When it comes to eating out, it can often be easy to forget just how much food is off the table for people with allergies and food intolerances.
And while that is slowly changing, with more and more restaurants and menus having a dedicated section to vegetarian and vegan-friendly foods, there is still a ways to go for other kinds of dietary needs.
Take gluten, for example. The list of effects that intolerance to this commonly occurring item in our food menus is as extensive as it is frustrating to live with.
So, finding a restaurant that has more than one gluten-free item is kind of a necessity and not just a luxury.
Unfortunately, the number of restaurants that explicitly include many gluten-free items is depressingly low. At least, not without extra research on your part.
However, there are still a few places and venues where you can eat at least a few items on the menu without fear.
And Wendy’s, the popular fast food chain, is one of those places.
In this guide to their gluten-free menu, we’re going to break down a list of items you can buy from Wendy’s that contain little to no gluten, as well as some extra things that you should keep in mind when looking for gluten-free food items.
1. Bacon & Cheese Baked Potato
Starting this list with a meal that will be perfect for those folk that cannot eat gluten, we have a meal food time that has been a staple of Wendy’s food menu for ages.
And that is their bacon & cheese baked potato.
After all, it’s very hard to screw up a meal as simple and reliable as a baked potato, even in a high-stress environment like a restaurant kitchen.
But, with potatoes having no gluten in them at all, they make a great way to fill out a meal with.
Especially when you add a few tasty extras to the mix, such as a little bit of cheese and bacon on top, which also thankfully do not contain gluten in them.
With these three food items together, you’ll be full and content and a gluten-intolerant customer with this meal.
2. Dave’s Cheeseburger (Without The Bun)
Now, as we will cover later in this article, many burger meals at virtually all fast-food restaurants, including Wendy’s, are going to be off limits in their normal servings. The buns just have too much gluten in them not to trigger a reaction.
However, what if we simply took the burger bun away, and still kept the beef patty?
Well, you’d have something like Dave’s Cheeseburger, but without the bun, and option that pretty much all Wendy’s offers their customers!
So, you’ll still get a delicious burger patty, while also avoiding severe indigestion.
However, it should be noted that Wendy’s states on its website that the burger patties made for this particular meal are prepared on the same surface as other normal recipes that do contain gluten in them.
This does mean that you run the risk of a little cross-contamination when eating this burger, see keep that in mind when you order.
3. Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
So moving away from the threat of cross-contamination for a moment, we have one of the most popular salads, their apple pecan chicken salad.
This particular salad is served on a bed of romaine lettuce, and the apple adds a sweetened flavor to the more traditionally savory flavors of the salad and chicken included.
This is a recipe that contains no gluten in it, either in the ingredients or from potential cross-contamination, making it a totally safe meal for gluten-free customers to order.
Plus, with 39 grams of protein in this recipe, it is a great source of nutrients too.
All of that, while also cutting down the calorie count to 520 calories total.
Not bad for a meal that works just as well as lunch as it does a side salad!
4. Ultimate Grilled Chicken Fillet (Without The Bun)
So, you want a chicken fillet burger from Wendy’s (and why wouldn’t you? Their burgers are great), but you don’t want to worry about feeling winded, or perhaps a worse side effect of gluten intolerance after your meal.
However, as we’ve seen with the last option for burgers on this list, it is possible to take this tasty fillet of chicken without the bun, saving you indigestion (and a couple of carbs to boot).
As with the cheeseburger that we covered earlier, there is the risk of there being a little cross-contamination when making this burger, as it is prepared in the same place as many other gluten-rich food items.
Just make sure that you alert your cashier when making your order, and the staff will do their best to avoid anything from ruining your otherwise delicious meal.
Ah, the humble chili.
Is there a heartier meal that can warm you up on a cold winter’s evening?
Well, maybe, but we certainly aren’t going to pass up some good chili while we are at Wendy’s (see also ‘The Best Wendy’s Sauces To Try With Your Meal‘), that’s for sure.
Fortunately, this is also a meal or side that gluten-free customers can also enjoy, as there is no gluten to be found in this heated recipe.
If you’re looking for a quick fill-up on food, and want to avoid the gluten, Wendy’s chili is a great way to avoid it, and without a chance of cross-contamination as well!
6. Taco Salad
Taco salad is a recipe that is enjoyed up and down the country and in several fast food chains too.
Still, some people are surprised to find this served at Wendy’s sometimes (see also ‘The Best Wendy’s Salads – What’s In Them?‘), but it’s certainly not a bad thing to find on the menu, especially if you are gluten intolerant!
Wendy’s version of a taco salad requires no extras to be added or any ingredients taken away to be considered gluten-free, meaning that you can eat this meal in peace, with no need to worry about cross-contamination.
7. Caesar Side Salad
Caesar salads just feel a little classy to eat, you know?
Maybe it’s the Mediterranean-Esque ingredients, maybe it’s the authentic caesar dressing that brings the whole dish together.
Whatever the reason, we are big fans of a good caesar salad here, so we’re glad to see a decent recipe at Wendy’s.
What’s more, as its place on this list should imply, this is a menu item at Wendy’s that also contain no gluten in it!
And there’s no need to worry about cross-contamination either! Everybody wins!
8. Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
Speaking of Mediterranean flavors, Wendy’s has an excellent Mediterranean salad side dish as a part of their menu too, so you know that we’re going to be interested in it!
