EVERYTHING Gluten-Free at On the Border in 2022

On the Border is a casual dining Tex-Mex restaurant chain. They offer items such as mesquite-grilled meat, margaritas, tacos, bowls, salads, etc. on their menu. But does On The Border has gluten-free options?

On the border does have a gluten-friendly menu. The gluten-friendly menu has items such as Bowls, fajitas, side items, a kid’s menu, and non-alcoholic beverages. 

The gluten-friendly menu is available on their website, and they give a printout of the same upon request.

But, if you’ve celiac disease or you’re highly sensitive to gluten, avoid eating at this place. It’s because cross-contamination of food is a risk here.

But if you avoid gluten as a dietary preference, here are some tips and gluten-free options you can try at On the Border.

On the Border Gluten-Free Options

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On the Border’s Gluten-free menu items

On the Border’s main menu has a variety of bowls, salads, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas, etc. They also have quite a few options for dips and sauces. They have a vegetarian menu on their website as well. 

In comparison, the gluten-friendly menu has fewer options than the main menu. Their gluten-free menu mainly has grilled meat and side options.

Here is a complete list of gluten-free options at On the Border. The availability of each item may vary by location. 

Entree Salads & Soups

#1. Chicken Tortilla Soup

The Chicken Tortilla Soup has homemade chicken broth loaded with chicken tinga, rice, zucchini, and Jack cheese and topped with fresh avocado and tortilla strips. Order yours without the tortilla strips. 

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 520 kcal
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Carbs: 45 g
  • Protein: 27 g

#2. Fajita Salad (Chicken)

The Fajita Salad has mesquite-grilled chicken and onions. They come alongside a crisp blend of lettuce & shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, roasted corn, fresh avocado, and queso fresco. 

You can also order it with steak. Order yours without the onions because they’re sauteed in soy sauce that has wheat.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 410 kcal
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Carbs: 27 g
  • Protein: 34 g

#3. Bolder Border Bowl (Shrimp)

The Bolder Border Bowl has cilantro lime rice, black beans, pickled red onions, toasted corn, queso fresco, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and lime crema, and sliced avocado topped with your choice of protein. 

You can choose from mesquite-grilled chicken, portobello, shrimp, or steak, brushed with lime-cilantro chimichurri.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 670 kcal
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Carbs: 91 g
  • Protein: 33 g

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Tacos

#4. Tacos Al carbon (Fajita Chicken)

The Tacos Al Carbon has corn tortillas with fajita chicken or steak, Jack cheese, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and roasted red-chile tomatillo salsa.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 690 kcal
  • Fat: 47 g 
  • Carbs: 37 g
  • Protein: 35 g

Fajitas

#5. Classic Fajita (Grilled Chicken)

This Classic Fajita has Mesquite-grilled chicken with sautéed onions and bell peppers. It’s served with black beans, white corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Instead of grilled chicken, you can also order it with grilled steak, carnitas, and portobello & vegetables. Remove the onions to make them gluten-free. 

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 370 kcal
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Carbs: 16 g
  • Protein: 38 g

#6. Grande Fajita

Grande Fajita is a combo of mesquite-grilled steak, chicken, and shrimp, with sautéed vegetables.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 890 kcal
  • Fat: 68 g
  • Carbs: 26 g
  • Protein: 54 g

#7. Smokehouse Fajitas

Smokehouse Fajitas has a Texas-sized fajita platter with chipotle ribs, jalapeño sausage, braised carnitas, shredded beef brisket with honey chipotle, and jalapeño-BBQ sauces on the side, topped with a grilled jalapeño.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 1370 kcal
  • Fat: 96 g
  • Carbs: 49 g
  • Protein: 87 g

#8. Monterey Ranch Chicken

Monterey Ranch Chicken has mesquite-grilled chicken smothered with melted Jack cheese, crumbled bacon & ranch dressing. Along with this, you can order shrimp skewer, chipotle ribs, or jalapeno sausage. 

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 720 kcal
  • Fat: 51 g
  • Carbs: 14 g
  • Protein: 57 g

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Mesquite grill

#9. Grilled Queso chicken

This dish has seasoned mesquite-grilled chicken breast topped with queso and fresh sliced avocado. It’s served with sautéed vegetables and cilantro lime rice.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 710 kcal
  • Fat: 35 g
  • Carbs: 56 g
  • Protein: 48 g

#10. Mexican Grilled Chicken

This dish has Mesquite-grilled chicken breast topped with pico de gallo and house-made salsa. It’s served with sautéed vegetables and cilantro lime rice.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 480 kcal
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Carbs: 51 g
  • Protein: 33 g 

#11. Carne Asada

Carne Asada is a 9 oz. marinated and seasoned mesquite-grilled steak served on a skillet with seasoned butter, sautéed vegetables, and Mexican rice.

