Guide To Panera Gluten Conscious Menu Items

Panera Bread, celebrated for its fresh bread, bagels, and pastries, derives its name from Latin roots, meaning “breadbasket.” Beyond its bakery offerings, Panera boasts a variety of soups and salads, earning its place among the top 15 fast-food restaurants in the United States. If you are seeking gluten-free choices at Panera, there are several menu items for you to enjoy, as long as you do not have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. 

While a direct search for “gluten-free” on the Panera website may yield empty results, typing in “gluten-conscious” will unveil items less likely to contain gluten. I say this because while items may be prepared without gluten, cross-contact can occur being that the items will be prepared in the same kitchen as other items made with wheat flour.

Let’s take a look at the list of items on Panera’s menu that are not prepared with gluten. I will refer to them as gluten-free, but remember that if you have a gluten allergy, there is a high chance of cross-contamination with gluten. We will start with smoothies, then examine breakfast options, and then finish with bowls, chili, and salads. The information below was taken directly from the company’s site, so feel free to double check (aka fact-check) the information.

Smoothies

Five smoothies are on the menu and are sure to whet your whistle. As of January 2024, the price for each regular-size smoothie is $6.39. (The price for each smoothie may vary depending on the market.)

Panera Strawberry Smoothie.
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie – This smoothie is made with fruit purees, juice concentrates, banana, Greek yogurt, and ice. (The puree is enriched with vitamins, natural flavors, steviol glycosides, juice concentrate, and fruit puree.) Each serving has 250 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 51 grams of carbohydrates. 
  • Green Passion Smoothie – Ingredients include peach and mango purees, fruit juice concentrates, fresh spinach, and ice. This is probably the “cleanest smoothie” on the menu. Each serving has 250 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 59 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Mango Smoothie – Mango fruit base, orange juice, banana puree, Greek yogurt, ice, along with vitamins, and natural flavors make up this sweet sip. Each serving has 300 calories, 5 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, and 51 grams of carbs. 
  • Peach and Blueberry Smoothie with Almond Milk – This dairy-free smoothie is made with peach and mango purees, juice concentrates, fresh blueberries, and unsweetened almond milk. The almond milk contains potassium citrate, dipotassium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, natural flavors, guar gum, and gellan gum. Each serving has 220 calories, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 49 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Strawberry Smoothie – Fruit purees, juice concentrates, Greek yogurt, ice, vitamins, natural flavors, and steviol glycosides are what you will find in this smoothie. A serving has 260 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein, and 43 grams of carbs.

Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries Parfait

Bowl of Greek yogurt at Panera.

Those who are looking to supplement their diet with good probiotics will find live active cultures in this creamy yogurt bowl. Simple ingredients go into each bowl, including whole milk plain yogurt with live cultures, fresh blueberries and strawberries, and granola made with honey, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, sweetened dried cranberries, pecans, salt, and coconut.

Each parfait has 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, and 29 grams of carbohydrates. Expect to pay approximately $5.99 for each parfait.

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans

Bowl of Panera steel cut oats topped with sliced strawberries.

If you find yourself at Panera before 10:30 a.m., you can enjoy this breakfast item made with steel cut oats, strawberries, pecans, and a cinnamon crunch topping. Keep in mind that oats/groats may contain traces of wheat. Other trace items in this dish include cottonseed oil, sugar, modified corn starch, and soybean oil.

The price for a bowl is $6.29. Each bowl has 370 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 52 grams of carbs.

Mediterranean Bowls

Panera's warm Mediterranean bowl.

Mediterranean Bowls are a nod to healthy Mediterranean food in bowl form. There are two options: with chicken and without. The base of the warm bowls is made with Romaine lettuce, mixed greens, cucumber, red tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, lemon tahini, brown rice and quinoa blend, and hummus.

If you are looking at all of the ingredients in the dish, we recommend that you check out the Mediterranean Bowl Detailed Ingredients where you will see additional ingredients such as xanthan gum, canola oil, soybean oil, microbial & animal enzymes (this is important if you are a vegan), potato starch, natamycin (a mold inhibitor), hops, and more. 

