Noodles & Company is the perfect place to go when you don’t feel like making dinner and just want something that’s quick. It’s described as a “fast casual restaurant,” so it’s like a fast food restaurant but with higher quality food. And you can definitely tell that they use quality ingredients. The food is so good! I’ve told you guys how much I love pasta, so this is totally the place for me. You do pay a little extra for the gluten free fusilli ($1.50), but it’s worth it! The staff is very aware and knowledgable of gluten allergies. Not every time, but a couple of times I’ve been there the cashiers yell to the people making the food that something was ordered by someone with a gluten allergy, and they wipe down their station. Either way, whether yelling or not, the chefs are told they are making food for someone with an allergy. It’s pretty awesome, and I’ve never gotten sick after eating here. It’s also a chain; they currently have 410 locations in 31 states. It isn’t super common that big chain restaurants have gluten free options, so that’s pretty cool.
A decent amount of the noodle dishes can be made with gluten free fusilli or rice noodles. You can see a full list here on the Noodles & Company website, under the gluten free tab. However, something to be aware of is that I was told that the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese could NOT be made gluten free, but it’s possible that this has been changed. Just be sure to ask before you order it so you don’t have any problems. I also don’t think the meatballs are gluten free either, so again, ask to be sure.
I’ve tried a couple different dishes. My favorite is the Penne Rosa with GF fusilli. The spicy tomato cream sauce is just fantastic! It also has tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms in it. I get it without mushrooms just out of personal preference. You get the option of parmesan or feta on top, and as much as I love feta, the parmesan just seems right on this. The flavors are just so yummy! The only thing I would change is the size of the tomatoes and spinach. I like things cut up really small so I get a little bit of everything in each bite. The ones in this dish are pretty large. But otherwise, it’s wonderful!
Another favorite of mine is the Pad Thai. This is made with rice noodles, so it’s naturally gluten free. Now, as I’ve previously established in my Chaang Thai review, Chaang Thai has the greatest pad thai ever, so I’m picky about my pad thai. But for a fast food kind of place that doesn’t specialize in Thai food, it’s pretty good. The flavor of the sauce is nice, and I like all the things in the dish. Scrambled egg, red cabbage, peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro, carrots, yum! My only issue with this is, again, the size of the carrots. They need to be skinnier, because they’re not very integrated into the dish. But on their website, it says that they have a new recipe with a “more traditional sauce” and “features green onions instead of carrots.” So I guess I’ll have to visit again soon to see if I like this new recipe better!
The only other thing I’ve tried from Noodles & Company is the Pesto Cavatappi with GF fusilli. To be honest, I tried it so long ago I don’t completely remember it. It features basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, parmesan, and Italian parsley. And of course, I got it without mushrooms. I do remember that I did like it. I also remember thinking the pesto sauce needed some more cream to make it a little better—it was a tiny bit dry.
According to the menu, they also offer salads that can be made gluten free, as well as tomato bisque. I’ve never tried any of these, but honestly, am I gonna go to Noodles & Company and not get noodles?? Who goes to a noodle restaurant and gets a salad and soup???
One of my favorite things about this place is that I can order online and just go skip the line and pick it up! It’s so simple. Also, it’s attached to one of my favorite malls, so if I’m hungry after a long day of shopping I can just head here (the food court doesn’t exactly have the best options for someone with celiac). In general, Noodles & Company is a delicious and easy gluten free option!
**Update 3/6/16– I went to Noodles & Company last weekend and asked about the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. It can be made gluten free now!! So of course I had to order it with the GF Fusilli. It was so good, and soo cheesy! I think I have a new favorite. I definitely recommend it! I ate it so fast I forgot to even take a picture for you guys. I’m so happy they changed it so it’s gluten free now. The Mac & Cheese is the one thing from here that everyone always said was amazing—and now I can 100% confirm that it is.