Nutritional facts

  • Calories: 1030 kcal
  • Fat: 71 g
  • Carbs: 53 g
  • Protein: 40 g

Sides & Add-ons

  • Black Beans 
  • Refried Beans
  • Mexican Rice
  • House Salad
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Avocado Slices 
  • Guacamole
  • Grilled Shrimp Skewer
  • Sauteed Vegetables
  • Pico de gallo
  • Mixed Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Corn Tortilla

Kids

  • Grilled Chicken Taco

Kids sides 

  • Black Beans
  • Mexican Rice 
  • Refried Beans

Kids desserts

  • Chocolate Sundae
  • Strawberry Sundae

Border Blast

  • Cherry 
  • Blue Raspberry 

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Coca-Cola
  • Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
  • Diet Coke
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Sprite
  • Barq’s Root beer
  • Minute Maid Lemonade
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Iced Tea
  • Flavored Iced Teas

Tips for ordering gluten-free at On the Border

Inform The Staff That You’re Gluten-free. 

Even if you’re ordering from a gluten-friendly menu, tell the server that you’re allergic to gluten. Otherwise, the server may assume it’s just your dietary preference and may not take proper safety measures. 

Inform Them About the Gluten-free Diet. 

Many times the staff may not know what a gluten-free diet is. So, guide them on what you can or cannot eat. For example, tell them that food made with Wheat, Barley, or Rye makes you sick. 

Tell them that food that has come in contact with these grains also makes you sick. Request them if they could change their gloves and clean the grill and other equipment before making your food. 

Consult With the Manager.

Speaking directly with the Manager will give you proper knowledge about each dish and how they make it. The Manager will also make special arrangements for you and take care of the safety measures.

Avoid Ordering Online.

When you order food online, you don’t know whether or not the staff has followed the safety protocol while making your food.

They may accidentally add some allergic item to your food which you’ll only find out after it has reached your home. 

But when you’re physically there, you can watch as they make your order and complain if something goes wrong.

Avoid Onions. 

On The Border’s onions are sauteed with soy sauce that contains wheat. So, if you order an item that has onions, ask the server to not add onions to your food.

Avoid Chips. Eat Corn Tortillas Instead. 

At many On the Border locations, the same frying oil is used to fry chips. Ask the server each time whether or not their chips are gluten-free.

If the chips are not gluten-free and you still want to eat something with the dips, order corn tortilla. 

Cross-contamination risk at On the Border

On the Border has a gluten-friendly menu, not a gluten-free menu. The food items on On the Border’s gluten-friendly menu are naturally gluten-free. However, they might get cross-contaminated. 

On the Border has a shared cooking and preparation area, and they use the same grill, tortilla pan, and other cooking equipment to make each dish. They also mention on the allergen menu that they use a shared frying oil.

So, even gluten-friendly items may contain traces of gluten. To be safe, On the Border suggests that you alert the Manager to your food allergy or special dietary needs. 

What do people say about the gluten-free options at On the Border?

Dining out on a gluten-free diet is risky. It’s because not all restaurants hit the mark with the variety, safety, and taste of gluten-free food. Knowing other people’s experiences can save your time, money, and health.

So, this is what people with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity say about On the Border. 

A lot of people say that the server at On the Border lacks knowledge about gluten sensitivity. They either don’t know enough about the gluten-free options on their menu or serve food with allergic ingredients. 

Many people say that the gluten-friendly menu has limited options and the food at On the Border tastes bland. People also said that they got sick even after eating food from the gluten-free menu. 

However, some people also said that the staff was knowledgeable, and they had a good time dining at On the Border. They didn’t get sick, and they will return. People’s experiences varied depending on the location of the restaurant. 

This is what people with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity ordered at On the Border without getting sick:

  • Beef Fajita Nachos
  • Chicken mini Taco
  • Rice and Beans
  • Steak Bowl
  • Mexican Ranch Fajita
  • Mexican Rice
  • Corn tortillas
  • Monterey Ranch Fajita

Gluten-free alternatives to On the Border

Not impressed by the options on On the Border’s gluten-free menu? Here are some similar restaurants you can try.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe’s doesn’t have a gluten-free menu but they do have gluten-free options. In their shop, they have a list of Gluten-free ingredients with which you can create any dish.

They also have an allergen filter on their website. You can apply the gluten-friendly filter on their menu, and it will show all the naturally gluten-free ingredients.

Except for the tortilla shells and cookies, all other ingredients like meat, vegetables, sauces, and grains are gluten-free.

Since their tortilla shells are not gluten-free, you can’t have tacos, burritos, or quesadillas at Moe’s. But you can have items such as Fajita, steak bowls, chips & guac, etc. But before ordering, confirm with the staff if the chips are gluten-free.

Cross-contamination can be a concern here. But Moe’s staff are knowledgeable and accommodating. If you tell them that you’re allergic to wheat, they’ll wash their hands, change their gloves, and use clean utensils to prepare your food. 

Chipotle Mexican Grill

On Chipotle’s website, you’ll find an allergen chart where they’ve listed all of their ingredients against allergens. On that list, except for tortillas, all the other ingredients are gluten-free. 

So, you can order a gluten-free burrito bowl, tacos on corn tortillas, a veggie bowl, etc. They also have salad bowls for different types of diets such as paleo, vegan, vegetarian, keto, and high protein.

The staff at chipotle are knowledgeable and well-trained to handle cross-contamination.

Tell them that you’re allergic to gluten, and they’ll wash their hands, change their gloves, replace the spatula/cutlery, and use sauces from a different container.