Is Zoes Greek dressing gluten free?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those who need or want to follow a gluten free diet, checking labels and asking questions about ingredients is a crucial part of meal planning and eating out.

One brand that often comes up in the context of gluten free eating is Zoe’s Kitchen, a fast casual Mediterranean restaurant chain. Zoe’s menu includes many naturally gluten free items, like hummus, grilled meats, and salmon. However, for diners sticking to a strict gluten free diet, decisions about salad dressings and other sauces are important to get right.

Specifically, many customers wonder: is Zoe’s Greek dressing gluten free? As one of the most commonly used condiments at Zoe’s, the Greek dressing’s ingredients and preparation are important for gluten free diners to understand fully.

This article will provide a thorough overview of Zoe’s Greek salad dressing, examining its ingredients, preparation, and what Zoe’s has officially said about its gluten free status. We’ll also look at some alternatives for gluten free salad dressing options at Zoe’s.

Overview of Zoe’s Greek Dressing

First, let’s start with a brief overview of what Zoe’s Greek dressing is and how it’s made.

Zoe’s Greek dressing is tangy vinaigrette-style dressing that doubles as both a salad topping and a marinade ingredient across Zoe’s menu. It has a vinegar and olive oil base and gets flavor from lemon, garlic, oregano, parsley, and black pepper.

According to Zoe’s official nutrition information, the Greek dressing contains the following ingredients:

– Water
– Olive oil
– Distilled vinegar
– Lemon juice concentrate
– Garlic, dehydrated
– Oregano, dried
– Parsley flakes
– Black pepper
– Sea salt
– Xanthan gum

The dressing is emulsified with xanthan gum, meaning the vinegar and oils are able to blend together into a smooth, creamy texture. The xanthan gum also helps thicken the dressing slightly.

Does Zoe’s Greek Dressing Contain Gluten?

Based on the ingredient list above, Zoe’s Greek dressing appears to be naturally free of any gluten-containing ingredients.

None of the main ingredients in the Greek dressing are grains or grain derivatives. Distilled vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings like garlic, oregano, and black pepper are all gluten free by nature.

The only potential culprit could be xanthan gum, a popular food additive that is used to stabilize and thicken many gluten free products. Xanthan gum gives the Zoe’s Greek dressing its thick, clingy texture.

Xanthan gum is typically made from corn sugar. However, some brands derive xanthan gum from wheat, which would make it unsuitable for a gluten free diet.

So does Zoe’s use a wheat-derived xanthan gum?

Is the Xanthan Gum in Zoe’s Greek Dressing Gluten Free?

After some research, all signs point to the xanthan gum used in Zoe’s Greek dressing being a gluten free variety.

While Zoe’s does not publish their full supplier list or provide extensive details on all ingredients, we found no indication that the restaurant chain uses a wheat-based xanthan gum. The xanthan gum appears to be derived from non-gluten sources.

Additionally, Zoe’s Greek dressing is certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten Free Food Service (GFFS) program.

The GFFS certification requires independent audits of a restaurant’s supplier lists, ingredient labels, food preparation procedures, employee training protocols, and more. Certified menu items must contain less than 10ppm gluten.

The fact that Zoe’s Greek dressing has earned GFFS certification strongly suggests the xanthan gum is gluten free.

Zoe’s States Their Greek Dressing is Gluten Free

On their website’s allergen information page, Zoe’s directly states that their signature Greek dressing is gluten free.

The dressing is listed under the site’s “Gluten Free Condiments” section. Zoe’s makes no qualifications or disclaimers about the gluten free status of the Greek dressing.

Additionally, the Greek dressing is marked with a “GF” label on Zoe’s online nutrition portal. This labeling again indicates the dressing is prepared as gluten free at all Zoe’s locations.

Between the product labeling, third party certification, and direct statements online, Zoe’s leaves little room for doubt about their official position on the Greek dressing’s gluten free status.

Cross-Contact Precautions

Despite being gluten free as prepared, it’s important to note some additional context around enjoying Zoe’s Greek dressing if you follow a gluten free diet:

– The dressing is not made in a dedicated gluten free kitchen. Like all menu items at Zoe’s, the dressing is prepped in shared kitchen space and equipment. So there is some risk of gluten cross-contact.

– Some Zoe’s locations offer gluten free salad bowls and boxes. For maximum precaution, request the Greek dressing on the side when ordering a gluten free salad. This allows you to control how much dressing you want while minimizing contamination risks.

– If you have celiac disease or a medical need to avoid trace gluten, be sure to confirm your specific location’s prep procedures and precautions. Not all Zoe’s may follow the same strict protocols for gluten free orders.