The plain bowl costs $11.19 and has 510 calories, 28 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, and 51 grams of carbohydrates.

The Mediterranean Bowl with Chicken costs $13.19 and has 570 calories, 29 grams of fat, 26 grams of protein, and 53 grams of carbohydrates.

Baja Bowls

Panera's Baja Bowl and an apple.

Made with ingredients inspired by the Southwest, Baja bowls are made with a cilantro brown rice and quinoa blend, black bean and corn salsa, salsa verde, avocado, feta cheese, and Greek yogurt. [Get the Baja Bowl Detailed Ingredients at the Panera website.] Without chicken, you will pay approximately $11.19 per bowl.

Each bowl without chicken has 630 calories, 34 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein, and 70 grams of carbs. With chicken, the cost is $13.19 and you are looking at 690 calories, 35 grams of fat, 28 grams of protein, and 71 carbs.

Turkey Chili

Bowl of Panera Turkey Chili.

The seasonal chili favorite is described on the company’s website as a “hearty blend of dark-meat turkey raised without antibiotics and chickpeas and kidney beans slow cooked in an ancho and pasilla stock with tomatillos, tomatoes, edamame, carrots, cilantro, cumin and lime.” [It also has soybean oil, calcium chloride, ancho chiles, xanthan gum, and citric acid, to name a few of the additional items.]

A bowl of chili costs approximately $9.59. Each bowl has 300 calories, 10 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, and 31 grams of carbs.

Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken

Panera's Fuji Apple Salad.

The Panera Fuji Apple Salad is made with a blend of arugula, romaine, baby kale, and red leaf lettuces, grape tomatoes, red onions, toasted pecan pieces, Gorgonzola, chicken raised without antibiotics, and apple chips tossed in sweet white balsamic vinaigrette.

It will set you back $11.99 for a whole salad which has 580 calories, 36 grams of fat, 32 grams of protein, and  37 grams of carbohydrates.

Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken

Panera Green Goddess Salad with chicken.

The Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken is made with chicken that was raised without antibiotics, arugula, romaine, baby kale, and a red leaf blend, grape tomatoes, and pickled red onions tossed in a Green Goddess dressing and topped with avocado, bacon, and cage-free hard-boiled egg.

This popular salad has 530 calories, 30 grams of fat, 930 mg of sodium, 42 grams of protein, and 26 grams of carbohydrates. Each full-size salad costs approximately $13.89.

Greek Salad

Panera Greek salad with red onions, olives, and feta cheese.

The Panera Greek Salad is a good option for vegans and vegetarians or anyone looking for a Mediterranean salad. It’s made with Romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, feta, red onions, kalamata olives, salt and pepper and tossed in Greek dressing with a pepperoncini.

A whole salad has 410 calories, 35 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 17 grams of carbohydrates. The full-sized salad costs $8.99

About Panera Bread

According to The New Yorker, Panera Bread got its humble beginning as a cookie shop called the Cookie Jar in Boston in 1981. A year later the company merged with Au Bon Pain. Soup and sandwiches made with fresh-baked baguettes joined the menu lineup in 1985.

The Panera website says that the first Panera opened its doors in 1987 in Kirkwood, Missouri. Further information on the company’s timeline emphasizes the company’s transparency as well as its support for its communities, employees, and sustainability and stewardship.

Some of Panera’s food accomplishments include using chicken raised without antibiotics (since 2004) and removing artificial trans fats (in 2007).

In keeping with the times, Panera has an app available both for Apple and Android users making it easy to order online and skip the line. Customers can opt to have their food delivered to them in the parking lot or they can go inside the restaurant and pick up their order(s). Additional benefits of using the app are that customers can earn rewards for their purchases, store their payment information, and review nutrition all from the convenience of their cell phone.

Panera hours may vary by location, but the restaurant normally opens early to serve breakfast and is open until the evening.

Panera is located in most states. Click here for Panera Bread locations.

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