Mexican cuisine is a staple for many on a gluten-free diet. That’s because so many Mexican foods are naturally gluten free. Beans, rice, corn and avocados are all naturally gluten-free foods… and delicious staples of the Mexican diet.
Mexican food uses corn masa (corn flour) in most of its authentic dishes, although more Mexican restaurants are incorporating wheat tortillas to meet the demands of Western palates (so make sure you ask). You must take precautions when eating Mexican food, particularly outside of the home.
Burritos: Burritos are typically made with wheat flour tortillas. See more details in the “tortillas” section below. Avoid.
Cheese: While shredded cheese is naturally gluten free, some store-bought shredded cheeses are coated with some sort of flour or starch to prevent the shredded strands from sticking together. Most brands use corn or tapioca starch vs. wheat flour.
Chile relleno: A chile relleno is a green chile pepper stuffed with meat and coated with a flour-egg mixture and deep fried. These are typically not gluten free unless the restaurant uses a gluten-free batter and dedicated gluten-free fryer.
Chips & Salsa: One of my favorite things to enjoy at Mexican restaurants is the chips and salsa. I don’t know why, but chips and salsa taste 100 times better at a Mexican restaurant than at home. That said, beware of corn tortilla chips cooked in the same deep fryer used to cook battered foods. When your food comes in contact with foods made with gluten, this renders your food cross contaminated and no longer gluten free nor safe to eat.
Enchiladas: Traditional enchiladas are made with corn tortillas and may be safe for gluten-free eaters. Always inquire with your server.
When eating out make sure that you do some research so you will be smarter than your server, and show you how you hold the power to safely and confidently eat out without putting your health at risk.
Are margaritas gluten free?
Yes, margaritas are made with tequila (gluten free), fresh lime juice (gluten free) and an orange liqueur called triple sec (gluten free). Most triple sec brands are gluten free and just fine to consume on the gluten-free diet. However, store-bought margarita mixes may contain gluten. You will need to research about whether or not those mixes are gluten free as well.
Check out a few of our favorite Mexican food recipes: