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Open for suggestions: welcome guests, dietary restrictions

I'm entertaining very welcome dinner guests who have developed dietary restrictions since last I saw them many years ago: one can have no sugar and only whole grains (no flour); the other is not supposed to eat animal products. I am told that vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fish are all good (yes, yes, fish are "animal" but I am going with what I'm told). Anybody got any ideas on what to serve? My usual fallbacks of pasta and chicken are out, and I'm not feeling imaginative.

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  1. Make it a potluck and have them bring what they CAN eat?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jameshig

      I'd do that, but they are flying in and staying in a hotel.

    2. "only whole grains (no flour)"

      Are you clear on if this means no wheat flour PERIOD, or no white flour? If the latter, there are plenty of whole wheat and multigrain pastas. Similarly, are sweeteners like agave, honey, or maple syrup permitted?

      4 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I can ask, but I think it means nothing ground into flour.

        1. re: greygarious

          As a person who's had type 1 diabetes for 40 years, I can say with some confidence that anyone who's not supposed to eat sugar should probably not eat agave, honey, or maple syrup either.

          1. re: Euonymous

            I think it depends on the reasons. I have a dear friend who believed for years that she was "allergic" to cane sugar, but could eat other sweeteners. If that's the situation here, then maybe agave is okay.

          2. re: greygarious

            It means no flour; a grain is no longer a "whole grain" nor have its benefits once it's been milled into flour.

          3. I would serve salmon fillets (poached or grilled), with a side of some sort of whole grain pilaf, like brown rice or quinoa, and a nice green salad. And, for dessert I'd serve fresh fruit and cheese. If cheese counts as an animal product, then that guest can just feast on the fruit.

            1. Make a really nice vegetable curry and serve it over a whole grain like farro or a mix of brown rice and barley. Cube some firm tofu for more protein and a nice mouth feel. A Vindaloo style would be terrific, really satisfying, flavorful and nutritious. Have some condiments on hand to make it fun, like crushed nuts, shredded coconut, shredded romaine, etc. Can't tell if dairy is out, but if it isn't, then a good plain yogurt would be nice to serve on the side as a garnish, too. With the fish, just go simple and oven roast some good fish, and serve with a green sauce (minced garlic, olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and a couple of fresh herbs like parsley and basic and tarragon). Perhaps a sorbet assortment for dessert, with dark chocolates.

              1. I agree that fish, a grain and a salad are a great meal!! For apps, you can put out fresh veggies (carrots, celery, radishes) and hummus or white bean dip, and for dessert, fresh fruit sounds delicious - watermellon, berries and peaches perhaps. How nice that your guests are so welcome and you don't mind working within their constraints. That's not often the case on these boards!!

                1. I agree with many of the posters.
                  I would make grilled or roasted fish (salmon, halibut), and serve with lemons or perhaps a salsa that includes some fruit, brown rice or quinoa, a green salad (ideally with topped with cooked beans or peas), and some roasted vegetables. For dessert, I'd serve Coconut Bliss ice cream (no dairy, no cane sugar, sweetened with agave, and actually really delicious), with some fresh fruit or a cooked fruit sauce, and toasted nuts.

                  1. I'd serve them grilled salmon with grilled veggies or ratatouille, and maybe some sweet potato puree, roasted sweet potato or sweet potato salad. I'd skip the grains, not necessary, IMO.

                    1. Doesn't sound like a medical cause but I'll leave it to you to challenge them on it.

                      it's spring, so go along those lines. I've made a pea/snap pea/fava starter with salmon roe, which you could follow up with an asparagus risotto (which you can use dashi rather than chicken broth), then a grilled fish that is in season (Pacific halibut, or lobsters if you're feeling flush). Simple leaf salad, cheese, then some form of dessert that others are already suggesting.

                      Scallops and foie gras cabbage parcels with saffron risotto would have been nice too, but it's out of scope.

                      1. Many thanks for all your suggestions. I'm pleased to say that they are making me hungry!