Well gluten free friends, it is time to celebrate. More and more restaurants are beginning to hear our cry. Better yet, more and more restaurants are beginning to realize that they could target a certain percentage of individuals by accommodating our dietary needs and are finally coming up with some gluten free menu items so we can enjoy and spend our dollars at their restaurants. In the past, one of the worst gluten offenders was Panera. You can read some of my issues with this company before gluten free here and here. I never was a "hater" per say, I just believe in practicing what you preach. After going gluten free, I had even more ill feelings as none of their menu items were gluten free. I even remember last year going out to lunch with some teacher friends ordering off the supposed gluten free menu and then being asked by cashier/order taker if I would "like bread or a cookie" as my side that "came with the meal." I about slapped my forehead like the kid in the AT & T commercial when the guy asks the boy "what happens to slow turtles?" I guess some people just aren't educated on gluten issues.
I have to give props were props are due, however, and say that I was very pleased when I came across this article on Fit Sugar. I'm not sure if this "hidden menu" is offered at every Panera, but it does not hurt to ask. I ordered the Power Egg White Bowl while in a pinch one morning. I did inform them about my sensitivity to gluten and they happily accommodated! The guy even switched out his gloves while making my meal! Believe me you, I was watching:) There are even more fun and healthy options such as Power Steak Lettuce Wraps, the wrap being large leaves of kale. For a complete nutrition break down of the "hidden menu" list you can click here and scroll down to the bottom of the list. Panera did confirm that the the secret menu is all gluten free, but I would still inform the cashier and/or kitchen about any allergies or sensitivities and closely monitor the meal prep. Better to be safe than sorry. Enough about information and banter, how about my little recipe?
Right now, I have a ton of fresh herbs in my little pots that are ready for use. All I did for the watermelon was slice it up and sprinkle a little fresh mint on top. It really brought out the flavors and made it taste like I was eating a mojito sans the booze. I guess you really can't call it a recipe, but more of a tip. I was planning on making it more of a fruit salad with cantaloupe, grapes, and pineapple, however, the selection was not looking very good at the store this weekend. Maybe next week I will have more to share on that.
This meal is perfect for a meatless Monday. A true gluten and meat free dish bursting with summer time flavors such as fresh herbs, cucumber, and tomato. Bonus- no cooking involved! If you are looking for a bright and light meal to start your week off in a healthy direction you will want to try this Power Hummus Wrap!
Power Hummus Wrap
inspired by Panera's Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
1 cup mixed salad greens (I used a combination of romaine and baby spinach)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)
4 gluten free wraps or tortillas (I used Sandwich Petals)
1/2 cup of your favorite prepared hummus, divided (I used Sabra's roasted garlic)
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
In a mixing bowl, toss the mixed salad greens, basil, parsley, cilantro, and mint together until combine. Feel free to omit the herbs if you do not prefer any of the suggested flavors or if you do not have any fresh herbs on hand. Heat wraps according to package directions. If you are not on a gluten free diet, feel free to use whatever wraps or tortillas you have on hand. Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus over each tortilla. Divide the mixed greens and herb mixture, tomatoes, onion, and cucumber evenly over each tortilla. Wrap and roll each tortilla and serve.