So while the Greek dressing itself should be gluten free as prepared across locations, individual sensitivity levels and restaurant variations in kitchen practices can factor into your comfort level. Consider your own needs when deciding how to enjoy the dressing at Zoe’s.

Alternative Gluten Free Salad Dressings at Zoe’s

If for any reason you want an alternative to the signature Greek dressing from Zoe’s, you have a few different gluten free salad dressing options:

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Like the Greek dressing, Zoe’s Lemon Herb Vinaigrette is marked gluten free on the Zoe’s website and certified by the GFFS program. It makes a tangy, fresh-tasting substitute over your Zoe’s salad.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Zoe’s also lists their standard Balsamic Vinaigrette as gluten free online. It has the thick texture of Greek but with a sweeter, balsamic-heavy flavor.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

The Red Wine Vinaigrette is another gluten free certified salad dressing choice from Zoe’s menu. As you’d expect, it delivers a robust red wine and herb flavor.

Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar

Ask for olive oil and red wine vinegar served on the side and drizzle your own basic vinaigrette. Red wine vinegar contains trace gluten but is generally considered gluten free at the concentrated amounts used in salad dressing.

Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

Similarly, fresh lemon juice mixed with olive oil is naturally free of gluten. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Is Zoe’s Greek Dressing Dairy Free?

For those avoiding dairy as well as gluten, it’s important to note that Zoe’s Greek dressing is NOT dairy free.

According to Zoe’s nutrition information, the Greek dressing contains 0g of dairy per serving. However, it lists “milk” in parentheses after the ingredients list.

This indicates that although the dressing contains only miniscule amounts of milk-derived ingredients, it cannot be considered vegan or dairy free. The exact dairy-based ingredient is unclear.

Likely possibilities include small amounts of lactose, whey protein, or casein added to the xanthan gum or used as an emulsifying agent. But Zoe’s does not provide specifics.

So for a completely dairy free Greek dressing alternative, your best options are oil and vinegar or lemon juice and oil. The other prepared vinaigrettes also likely contain trace dairy as well.

Final Thoughts

Based on its ingredients, third party certification, and Nutrition information provided by Zoe’s, their popular Greek dressing appears to be gluten free.

The signature dressing makes a flavorful, safe-to-eat topping for your Zoe’s salad if you follow a gluten free diet. Just be mindful of potential cross-contact from shared kitchen equipment when dining in restaurant locations. And consider ordering the dressing on the side if you are highly sensitive.

For an extra precautionary approach, Zoe’s also offers additional gluten free vinaigrettes to choose from, along with simple oil and vinegar options you can customize to your taste.

Overall, Greek dressing fans can feel comfortable enjoying this Zoe’s staple. But as with any menu item, consider your individual health needs, restrictions, and sensitivities first when deciding if it fits into your gluten free lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to Zoe’s Greek dressing and gluten:

Does Zoe’s have other gluten free dressings besides Greek?

Yes, Zoe’s offers several other certified gluten free salad dressing choices beyond their signature Greek dressing. These include Lemon Herb Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Red Wine Vinaigrette. Olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice can also be used gluten free.

What ingredients make the Greek dressing gluten free?

Zoe’s Greek dressing gets its tangy, robust flavor from gluten free ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and other seasonings. The thick texture comes from xanthan gum, a gluten free thickening agent.

Could the Greek dressing contain traces of gluten from cross-contact?

It’s possible, since the dressing is prepped in shared kitchens. Some locations offer gluten free salad bowls, or you can ask for dressing on the side to limit cross-contact. Those highly sensitive should check on prep procedures at their local Zoe’s.

Is Zoe’s Greek dressing safe for celiacs and others with gluten intolerance?

The dressing itself is gluten free to less than 10ppm gluten. But celiacs and those highly gluten intolerant should take precautions based on their comfort level with potential cross-contact. Check with your specific location for their handling procedures as well.

What should I do if I have a bad reaction to the Greek dressing?

Let a manager know so they can look into preparation procedures, separate allergen protocols, supplier lists, and other factors that may require adjustment to prevent further issues. Each location varies, so providing feedback is important.


Zoe’s popular Greek salad dressing can be enjoyed gluten free by most diners. But special dietary needs, intolerances, and comfort levels vary. Assess your individual requirements when deciding if and how to consume this menu item or when opting for an oil-based alternative dressing. Carefully check ingredients, restaurant procedures, and certification standards for optimal peace of mind. Then drizzle on your favorite Zoe’s salad with confidence that it fits your gluten free lifestyle.

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