Back when I was working for the federal government, finding a good gluten-free lunch was always tough. Most of the restaurants near my office were too pricey for my budget and required way too much time.
This left the food trucks that would often hang around our office building during the lunch hour. Food trucks are often inexpensive, quick and convenient, and are the perfect lunch solution if you haven’t brought something from home.
The problem? It was often extremely difficult to buy a lunch I could guarantee was gluten-free. Even if the ingredients looked safe on the surface, it was tough asking the food truck’s employees many questions when there were dozens of people impatiently waiting behind me checking the time on their Blackberry’s.
Well, things have changed and the food truck world is swept up in the sea of change that gluten-free awareness is bringing to restaurants of all stripes.
Here, we’ll discuss some food trucks that are guaranteed to provide a quick and delicious gluten-free lunch. We’ve even found two dedicated gluten-free food trucks!
The Best of Gluten-Free Food Trucks
- Boston, MA: Pennypacker’s will serve any sandwich as a salad or lettuce wrap upon request.
- New York, NY: The Squeeze is a raw restaurant and juice bar on wheels, with lots of healthy gluten-free options.
- New York, NY: CupcakeStop bills itself as New York’s First Mobile Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe. They sell gluten-free cupcakes (made by Everybody Eats Bakery) every Tuesday.
- Washington, DC: Sauca specializes in exciting global cuisine, from Vietnam to Europe and beyond. They often serve up gluten-free dishes.
- Minneapolis, MN: Dandelion Kitchen dishes up healthy, handcrafted, locally-sourced fare. Most soups and salads are gluten-free and other dishes may be as well.
- Atlanta, GA: The Fry Guy only makes fries in their fryer, which makes their fries safer for people with food allergies or celiac disease. They have a variety of gluten-free dipping sauces available.
- Atlanta, GA: Wow! Food Truck makes gluten-free arepas with meat and vegetable fillings.
- Asheville, NC: Veggie Love is a vegetarian food truck that serves exclusively gluten-free food, including raw and seasonal specialties and popular baked goods.
- Nashville, TN: Riffs Fine Street Food features incredible fresh, seasonal creations that include gluten-free substitutes for bread, croutons, and more.
- Nashville, TN: The Grilled Cheeserie is a “Gourmet Grilled Cheese Truck” that will serve up any sandwich on gluten-free bread.
- Denver, CO: Quiero Arepas serves up Venezuelan arepas made in a kitchen that’s gotten a stamp of approval from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness!
- Toronto, ON: Gourmet B1tches is 100% gluten-free and dishes up Tamarind Kiwi Beef Tacos, Gluten-Free Waffles, Dry Rubbed Asian Cuban Chicken Wings and Shrimp Tacos topped with fresh shrimp coated in a gluten-free batter and deep fried.
Of course, this list gives just a small taste of what’s available out there. Food trucks are popping up in smaller cities, as well, and more chefs are becoming gluten-savvy so you may be able to find your next gluten-free lunch in at a food truck near you. Food trucks come and go, and are frequently changing their menus and locations, so confirm with any of these food trucks that their dishes are gluten-free.
Gluten cross-contamination is a big concern in the tiny, cramped kitchens aboard most food trucks. If you can’t find a food truck that is entirely gluten-free, consider asking about what steps they take to segregate gluten-free food safely:
- If the food truck will serve your sandwich on gluten-free bread, are they toasting it in a contaminated toaster?
- If you’re ordering gluten-free pancakes, what steps are taken to clean the griddle or to prepare your pancakes in a separate pan?
- What other items have been fried in the fryer with your French fries?
These are all the same questions we must ask at any restaurant, but in kitchens that are short on space and have to minimize the equipment they keep on hand, the questions are even more critical.
With these tips in mind, go out there and explore the world of food trucks. Ask lots of questions, no matter how many impatient Blackberry-wielding workers are behind you!
What are your experiences with food trucks near you? Are there any with gluten-free options that we missed? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!