Is Chipotle gluten free?


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Ahhhhh, just the thought of that delicious burrito bowl…

Chipotle

Gluten Free Chipotle

Yes, I know you are salivating with me.  Those fresh ingredients, piled high with cheese and salsa…the smell of those meats simmering…a dollop of the world’s best guacamole on top…

Hungry yet?  I thought so.  So am I!

There is good news if you’re a Chipotle lover!

 But, I have to outline my findings first.

Update:  Before I go on, if you are not familiar with my blog and the reason for my articles, be sure to read this first for the perspective of this article in the sense of a true gluten free lifestyle.

I have had many wonderful things to say about Chipotle.  They are were my go to on the run.  When the days are short and the activity list is long, and I am unprepared…Chipotle can used to be the rescue for our busy family.

Okay, that seems harsh.  Why did I cross out those words above?  Because I just did research on what I was going to recommend that you could eat safely, to make sure I was up to date on everything.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this message on their ingredients list:

“At restaurants in the New York Metropolitan area (including New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Northern New Jersey, and Southwestern Connecticut) we are using Rice Bran Oil in our [steak/barbacoa/dressing/chicken/fajita vegetables], while in other restaurants we use Soybean Oil. We are currently in the process of transitioning the rest of our restaurants to cooking with Rice Bran Oil.”

I am actually sitting here seething as I type.  Why, why, why do the ingredients constantly have to change to things like this?!  I am pretty adept at listening to my body.  It tells me quietly that something is causing inflammation.  And now I’m going to be honest with you…lately, after eating Chipotle, I have been ignoring the way my body felt.  I didn’t want to know that Chipotle could be the cause (I love it!), so I always assumed it was this or that other thing I had eaten that day.  Now I know, and there’s no going back!  I will not risk a major illness (which can happen easily when you have gluten sensitivity) just due to indulging in a food that I want.  Those days are over for me, and I hope they are for you, too!

Not that I previously approved of soybean oil, but rice bran oil is not any better for you.  I’m not going to lie…it’s rather upsetting!  So, I am going to have to change my recommendation based on what I just found, but there is some good news, read on…

Typically, my choice of dish at Chipotle since changing to a true gluten free lifestyle has been a salad, with a double scoop of pinto beans, barbacoa, tomato salsa, and cheese.  Occasionally I indulged with guacamole.  With a few tweaks, and after reviewing every ingredient on their ingredients page, I have a new salad that you can order!  Just follow the steps bulleted below to keep yourself safe.  

Steps for Gluten Free Chipotle

  • Say to the initial staff person:  “I have multiple food intolerances (or allergies, since that is commonly understood), could you please change your gloves?”
  • The staff person will wash their hands and change their gloves (make sure they don’t inadvertently lay their hands on the tortillas!)
  • Order a salad in a to go container (no dressing)
  • Order lettuce, carnitas, tomato salsa, cheese, and sour cream (if desired); the same person who changed their gloves should do all of this for you (unless the entire line changed their gloves)
  • PALEO option:  Leave out the cheese and sour cream
  • You can order a side of guacamole, or have them add it to the top of the salad; there is an extra charge either way, but it really is delicious!

To go indepth, below are the items (listed in red) of the ingredients that are not healthy for anyone with gluten sensitivity:

  • Rice:  A grain containing gliadin
  • Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Steak, Chicken, Barbacoa, and Fajita Vegetables:  All cooked in soybean oil or rice bran oil
  • Corn Salsa:  Contains corn, a grain containing gliadin
  • Salad Dressing:  Contains red wine vinegar and either soybean oil or rice bran oil
  • Tortilla:  Made with wheat flour
  • Corn Chips:  Made with corn, a grain containing gliadin

I think Chipotle has done a wonderful job of being open about their ingredients, sourcing locally when possible, avoiding GMO’s when possible, and using pasture-based dairy.  I give them five stars for all of that!  While I am saddened at the use of rice bran oil, they do say on their website that they are trying to change to sunflower oil.  Hopefully that does occur at some point down the line.

This will be an adjustment for me, as well.  At least we still have an option!  I’m always looking out for your perfect health. 🙂

~GGF Gourmet

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Diana Viers says:

    I have started a low protein diet. Not by choice but for a medical reason. I have an issue with anything that has corn or peanuts or meat. I have eaten at chipotle a few time and I always leave unsatisfied. I will leave chipotle also. But because of the ingredients that are being used it does not fit in my diet and it does not agree with my sensitivity with certain foods.

  2. Celiac Teen Dad says:

    Jen,

    Thanks for posting the “danger” ingredients. We’ve had two very different results at Chipotle’s here locally. At one, the whole serving line changed their gloves and switched out tongs and even the ingredient containers if my son’s order included them. At the other, only the first person changed gloves and then passed his food down the line. Safe to say, my son had two very different reactions. Just wish that there was more consistency from the chain.

    CTD

    • Agreed, Chris! I’m sure this is the challenge in any restaurant franchise – consistency. I believe the correct protocol is the one you mentioned in your first experience, but the more typical experience I’ve had is that the first person changes their gloves and then makes the entire meal themselves. However, I’ve never had any of them switch out the tongs – that’s the first time I’ve heard that! On a couple of occasions I’ve had them get the lettuce and cheese out of fresh bags, but that’s not the norm.
      I think this may warrant some follow-up…I just might have to ask Chipotle what their standard protocol should be and report back!

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