Tacos are easily one of the most enjoyed foods around the world; not only are they delicious, but they can be made either indulgent or healthy for just about anyone on any diet. However, are there such things as gluten-free tacos?
It is very easy to make tacos gluten friendly, though it’s not fair to assume that all tacos are gluten-free. Tacos can vary so much in terms of how simple or elaborate they are, but the simplest and most common components of tacos are often the ones that may have hidden sources of gluten.
Can Tacos Be Gluten-Free?
Tacos can be a food enjoyed by those with most dietary restrictions, including gluten intolerance. You just have to be careful about the individual ingredients you use to assemble your tacos. Should you be out to eat, you may have to ask about what kind of shells are used or what is in the protein option you select.
Typically speaking, tacos can become unsafe for people with gluten intolerances when it comes to taco shells and tortillas, protein choice, cheese, seasonings, and sauces.
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What Kind Of Taco Shells Are Gluten-Free?
Most commercially available hard taco shells are actually already gluten-free. They are made with corn rather than wheat, and are usually made with minimal other ingredients, none of which contain gluten. Popular brands like Old El Paso and Casa Fiesta have gluten-free icons on their packaging so you can see which products are safe to eat.
When it comes to tortillas used for soft tacos, they are often made with wheat based flour. However, it is possible to find smaller tortillas made with corn; some of which are gluten-free, and some of which aren’t.
Finding gluten-free tortillas that are made with gluten-free flour is difficult, but not impossible. The trouble with some commercially available gluten-free tortillas is that they are very flimsy, making it difficult to pack a taco.
Homemade Gluten-Free Taco Tortillas
Making homemade tortillas is actually quite simple, even if you’re not a proficient cook. One thing that can be especially helpful if you want to go the homemade route is a tortilla press. This helps you get that flat, round shape in a couple of quick steps as opposed to forming the tortillas yourself.
You can make some quick tortillas with some gluten-free flour, coconut oil or vegetable shortening, water, and sea salt. It’s recommended to let your mixture sit for at least a half hour after separating it into balls. Afterwards, you can put them into a tortilla press to flatten them out, then fry them for a couple of minutes and you’re good to go.
You can play with various types of gluten-free flours to create your own unique and delicious vessel for tacos. Some recipes are more complicated than others in terms of how many ingredients are used, but overall, the process of making homemade gluten-free soft tortillas for tacos is very easy.
Does Taco Meat Have Gluten?
Meat in and of itself doesn’t contain any gluten, but some packaged ground beef might potentially have additives that could contain gluten. Sometimes ground meat will have a little bit of flour added in order to help bind it together.
The same is true of any other kind of meat you might add to your tacos, so you have a lot of freedom with your protein, especially if you purchase non-packaged meats or ground meats.
Does Cheese Have Gluten?
Cheese is another popular component of tacos that normally doesn’t contain any gluten or gluten additives. However, if you’re looking to take a shortcut and purchase some shredded cheese, be sure to read the label first. Some pre-shredded cheese contains additives to help keep it separated, and sometimes these additives are sourced from gluten.
Do Refried Beans Have Gluten?
Refried beans can be found in cans, many of which have slightly different ingredients. Many popular brands of refried beans don’t contain any gluten-derived ingredients. This makes it important to once again read labels, as some recipes are bound to have a gluten-based ingredient.
Refried beans are also really easy to make at home, helping you control what is or isn’t in the recipe. You can easily fry them up in a pan, adding any seasonings you prefer in your tacos.
Is Taco Seasoning Gluten-Free?
Purchasing premixed taco seasoning is a simple fix for people who may have trouble discerning exactly what spices can help make their protein choice nice and flavorful for tacos. However, spice mixes can have trace amounts of gluten hidden inside them that you need to be cognizant of.
Taco seasoning mixes can be found without gluten. If you are especially sensitive, however, it is very easy to mix your own taco seasoning up. It doesn’t take long, and you only need a few spices that you can get ample use out of. Most have a base of paprika, chili powder, garlic and onion powders, cumin, salt, and oregano.
Are Taco Sauces Gluten-Free?
Many of the popular sauces used on tacos are naturally gluten-free, though not all of them will be labeled as such. Furthermore, every brand has their own variation of recipes for common sauces like guacamole, sour cream, or salsa, so checking ingredients is important.
If you like hot sauce on your tacos, you will want to read labels carefully. It might be surprising to learn that quite a few hot sauces have small amounts of gluten in their formulas. Thankfully, with the rise in popularity of hot sauce, you can find certified gluten-free sauces.
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Tacos are too delicious of a dish to not find ways to enjoy them, even if it means getting creative with some of the components you use. You don’t have to miss out on tacos if you are sensitive to gluten, regardless of your level of intolerance. Part of what makes tacos so fun is you can change up your ingredients every time, including a plethora of gluten-free ingredients.