Going to the fair when you have food restrictions or are following a specific diet can be challenging. Fair food is heavy on the meat, the dairy, the breading, the oil, and the carbs.
But this isn’t the Minnesota State Fair of 1990.
This is the gastronomically inclusive Minnesota State Fair of 2022.
For those of you seeking gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, keto or paleo foods that taste amazing – you’re in great hands thanks to the innovative food vendors at the State Fair.
We’ve put together a food guide to help you find some delicious foods that meet your specific requirements.
But first, two disclaimers:
- We did not confirm the ingredients used with the food vendors listed, below. Please check with the vendor to ensure that the food item is appropriate for your dietary restrictions.
- This is not an exhaustive list. Many food booths have options that fit special diets.
Here are our picks:
So many fair foods are battered and fried – an automatic no for those following a gluten-free diet.
Thankfully, Auntie M’s Gluten Free serves fair favorites like gluten-free funnel cakes, corn dogs, and cheese curds.
New vendor Arepa Bar (in the Food Building) serves three gluten-free arepas (baked Venezuelan-style corn pockets) – and one of them is also vegan.
One of the new foods this year, tirokroketes from Dino’s Gyros is gluten-free. These fried balls contain a mix of cheeses with Greek seasoning, are rolled in gluten-free panko breadcrumbs, and deep fried.
The ginger-apricot scone from French Meadow Bakery & Café was an unexpected and delightful find.
We grabbed on our way out of the fair – after a day of eating – and couldn’t put it down!
The Corn Roast is, naturally, also gluten-free.
There are plentiful meat-free options at the fair. Nearly every food vendor has something to offer vegetarians.
One of our favorite vendors selling great vegetarian options is Baba’s. The hummus bowls at Baba’s are great on so many levels. They’re substantial and affordable. And many of their bowls are sans meat and contain a lot of tasty, flavorful ingredients.
Here are some of their vegetarian options:
- Falafelicious: falafel, fried eggplant, chickpeas, pickled cabbage, Arabic pickles, tahini, sumac
- Dill & curd: dill pickle hummus, dill pickles, cheese curds, crispy onions
- Creamy dreamy traditional: warm chickpeas, herbs, pine nuts, olive oil
The entire menu at new food vendor Nautical Bowls is both vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based. We loved the Nauti Bowl because it was refreshing and light – a nice break from the heavier fried foods of the fair.
There are so many vegan options at the fair – this list barely scratches the surface:
The Herbivorous Butcher’s presence at the fair is great news for vegans. Their two vegan entrees are the Poultrygeist and the Steak-xorcist.
Coco-Nuts bowl from Baba’s contains hazelnut chocolate hummus, chocolate chips, hazelnuts, shredded coconut and bananas, and powdered sugar pita puffs.
Daryl’s Dog House serves a vegan corn dog.
French Meadow has two new vegan entrees this year: Earth Sliders (fried "chicken" sandwich) and "meat" balls and marinara.
Paleo & Keto Options
Those following grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diets may have a harder time finding good picks at the fair than, say, vegetarians or vegans. But there are plenty of grilled and smoked meat options that work for paleo and keto diets:
The Hangar is one of a few places that sell turkey legs at the fair. They also sell bacon-wrapped pork belly ($15).
Carousel BBQ serves turkey legs ($18) and pork chop on a stick ($10) that looked and smelled absolutely delicious.
Here are some other options that may fit paleo or keto diets:
- Fresh fruits and grilled peaches at The Produce Exchange
- The firecracker shrimp stuffed avocado at The Hideaway Speakeasy
- The giant pickle-on-a-stick at Fried Pickles
- Olives on a stick at St. Martin’s Olives in the International Bazaar