Find out what menu items from Qdoba do not contain gluten and what you need to know about their gluten-free options.
If you’re like me, all the Mexican restaurants in my area are on my radar. My family can’t get enough tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, and fajitas.
Qdoba offers all of these options, making them a great place to visit when the craving strikes for Mexican food.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you likely know that Mexican food is often a good option when certain ingredients are omitted and there’s no opportunity for gluten to make its way into prepared foods.
In this post, we’re going to discuss Qdoba restaurants and dig into how the company handles allergens, what menu items may be safe if you avoid gluten, and what you need to know about cross contamination at Qdoba.
We’ll also talk about gluten and cross contamination at other restaurants so you know what to expect when you go out for a meal at a fast food restaurant or other restaurant, and you can be prepared.
But first, let’s cover the basics of gluten and where you can find it in many foods.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Where can you find gluten in food?
Gluten can be found in the form of wheat and grain products, like bread or flour in the more obvious places.
You can also find gluten as a binding ingredient, an ingredient added for texture like to make a food more crispy, or as a thickening agent.
Where can you find gluten in restaurants?
Depending on the restaurant you’re visiting, you may find gluten in a variety of places.
At fast food restaurants, there will be gluten in hamburger buns, the breading of crispy chicken sandwiches or chicken nuggets, some French fries, salad dressings, croutons on salad, and chili or soup options.
At other restaurants, you’ll find gluten in flour in sauces, in pizza or other pastry dough, pasta, and as a thickener in some soups.
Where gluten is found in the menu items will vary from restaurant to restaurant. That’s why it’s always a good idea to review menus from home, and see if you can find any allergen information before you get to the restaurant itself.
Being able to review nutritional information and allergen statements before visiting a fast food restaurant can be the difference between ordering something that you think is safe for your gluten-free diet and getting sick.
Being knowledgeable about what specific menu items you’ll be able to eat without any worries of later reactions is crucial to sticking with your gluten-free diet.
Qdoba allergen statement
There isn’t a current allergen statement on the Qdoba website. However, the Allergen menu from 2020 has this statement:
“Foods prepared at Qdoba may contain or may have come in contact with eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Please request to speak to management if you have any questions or concerns.”
The updated Allergen Information document doesn’t have this statement, however we can assume the same information is true for all Qdoba restaurants.
What you need to know about the gluten-free options at Qdoba
Qdoba, like many other Mexican restaurants, has a number of ingredients that do not contain gluten, in their corn tortillas, meat, cheese, and toppings.
The easiest way to find out which menu options and ingredients are safe for you and your diet is to look at the Dietary Preferences section of their website. This document outlines which menu items will work for different diets, like Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Friendly, Keto-Friendly, and Low Carb.
This is also the document I’ve used to create the updated list of menu items that may be safe for folks on a gluten-free diet later on in this post.
The best options from Qdoba if you’re following a gluten-free diet are their bowls and salads.
What to know about cross contamination at restaurants
Most fast food and carryout restaurants are not considered gluten-free establishments so it’s useful to keep this in mind when making decisions about where to go and what to order.
It’s important to know that even if a fast food restaurant claims that their menu items do not contain gluten, that the possibility and probability of gluten in their products is going to be high if there is even one menu item with gluten available.
Depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten, this can be make or break information for you.
If you are Celiac and are allergic to trace amounts of gluten, you’ll likely want to avoid most fast food restaurants that offer any bread products or French fries that are cooked in a shared fryer with other gluten-containing ingredients.
If you are not sensitive to gluten at the trace level and have adverse reactions to gluten due to a food intolerance, you may decide that these trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination are worth risking for a quick, easy, and convenient food option.
Being aware of how you have reacted to gluten in your diet in the past and how much gluten it takes for your body to react is useful knowledge when it comes to situations like these.
Use your best judgment about what you know about your body, how you react to gluten, and what the risks are for you specifically.
Qdoba Gluten-free Menu Items
The information listed here is from the Current Qdoba Menu from their website that lists which ingredients work for different dietary preferences.
- Chicken Fresca Bowl
- Chicken Protein Bowl
- Chicken Queso Bowl
- Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken Bowl
- Citrus Lime Chicken Salad
- Fajita Vegan Bowl
- Impossible Fajita Bowl
- Low-Cal Chicken Grain Bowl
- Paleo Chicken Salad
- Smoke Brisket (Keto) Bowl
- Apple Sauce, Natural
- Black Beans
- Brisket Birria
- Chile Corn Salsa
- Chile Crema
- Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken
- Chopped Cilantro
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Citrus Lime Vinaigrette
- Cotija Cheese
- Fajita Veggies
- Grilled Adobo Chicken
- Ground Beef
- Grilled Steak
- Habanero Salsa
- Hand Crafted Guacamole
- Jalapeno Verde
- Picante Ranch Dressing
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Pickled Red Onion
- PIco de Gallo
- Pinto Beans
- Plant-Based Impossible
- Pulled Pork
- Queso Diablo
- Ranch Dressing
- Roasted Tomato Salsa
- Romaine Lettuce
- Salsa Roja
- Salsa Verde
- Seasoned Brown Rice
- Shredded Cheese
- Soft Corn Tortillas (may contain gluten)
- Sour Cream
- Soybean Oil
- Smoked Brisket
- 3-Cheese Queso
- Tortilla Chips (may contain gluten)
- Tortilla Strips (may contain gluten)
If you enjoy Qdoba food, I hope this information will give you a quick answer as to which ingredients and menu items will work best for you and your gluten-free diet.
More Gluten-free Restaurant Menu Items
If you’re looking at other popular restaurants and wondering what gluten-free menu items they offer, be sure to check out my Gluten-free Restaurant Guide. I’ve outlined all the gluten-free options from 45+ popular restaurants and fast food chains.
- Gluten-free Fast Food: Options from Major Chains
- Gluten and Dairy-free Diet: 4 Restaurant Tips
- Applebee’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Arby’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Blaze Pizza Gluten-free Menu Items
- Boston Market Gluten-free Menu Items
- Buffalo Wild Wings Gluten-free Menu Items
- Burger King Gluten-free Menu Items
- California Pizza Kitchen Gluten-free Menu Items
- Cheesecake Factory Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chick-Fil-A Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chilis Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chipotle Gluten-free Menu Items
- Cracker Barrel Gluten-free Menu Items
- Culver’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Denny’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Dunkin Donuts Gluten-free Menu Items
- Einstein Bros Bagels Gluten-free Menu Items
- Firehouse Subs Gluten-free Menu Items
- Five Guys Gluten-free Menu Items
- IHOP Gluten-free Menu Items
- Jack In The Box Gluten-free Menu Items
- Jimmy John’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- KFC Gluten-free Menu Items
- Little Caesar’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Longhorn Steakhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- McDonald’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- MOD Pizza Gluten-free Menu Items
- Olive Garden Gluten-free Menu Items
- Outback Steakhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- Panda Express Gluten-free Menu Items
- Panera Gluten-free Menu Items
- Papa Johns Gluten-free Menu Items
- Papa Murphy’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- P.F. Chang’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Pizza Hut Gluten-free Menu Items
- Qdoba Gluten-free Menu Items
- Red Lobster Gluten-free Menu Items
- Red Robin Gluten-free Menu Items
- Ruby Tuesday Gluten-free Menu Items
- Shake Shack Gluten-free Menu Items
- Smashburger Gluten-free Menu Items
- Sonic Gluten-free Menu Items
- Starbucks Gluten-free Menu Items
- Subway Gluten-free Menu Items
- Taco Bell Gluten-free Menu Items
- Texas Roadhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- Wendy’s Gluten-free Menu Items