Hosting people with gluten sensitivities or dairy allergies? Don’t fret: There are a number of ways to throw a fantastic party keeping their needs in mind without shortchanging your omnivorous guests. (Think: delicious proteins and produce and a fabulous dessert.)
Consider, too, that your gluten-avoiding and dairy-eschewing guests will be grateful not to have to pick and ponder, hem and haw over all your gorgeous offerings, trying to discern which are OK for them to eat. Here are our tips for throwing a party welcoming to all:
1. Consider the Cuisine
Accustomed to whipping up something red-sauced and Italian for loved ones? While sure, there are gluten-free pasta options on the market and plenty of non-dairy “cheeses,” why not consider a cuisine that plays to your strong suit, instead? Mexican, Indian, Greek, Thai and Middle Eastern cuisines all lend themselves to vegan, wheat-free incarnations. (Mexico is the land of corn; Indian and Thai dishes often incorporate gluten-free rice; Middle Eastern food tends to be bean- and produce-centric.) Here is the recipe for the marvelous hummus seen here.
2. Focus on Proteins
Let proteins and produce be the star of this show. A good-looking roast chicken, a platter of beans and greens, a rack of lamb, and the like are showstoppers just as a baked lasagna can be. Consider roasting a whole bird or steak and plating it, hot, on a cutting board covered with salt-seasoned salad greens. The meat will wilt the greens to gorgeous effect, and you have an instant meat-and-greens meal.
3. Make Thrilling Salads
Perhaps you have your go-to salad: You break open the plastic bag, you toss the greens with a mix of oil and vinegar, you pour it out on to a plate, and yes, it’s salad. Done. But remember that salad can also be a superstar, whether it’s Thai papaya salad dressed up with lime juice and cherry tomatoes, a beef Thai salad, or any other of the world’s gorgeous salads. (Hello, winter citrus!)
4. Build Crudité with Panache
Like, we said, protein and produce! Crudité can be the star of the show if you allow it to be. This platter is worth carving out some quality time for your local farmer’s market: The pros can tell you whether carrots are sweet or tart right now. You can sample nut cheeses until you find the right one to accompany your platter. (Or go with bean dip!) Whether you like your veggies blanched or raw, as long as you keep an eye on an assortment of colors and flavors and have some sort of dip, you’re golden.
5. Offer a Dream Dessert
With the rise of almond flours, gluten-free flours, and egg and milk substitutes, bananas-good gluten-free and dairy-free desserts are are on the rise. And thank goodness. There’s no reason to skimp on dessert, whether it’s a light, bright granita or citrus sorbet that cleanses the palate beautifully or a dense, dark flourless chocolate cake. Whatever you do, it’ll accomplish what you intended: Guests will feel included, not excluded– and happily full, to boot.