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Allergy to soy, eggs, gluten and shellfish! HELP!

Hi y'all.

My boyfriend's sister is coming to stay with us for a few days. She suffers from quite a few allergies and I'd love to have meals and snacks that she can enjoy.

She is allergic to: soy, eggs, gluten, and shellfish. She avoids: oils, butter, beef and pork. To make things more complicated, her husband doesn't eat fish.

So far all I've got is doing a roasted chicken with a salad. Anyone have any ideas of some quick meals that meet all her requirements? Anyone with allergies that can point me towards some dos/donts?


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  1. How about shepherd's pie made with ground lamb, chicken, or turkey? (no bottom crust, just mashed potatoes on top)

    3 Replies
    1. re: jvanderh

      A turkey shepherd's pie sounds great! I'm actually making that for dinner tonight...so I'll just make a double batch.

      1. re: acbell

        careful about the thickener for your gravy

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          nice catch!

          @acbell, do you have any GF flour or starch in the house? rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, arrowroot and tapioca are all safe.

      1. Wow - that is rough list. I tell people you can have allergies or preferences, not both (haha)

        No oil or butter? That is insane in my kitchen. I wish I could help but . . . . eek.

        I would have your boyfriend ask his sister what they eat normally to get some ideas.

        A good mushroom stew could be good (with a wonderfully crusty bread for everyone else).

        3 Replies
        1. re: thimes

          I'll have to remember that--allergies or preferences, but not both!

          1. re: thimes

            If you're going to do a mushroom stew, I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Bourguignon. I've done it with gluten free flour and it tastes just fine. I'm not sure how you'd do it without oil or butter though...is a butter substitute ok?

            1. re: whitneybee

              No oil or butter is insane in my kitchen as well! I've seen her do a little swipe of oil with a paper towel on a pan, but that's about it.

              She's pretty dead-set with her preferences and would rather go hungry than eat them. I don't completely understand it, but want to welcome her to my house and not 'force' her to eat something.

              The mushroom stew sounds A-mah-zing. Especially with the February-esque weather we've been having in New England. I'm definitely putting that in my recipe to-do box. As far as butter substitute, I'm not sure--I think most of them would be soy-based.

          2. Sounds like you'd be better off asking for a detailed list of the things that she CAN eat! That list doesn't leave much aside from chicken and rice.

            1. Chicken, turkey or vegetarian chili

              1. Ha! I've got most of these issues with people in my family when a bunch of them visit too!

                Use Asian ingredients in a way that you like. Rice served with chicken and vegetable stir fries. If she doesn't eat soy, it's okay, use salt and other herbs. Rice noodles. Rice wraps. There are bean noodles too. Does she maybe say she doesn't like super oily food because it might give her a rash?? Is a little oil okay? You can always add a bit of water if it's not cooking fast enough. (My husband is like that with oil/butter by the way. A little is okay, a lot brings on issues.) Otherwise, you can steam stuff. You can serve rice with steamed chicken. Maybe just bring on the steamed food for her altogether. Steam the chicken, steam the veggies. Use different seasonings. On one day, do a sweet and sour sort of thing, on another day, bring out the ginger and garlic, etc.

                Turkey burgers on salad? There are gluten free pastas and breads out there but I think the pastas are horrible, making your own would probably taste a billion times better.

                You can make things with beans and rice. Baked falafel with gluten free pita or bread (outrageously expensive though so you might want to just serve it on salad). If you want to spend the effort and the $ on gluten free baking ingredients, let me know, I can post a good website...

                Chicken/turkey soup with rice and vegetables. Vegetable stews. That's all I can think of for now. If you have a rice cooker, slow cooker, and steamer, they will be your best friend because they will save you effort and also the slow cooker and steamer will minimize oil used.

                7 Replies
                1. re: S_K

                  Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta is tasty. It's not the same as wheat pasta, but it makes good pasta dishes, though without oil or butter, you'd probably want cheese or anchovies or something else flavorful. Maybe you could mix in grilled vegetables and chile to get a smoky kick? Maybe a rice pasta dish with the grilled veggies and some turkey or chicken burgers. Just be sure to stir the pasta after a few minutes in the boiling water, because it tends to stick in the first few minutes of cooking.

                  My other thought is to cook rice and serve with a braised chicken or lamb dish and some steamed veggies. Just broil the meat to brown instead of doing so on the stovetop with oil. You could also go a Mediterranean route and serve kebabs or lamb meatballs with tzaziki, fresh or grilled tomatoes, hummous or baba ganoush without oil (is tahini okay?) and rice on the side.

                  1. re: amyzan

                    Your broiling tip is smart. I'll have to remember that one.

                  2. re: S_K

                    Watch out for the gluten in Asian condiments, though. It has a way of sneaking in there. Same thing with storebought stock or bouillon.

                    1. re: piccola

                      the guest is soy-allergic as well, so yeah, i think the OP is just skipping that stuff altogether.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Fair enough, though not all of them contain soy -- seasoned rice vinegar often contains gluten, for example.

