The five Life Alive locations spread across the Boston area and beyond are best known as vegetarian meccas, but the menus at each are just as welcoming to the GF crowd. All of the grain and salad bowls are gluten-free: as a starting point, consider the Green Goddess made with lemon-garlic brown rice, broccoli, kale, tofu, avocado, and ginger tamari sauce.
Gluten-Free Lunch Spots
Cheese & Charcuterie
Being gluten-free in Boston no longer means having to pack your own lunch. Thanks to the proliferation of Boston-based chains accommodating gluten sensitivity, it’s never been easier to eat local while staying wheat-free during lunch hour.
Whole Heart Provisions, alocal purveyor of vegan grain-based bowls, runs locations in Allston, Harvard Square, and Central Square. Its standard menu is entirely gluten-free with the exception of a single item (the Falafel Dog). Spring for a hearty bowl of healthy veggies packed over your choice of a kale, arugula, white rice, or a brown rice and quinoa pilaf base (or a mixture of two). For extra sustenance, order up a street food snack like the Seared Avocado with tahini and za’atar or Street Corn with vegan mayo and Korean chili flakes.
Joanne Chang’s eight-location-strong bakery chain Flour Bakery + Cafe cheerfully accommodates dietary preferences, including gluten allergy and sensitivity. Most sandwiches can be made on gluten-free bread (with the exception of grilled offerings) or served as salads. For dessert, you’ll discover sans-gluten treats like Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake and a Brown Sugar Almond Meringue.
Myers + Chang, a beloved South End pan-Asian spot from Flour’s Joanne Chang, is similarly mindful of dietary preferences in its lunch and dinner menus. The wheat-averse can partake in nearly a third of the menu, from Green Papaya Salad to Chicken + Broccoli Chow Fun to Wok-Roasted Mussels. On the sweet side, expect to encounter GF offerings like the Coconut Meringue Cloud and Chocolate Douha Mousse.
Thanks to local chain Mother Juice with locations in Kendall Square, Back Bay, and the Boston Public Market, the gluten intolerant can finally get in on the avocado toast craze. All of the toasts here—including the Taco Toast topped with avocado mash, vegan queso, and walnut taco “meat”—are served on Udi’s gluten-free bread. The salad bowls, such as a Buffalo Chick(pea) Salad with hemp ranch dressing and a Forbidden Rice Bowl with warm black rice, cashews, and cilantro-lime dressing, are similarly safe for gluten-free diners.