Italian food is one of the most delicious cuisines in the world, but many people who are on a strict gluten-free diet can find it challenging to dine at an Italian restaurant. Luckily, living a gluten-free lifestyle doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself of Italian foods—there are many ways to enjoy the tastes of Italy without consuming products that contain gluten. Use the following tips to enjoy dining out at your favorite Italian restaurant when you're gluten-free:
Let the Manager Know About Your Dietary Restrictions
More and more people are identifying gluten-sensitivities, and restaurants are responding to the changes that diners are making to their diet. When you go to an Italian restaurant for a meal, make sure that you alert the manager to the fact that you are gluten-free. He or she will be able to ensure that your food is prepared carefully and does not become contaminated with any ingredients in the kitchen that may contain gluten.
Opt for Gluten-Free Pizza
Gluten-free pizza is a widely available option in many Italian restaurants, and it is a tasty choice for anyone who wants to enjoy Italian food without consuming gluten. Most restaurants that offer gluten-free pizza are aware of the restrictions of a gluten-free diet, but it is still worth asking if the sauce and cheese are gluten-free. Cheese that is shredded in-house is often fine, but some brands of pre-shredded cheese may include ingredients that contain gluten that help the cheese from sticking together. You will also want to make sure that the pizza cutter used to slice the pizza is not also used to cut regular pizzas.
Be Careful with Meats
Meatballs often contain bread crumbs, and not all sausage is gluten-free. Some Italian dishes made with chicken require the poultry to be dredged in flour before it is sauteed. You may also want to stay away from dishes that have cream sauces, as they are usually thickened with flour. Your best option is to choose a meat that can be grilled with just seasonings.
Enjoy a Salad
There are many delicious salads offered at Italian restaurants—just make sure that you order yours without croutons. Prepared salad dressings can be a challenge when you're gluten-free, so make sure you ask to see the ingredient list. If you are unsure if a dressing is completely gluten-free, opt to use olive oil and vinegar as your dressing.