You have all the details planned for your holiday party: décor, drinks, and playlists are ready to roll. However, you just received two late RSVPs from your vegan friend and gluten free brother in-law. Now what? We came up with a few ideas to help any host work around guests with certain dietary requirements and picky palettes. Depending on your personal eating habits any of these specific diets could seem extreme; however, with so many people being health conscious these days, there are lots of good options!
Vegetarian to Vegan- Who Eats What?
If you have a vegetarian attending your party find out how strict they are. There are a few variations on the vegetarian diet; pescetarians eat seafood and refrain from land living animals, so you can still serve the classic shrimp cocktail! Flexitarians are fair-weather vegetarians that typically stay away from meat, but may cave on special occasions. Ask your guests if what you are serving qualifies for their meat eating exceptions. Regular vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish and sometimes stay away from eggs, they do however eat dairy like cheese, yogurt, and milk. Vegans are the strictest of the vegetarian dieters. Vegans do not eat any animal products of any kind. They stay away from all meats, seafood, diary, eggs, and even honey.
Instead of going into a panic over what to serve, look at your existing planned menu and see if any modifications can be made such as no dairy in the mashed potatoes or, omit the bacon from a batch of roasted vegetables. Do not worry about re-designing a whole menu to accommodate a few guests, but it is a good idea to have a few items for them. For a main dish for a vegetarian make a hearty mushroom risotto that could double as side dish for the rest of the guests or a roasted vegetable tart. This with a few modified sides will be plenty to have your veggie friends feel included in the big feast!
Accommodating Gluten Free Friends
In a nutshell a gluten free diet is staying away from the protein, gluten, found in wheat, barely, and rye. Gluten is also commonly found in processed foods. To avoid upsetting gluten free guests there are many easy options. Many gluten free folks stick to lean proteins, fruits and, vegetables. And luckily many of our holiday menus include these items. If you are serving any store bought items like a roasted ham or turkey make sure they are made with gluten free spices and marinades. Potatoes serve as a great starch, try an elegant scalloped potato dish or the savory gluten free latkes. Main courses are relativity easy to work around with gluten free guests—dessert is the tough part. Since most of our sweets contain flour, decadent cakes, decorated sugar cookies, fruity pies, and petit fours, it leaves little room for a gluten free sweet tooth. There are however a few sweet treats everyone can enjoy! Try rich gluten free truffles or a velvety gluten free cheesecake. If you do not have time to bake out of your way, most organic markets carry gluten free baked goods these days. Or simply whip fresh cream and serve with fruit!
Do you have any go-to vegetarian or gluten free recipes you’d like to share?