of these restaurants may vary, so observe, ask questions about any item you're not sure about, and gauge your comfort level accordingly.
If you have feedback, or know of any other Mexican fast food chains that offer good gluten-free food options, be sure to tell us in the comments below.
Best Mexican Fast Food Chains:
Chipotle gets high marks for gluten-free options. Pretty much everything that is not served with a flour tortilla is gluten-free.
So, at Chiptole, that means all soft and hard corn taco shells, all meats, beans, vegetables and sides are gluten-free.
#2: El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco is another chain where you can get a good, healthy meal without thinking too hard about gluten.
El Pollo Loco gluten-free menu includes their flame grilled Mexican chicken, corn tortillas, pinto beans, refried beans, avocado salsa, Cotija Cheese, mixed vegetables, and flan.
Basically, avoid any flour tortillas, and you can easily eat gluten-free at El Pollo Loco.
#3: Jimboy's Tacos
Jimboy's has long been a favorite of mine, because they prepare all their food fresh from scratch and offer a pretty robust gluten-free menu that includes Jimboy's original tacos, including bean, ground beef, chicken, steak, and carnitas, Tacoburgers, Taquitos in both ground beef, and chicken, Tostadas, including bean, ground beef, chicken, and steak, Ground Beef Kid's Taco, Ground Beef Pepper Poppers, and Jimboy's Guacamole & Sour Cream.
#4: Baja Fresh
Baja Fresh offers a pretty good range of options for gluten-free eaters. Gluten-free options include Baja Tacos made with corn tortillas, any “Bare style” burrito, and any Baja Ensalada with choice of steak, chicken, or grilled shrimp, as well as grilled vegetables, carnitas, rice, and both varieties of beans.
All Baja Fresh dressings and salsas are gluten-free.
Qdoba is another fast Mexican food chain that offers a solid eating experience for gluten-free diners. Qdoba's gluten-free menu options include all Chicken, Chorizo, Flat Iron Steak, Ground Sirloin, Pork, and Seasoned Shredded Beef.
Also gluten-free are their Soft White Corn Tortilla, Cilantro Lime Rice, Black Beans, Tortilla Soup, all Salsas and Dressings, 3 Cheese Queso and Guacamole.
#6 Taco Cabana
I had the good fortune of trying Taco Cabana on a trip to Albuquerque a while back. I was not disappointed.
Taco Cabana does gluten-free eaters right with a wide variety of gluten-free options, including their Black, Borracho, and Refried beans, their Barbacoa, Chicken Fajita Meat, Rotisserie Chicken, Shredded Chicken Taco Meat in their Crispy Tacos, Chorizo, Chalupas or Nachos Steak Fajita Meat, Ground Beef Taco Meat (Crispy Tacos, Chalupas or Nachos), and Street Tacos in both Chicken & Steak.
As with most places on this list, diners can substitute corn tortillas for flour tortillas in all tacos, fajitas, & plates.
Other gluten-free options include Guacamole, Hash Brown Potatoes, Pico de Gallo, Rice, and Salsas – Fuego, Roja, Verde, Ranch, and Sour Cream.
#7: Mighty Taco
Mighty Taco makes it easy on gluten-free eaters by offering any taco with a corns shell, and most anything else on their menu except flour tortillas.
Mighty Taco's gluten-free menu includes: Mighty Taco with Seasoned Ground Beef or Chicken, Mighty Pack with Seasoned Ground Chicken, Refried Bean and Cheese, Meatless Mighty, Veggies and Cheese, Seasoned Ground Chicken, Seasoned Ground Beef, Fajita Chicken, Buffito Chicken, and the Taco Beef Salad, Mighty Chicken Salad, Chicken Fajita Salad, and the Chicken Buffito Salad.
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