As gluten-free diets become increasingly popular, more and more restaurants are catering to customers with dietary restrictions. Qdoba, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain, is no exception.
With a variety of gluten-free options on their menu, Qdoba is a great choice for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. In this article, we will explore Qdoba gluten-free options, ingredients, and preparation methods, to help you make informed choices when dining at this popular chain.
Gluten: What You Need to Know About This Protein
Gluten is a type of protein that is commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. While gluten is generally safe for most people to consume, it can be harmful to individuals with certain medical conditions.
One of these conditions is celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed. People with celiac disease must avoid gluten in their diets to prevent symptoms and long-term health problems.
Another condition related to gluten intolerance is non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation in people who do not have celiac disease. Although the exact cause of non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not known, it is believed to be a distinct condition from celiac disease, as it does not cause damage to the small intestine.
It is important for individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity to avoid consuming foods that contain gluten, as even small amounts can cause symptoms and health problems. There are many gluten free alternatives available, such as gluten-free bread, pasta, and cereals, which can be easily incorporated into a balanced diet.
Qdoba Gluten-Free Options (Gluten Free Menu 2023)
Qdoba offers a range of gluten-free options on its menu, including bowls, salads, and tacos. Their website even has a filter that allows customers to view only gluten-free options, making it easy to find a meal that suits their dietary needs. Some popular gluten-free menu items include:
Create Your Own Entrée
One of the great things about Qdoba is that you can create your own entrée, which allows you to customize your meal according to your dietary needs. For those who are gluten intolerant, as long as you pick corn shells, you should be fine. The flour tortillas, of course, have gluten in them, so it’s best to avoid them.
Corn Tortillas and Chips
When it comes to tortillas and chips, Qdoba has several gluten-free options, but there is a risk of cross-contamination.
- Corn Tortilla Chips
- Crispy Corn Tortilla Strips
- Crispy Corn Taco Shells
These are all technically gluten-free, but there is a risk of cross-contamination with gluten-containing products during preparation. So be sure to ask the staff to prepare your food on a clean surface and with clean utensils to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
Most of the meat options at Qdoba are gluten-free, including
- Seasoned Ground Beef
- Seasoned Shredded Beef
- Grilled Marinated Chicken
- Pulled Pork
- Grilled Steak
- and Smoked Brisket
However, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the staff to make sure that there are no gluten-containing ingredients in the seasoning or marinade.
Plant-Based Impossible Protein
For vegetarians and vegans, Qdoba now offers Impossible Protein, a plant-based protein option that is gluten free and soy-free.
Beans and Rice
All of the beans and rice options at Qdoba are gluten-free, including:
- Black Beans
- Brown Rice
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Pinto Beans
Sauces and Salsas
Qdoba has a wide variety of gluten-free sauces and salsas to choose from, including:
- Black Bean Corn Salsa
- Guacamole Mango Salsa (seasonal)
- Pico de Gallo
- Queso Diablo
- Red Chile Sauce
- Roasted Chile Corn Salsa
- Salsa Roja
- Salsa Verde
Most of the toppings at Qdoba are gluten-free, including:
- Bacon (Smoked)
- Bacon Jalapeño Queso
- Cheese (Cotija and Shredded)
- Chipotle Cream Sauce
- Cilantro Lime Dressing (seasonal)
- Fajita Vegetables
- Fat-Free Picante Ranch
- Fiery Habanero
- Mexican Caesar Dressing
- Sour Cream (Lite)
- Three Cheese Queso
For those who are looking for a smaller meal, Qdoba offers a few options that are gluten-free, including Mini Bowls and Tortilla Soup Cups.
If you’re looking for a side dish, Qdoba offers Natural Apple Sauce.
Qdoba gluten-free options also include several signature builds, such as:
- Street Style Chicken Tacos with corn shells,
- Chicken Queso Bowl
- Chicken Protein Bowl
- Impossible Fajita Bowl
- Smoked Brisket
Qdoba also offers several gluten-free beverage options. These include
- Honest Tea Honey Green Tea
- Honest Tea Half and Half
- Vitamin Water Power C
- Vitamin Water XXX
- Vitamin Water Zero Squeezed
- white low-fat milk
- chocolate milk
- Simply Orange Juice
- Minute Maid Kid’s Apple Juice Box
It’s worth noting that while Qdoba does offer several gluten-free options, cross-contamination is possible. Customers with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance should exercise caution and ask the staff to take special precautions when preparing their meals. It’s also a good idea to check with the staff or online resources for any updates or changes to Qdoba’s gluten-free options.
Cross-Contamination on Gluten-Free Menu Ingredients and Preparation Methods
Qdoba uses a variety of ingredients in their gluten free options, including rice, beans, meats, vegetables, and various toppings. While these ingredients themselves are gluten free, they may be prepared in a kitchen that also prepares gluten-containing items. Qdoba states on their website that they cannot guarantee that their gluten-free options are 100% free from gluten due to the risk of cross-contamination.
To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, Qdoba takes steps such as using separate utensils and grilling surfaces for gluten-free items, as well as training their staff on proper food handling techniques. However, customers should still exercise caution when ordering gluten-free items, especially if they have severe gluten allergies.
FAQs Qdoba Gluten-Free Options
Are Qdoba’s chips and tortillas gluten-free?
Qdoba’s corn tortillas and chips are gluten free. However, their flour tortillas contain gluten.
Can I customize my gluten-free order at Qdoba?
Yes, Qdoba allows customers to customize their orders to suit their dietary needs. However, customers should be aware that cross-contamination may still occur in shared kitchens.
Does Qdoba have any gluten-free sauces or dressings?
Qdoba offers several gluten-free sauces and dressings, including guacamole, salsa, and hot sauce. However, customers should always double-check with their server or consult the restaurant’s website to confirm gluten-free options.
Qdoba offers a variety of gluten-free options on their menu, making it a great choice for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. While Qdoba takes steps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, customers should still exercise caution when ordering gluten-free items. By being aware of Qdoba’s ingredients and preparation methods, customers can make informed choices and enjoy a delicious meal without worrying about gluten.