You know the deal with a good salad when picking this over an old-fashioned burger. It is a meal that is low in calories and helps cut carbs out of your diet.
And, more importantly for us, it is a dish that contains no gluten, keeping it safe for gluten-free customers to eat.
9. Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potatoes
So, we’ve already mentioned how one baked potato recipe in this menu item list.
So, you’d better believe that we’re including another one here.
Like the last recipe we covered, there are no carbs found in any of the ingredients used here.
Not in the potato, not in the cheese, and not in the broccoli either!
If you’re interested in a baked potato meal, but want to avoid the meatier options, this is a great alternative for you.
10. Garden Side Salad
Again, we’re back with another salad on this list!
Some of you may be starting to get a little tired of the long list of leafy-green meals that Wendy’s has that are gluten-free, and want o full burger recipe here.
Well, as soon as they start using gluten-free buns, we’ll be right there with you!
Besides, this little side is the perfect light lunch to keep you going through the day!
11. Natural Cut Fries
However, if you’re looking for a heartier side dish to fill your belly with, we would highly recommend the natural-cut fries that Wendy’s sells.
As we’ve already established with the baked potato menu items, there is no gluten to be found in a good pack of fries.
However, just as with the burger patties that we have covered, these fries do run the risk of cross-contamination when being made, so make sure that you notify staff while you are making your order.
Finally, we come to the main gluten-free food that everyone on this list will be gunning for!
This frozen beverage has been a part of Wendy’s menu since the first restaurant opened in 1969 and contains no gluten whatsoever.
So, enjoy this frozen drink to your heart’s content!
13. Soft Drinks
… Okay, so this entry is cheating a little.
Still, any of the soft drinks that you would typically order with your main meal also contain no gluten.
So, if you’re in desperate need of a soft drink to keep you going, don’t hesitate to stop at Wendy’s if need be!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kinds Of Foods Trigger Your Gluten Allergy?
So, after going through our list of what food is gluten-free at Wendy’s there may be a few readers trying to work out what foods are off the table for people with some kind of gluten intolerance.
Generally speaking, a lot of foods that are derived from some kind of grain have a lot of gluten in them, so foods that are derived from wheat, rye, barley, and other wheat derivatives would probably fall under this category.
This is also why many of the burgers that are some of Wendy’s most popular foods (outside the ones without buns that we mentioned) are not considered good to eat for someone with gluten intolerance.
Certain meat substitutes that contain gluten are also off the table for a lot of people, such as Seitan, one of the most common of this variety out there.
Considering how much food contains at least one of the ingredients that we have covered, it is no wonder that so many foods are pretty much off the menu for people with gluten allergies.
At least, not without severe consequences.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance?
But what are those consequences exactly?’ We hear you ask.
Well, after going through this list of ours, there may be some people that are wondering what some of the symptoms are of gluten intolerance.
Either for yourself or perhaps for a loved one that seems to always be in a bad way after consuming any gluten of some kind.
As we briefly mentioned in the intro, there is a massive list of potential side effects for gluten-allergic people after consuming this particular protein.
Some people who have a mild intolerance may experience simple discomfort, such as feeling particularly gassing, or having some form of bowel discomfort.
Relatively mild symptoms all things considered, unless, you already have a pre-existing condition that is exacerbated by these effects.
However, there are more severe symptoms that can also be experienced, ranging from abdominal or intestinal pain to severe headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, and even joint pain in some people.
It can even give a persona feeling of nausea, and even vomiting in the most extreme of cases.
It also has several other, less immediately noticeable effects, such as triggering bouts of depression, as well as having trouble concentrating on subjects and objectives that you could otherwise handle with ease.
These are just a few of the main symptoms that have been observed too!
So, you can see why people with gluten intolerance would want to avoid all of that, if at all possible!
Are There Any Other Fast Food Chains That Are Better For Gluten Intolerance Than Wendy’s?
So, as we’ve clearly shown, Wendy’s does have at least a few food items that are free of gluten (for the most part anyway, not factoring in cross-contamination).
Still, it’s not exactly an exhaustive list, is it?
This may have some people wondering whether or not any of the other fast food chain restaurants do any better when it comes to serving gluten-free food items.
At the very least, where exactly does Wendy’s sit in comparison to others, being better or worse?
Well, it’s a little difficult to say exactly which fast food chain is best for gluten-free customers.
While many of the most popular chains, such as McDonald’s and Burger King do both have options for food that do not contain any gluten in them, such as their McFlurries or some salad sides, you are also running the risk of cross-contamination from other food items that do have gluten in them, similar to a lot of the main meals that you’ll find on Wendy’s menu.
This means that although McDonald’s and Burger King do have many options for their gluten-free meals, you’re still running quite a high risk of cross-contamination.
By contrast, while we’ve already covered the issue of cross-contamination with some of the gluten-free food in our entries above, Wendy’s offers many side dishes that are guaranteed to not contain gluten in them, alongside food items such as their baked potato meals.
However, if you’re looking for the best fast-food chain restaurants with great gluten-free options, Chipotle is arguably a very good option.
By not ordering flour-based meals, and sticking to taco or burrito bowls instead, gluten-free customers have plenty of full meals that require little to no alteration (although you should still steer clear of the flour tortilla burritos).
So, in short, Wendy’s is by no means the worst fast food restaurant for gluten-free food, it isn’t quite the best out there.
So, while you won’t have access to the whole menu at Wendy’s, there are plenty of food items to keep you going at this chain!