Living as a poor graduate student, on a nonexistent budget does not leave me a lot of wiggle room to get out and explore the many great restaurants of Minneapolis. This recipe edition is geared more toward what to eat when traveling or when out with friends at the mall. I tried to pick mainstream options, that would be the most relevant, and keep in mind these are my personal preferences, but have gluten-free friendly menus if you are gf or one of your friends is!
1. Chipotle: While many of you know this is in general one of my favorite fast-casual (thank you Food Service Management class for random terminology) restaurants it is also a great place to easily substitute for a gf diet. All you have to do is take out the tortilla, which also happens to save you around 400 calories! I think it is a no-brainer to skip the gluten and indulge in a burrito bowl with the fajita vegetables and remember to go light on the sour cream and cheese! It is also a lot more manageable to eat, which is just another plus, you can’t go wrong people.
2. Noodles: This is a great spot if you are sensitive to gluten. When you say you have an allergy, a manager has to come over and approve your order to certify that your choice is gluten-free. I have had great experiences here with substitutions. And one of the best parts is that you can substitute any pasta for rice noodles for FREE! Woo Woo. Salads are wonderful but sometimes it is nice to enjoy a warm meal after a long day of shopping. My favorite entree is the mediterranean salad or in the summer they have this dish called summer veggie medley (or something along those lines) that is sautéed vegetables, pesto, corn, and pecans. It is to die for!
3. Panera: While they do not have a gluten-free menu, even if you ask, they still have some tasty salads on the menu that are gluten-free. I am intrigued by their hidden menu but I am kind of confused by the whole idea. Why would you hide a menu that is full of healthy options? Anyway, I have been wanting to try their spinach and hummus power salad for a while, but the cobb salad is always a staple of mine.
4. Subway: Though subway may seem odd to put on the list, because they are all about sandwiches. If you did not know they also have a chopped salad! This has saved me many a time on long road trips when all you want is vegetables. It’s a little under the radar because probably .5% of people going to Subway order it, but still a good way to make a personal salad. The best way to order the chopped salad is with chicken, only spinach (leave the iceberg at Subway), and all the veggies!
5. Salad bar at Whole Foods: Or pretty much any food at whole foods! The quality of their food is great and there are actually a lot of options. One of my favorites in Minneapolis is their curry chicken salad and in Duluth is their black bean burger. Chris even likes the food when I drag him to lunch there, and that is saying something!
So the next time you are in need of a bite away from home, try one of my top 5 favorite mainstream/ fast casual places!