Go gluten-free with no remorse. Yes, gluten-free foods can taste great. Try soups, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, cakes or something adventurous like Venezuelan arepas. Surprise your taste buds with the gamut of gluten-free eating available in the southwest metro. There’s so much to try, you may want to go gluten-free even if you don’t have to.
Sometimes only a pizza will do. Make it a fresh-made garden green from Roulette’s Pizza and you are on your way to happy times. The abundance of vegetables and absence of gluten takes away any guilt. Mushrooms, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, black and green olives bake into a blanket of cheese. Best of all, every ingredient is gluten-free. The toppings are piled onto a special gluten-free crust that is kept separate from the other pizzas to avoid cross-contamination, says Troy Snell, owner. A special cooking process that is “kind of like a twice-bake—bake the crust and then with toppings” is the key to this pizza’s success. “For the crust and taste, it is probably one of the best out there,” Snell says. Large, $15.99.
1550 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria; 952.443.4644
Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant
Dotted with salty pickled buds of capers, the chicken limone shines with a bright citrus lemon butter sauce. Be sure to request that this dish not be dusted with flour. Buca’s staff will ask about gluten tolerance to see if a customer is allergic to gluten or requesting gluten-free as more of a healthy option, according to Marcelo Cardoza, chef. Either way, Buca caters to customer preferences and special requests for gluten-free foods. “We treat it [gluten-free] as an allergy,” Cardoza says. “We do it in the kitchen with different utensils.”
The chicken limone is just one of the gluten-free dishes available. On an extensive menu with 80 different items, look for special offerings void of wheat on their own separate page. Gluten-free options run through four courses for antipasti and insalate, entrees, side dishes and dessert. Small for two $19.99; large for four or more $40.
7711 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie; 952.934.9463
TOMATO BASIL SOUP
Minnesota Grill - Byerly’s Chanhassen
The soup’s on, and it’s gluten-free; tomato basil is a mainstay at the Minnesota Grill. “It’s been on the menu as a regular thing for years and years,” says Timothy Woodworth, restaurant co-manager. A chicken stock base starts things off right with homey richness that intensifies with the addition of half and half and cream. The sweet floral scent of basil tempers tangy tomato puree. A touch of seasoning adds interest without heat—just what you expect from good old-fashioned comfort food. Turn your soup into a meal with a trip to the salad bar. $3.99 cup, $5.99 bowl.
800 W. 78th St., Chanhassen; 952.474.1298
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CAKE
Nothing Bundt Cakes
How could a gluten-free cake taste like a chocolate chip cookie? Ultra-moist cake has a sticky crumb delightfully reminiscent of just-out-of-the-oven homemade chocolate chip cookies. A sweet perfume of vanilla permeates every bite. The batter has rice flour instead of wheat with no compromise on taste or texture. Sprinkles of chocolate chips whisper of seductively smoky cocoa. Dreamy, creamy, buttery frosting also sweetens the cake. For the gluten-intolerant, it’s a blissful blessing. “People are just so grateful,” says co-owner Patty Balster. “They can have cake for their birthday.” Luckily, Nothing Bundt Cakes in Eden Prairie is one of the few locations in this chain of bakeries selected to sell the gluten-free cakes in two adorable, portable sizes. Bundtlet $4.25, Bundtinis $18 per dozen.
8435 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie; 952.512.2500
CREAMY ALFREDO WITH CHICKEN PASTA
Pasta Zola continues to redefine the mall experience and food court cuisine with a menu filled with gluten-free possibilities. “Ninety-five percent of our menu is gluten-free, kind of by happenstance,” says Mitch Thayer, owner. The meatballs are the exception, so opt for another protein like chicken instead. The gluten-free fusilli pasta topped with creamy housemade Alfredo sauce and chicken is so good, you will forget that it is gluten-free. “We have regulars who say—not to boast—that it is the best pasta that they ever had,” Thayer says. “A blend of corn and rice, gluten-free pasta has really come a long way since we first opened.” The fresh preparation and healthy ingredients this independently owned, family-run business puts into every dish doesn’t hurt either. Small $4.59, regular $5.59, gluten-free pasta $1 extra, chicken $1.99 extra.
8251 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.583.8074
BAJA HOT SANDWICH
Crumb Gourmet Deli
The Baja ranks as the top-selling sandwich with a profusion of flavors as enticing as its California name. Grilled chicken, provolone cheese, freshly mashed avocado, tomatoes, chipotle mayo and crispy romaine pack a whole meal into one generous sandwich. Best-quality vegetables and meat along with house-made touches make the Baja memorable. “One of the main differences from our competitors is we make everything from scratch,” says Randy Parmley, owner.
Another bonus: It’s easy to go gluten-free with almost any dish at Crumb Gourmet Deli. Most ingredients that go into their sandwiches and soups contain no gluten. For the Baja, just opt for Udi’s gluten-free bread instead of a ciabatta roll. Whether you have your sandwich hot or cold, you will be delighted with every bite. “Some of the biggest feedback we get is thanking us for having it,” Parmley says. $7.25.
7910 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie; 952.934.1717
(Crumb Gourmet Deli’s Baja hot sandwich is gluten-free.)
Embark on a culinary journey, a Latin holiday filled with fantastic food. Superbly satisfying, bold and bright, the Venezuelan-style dishes will make you forget that you are in Minnesota and eating gluten-free. Up tempo Latin music and vibrant colors set the mood. Tidy arepa sandwiches boast a melody of true Latin flavors. No, arepas are not street food, according Erwin Chacon, owner and native of Caracas, Venezuela. These delights are like home-cooked Venezuelan meals—lovingly made from scratch.
For a quintessential dish, indulge in the No. 6. The pabellon arepa has shreds of pulled pork, sugary golden brown plantains, earthy black beans and white cheese crumbles—all nestled between two pillows of fresh-grilled corn buns. “We make everything here. The way we serve is the traditional way,” Chacon says. $7.49.
7733 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.405.8092