                        1. re: piccola

                          oh i know. my point was that since the guest is allergic to both gluten and soy, anything that contains *either one* is off limits...and since most anything that comes in a package seems to contain one or the other these days, that doesn't leave many options :)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Ha! Good point. Thank god dairy's allowed or else it would super complicated.

                  3. Do you have a grill? Grilled chicken breast that have been marinated in any number of lower-fat things (or not, as they'll mostly grill off the fat) would work well, and grilled squash or corn are wonderful sides.

                    That might also be a great way to do fish for some, a steak for her sig.other.

                    I just made a quick stir-fry the other night that was basically teriyaki (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/teriyaki...) with chicken and pineapple, plus celery, and carrots. I served it over coconut rice with peas (rice cooked in coconut milk and water, with salt, a bit of chicken base and a handful of frozen peas stirred in). The jury seems to be out on soy sauce, but check with her before you yay-or-nay - I've read that the levels of gluten are below the detectable level in Kikkoman soy sauce for the teriyaki

                    Right now it feels terribly limited, but I guarantee once you get over the "REALLY??" of the situation, there are a ton of your regular meals that will fill the bill.

                    I tried to find the recipe for Moroccan chicken that TracyakaSampleAddict had linked me to at one point but can't find it - it would be really great as well.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: shanagain

                      Great idea! Grilled vegetables are really tasty too.

                      1. re: shanagain

                        The jury seems to be out on soy sauce, but check with her before you yay-or-nay - I've read that the levels of gluten are below the detectable level in Kikkoman soy sauce for the teriyaki
                        i wouldn't risk it re: gluten when there's the option of certified GF tamari...but it's a moot point because the OP said her guest is also allergic to soy.

                      2. grilled chicken, grilled, steamed or roasted veggies, lots of fresh fruit.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: magiesmom

                          Great ideas! Now only if the lousy Boston rain would stop.....

                        2. No eggs or butter, but can she have dairy? That would open in up a bit.

                          For snacks, have an assortment of fresh and dried fruit and nuts. Crudite with hummus and/or tzatziki works, which you can supplement with pita for those eating gluten. Guacamole with jicama slices or other veg works too. Plain yogurt is good both as a snack and a dressing. Roasted chickpeas if you can use a small amount of oil. Olives.

                          Roast extra chicken, and use it for tacos with 100% corn (check the label) tortillas, rice, whole beans, and veg, and salsa.

                          Summer rolls with a dipping sauce you make to avoid allergens. Is there such a thing as chicken pho?

                          Lentils as daal, soup, or in salads.

                          Quinoa couscous

                          Bean soups or chili.

                          I would roast extra chickens and have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. You don't all need to eat exactly the same thing -- if you can share components, you can still keep everyone satisfied. If you could use a bit of oil, you could do a lot with grilled or roasted vegetables. .

                          I would stay away from the gluten free products and stick with whole foods. Think protein plus vegetable.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: maxie

                            Good advice! She's only here for about 4 days, so I don't want to fill my pantry with *too* many gf foods.

                          2. You could make a quinoa salad like this one with black beans. It has 1 tsp. of oil.


                            The tacos that were mentioned were a good idea, using corn tortillas. You could also make fajitas. These are easy and good and you do not need to use much oil.


                            The stir-fry ideas are good with rice, but I would be very careful on the ingredients. There is wheat-free soy sauce, I would not use regular if it is a real allergy to soy/gluten.

                            Keep some rice cakes around too for a snack.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: valerie

                              ooooh...love the looks of the quinoa salad...I've been meaning to put more quinoa in our diet and this is a great excuse...

                            2. Make dishes that don't have her allergic ingredients. Let her "avoid" the rest.

                              1. I came accross this recipe on accident while I was looking for a new and improved tomatillo salsa. I can't wait to try it out myself.

                                1. you're an incredibly thoughtful and generous host to go to so much trouble for her. and as someone who also can't eat gluten or soy, i can tell you that she'll appreciate the effort immensely!

                                  random thoughts:
                                  - a meze platter - hummus, baba ghannouj, muhammara, quinoa tabbouleh, dolmades, gigantes
                                  - chana masala
                                  - mujadara
                                  - polenta with mushroom ragu
                                  - turkey meatloaf with ground flax as the binder
                                  - peanut/groundnut stew
                                  - chicken paella
                                  - Moroccan tagine with chickpeas and/or chicken

                                  don't stress too much about the snacks - your BF can take her to the store to pick up a couple of things after she arrives, because it's hard to know what someone will enjoy munching on (and honestly you shouldn't have to foot the bill for the insanely overpriced packaged GF snacks). but if you want to have something in the house that she can munch on when she gets there, basic things like 100% corn tortilla chips with salsa, nuts, fruit, chicken or tuna salad (made with yogurt instead of mayo), plain deli turkey and yogurt, are all fine.

                                  i assume you're not going to worry about breakfast - she can pick up some cottage cheese, or yogurt, or GF cereal, or whatever she typically eats.

                                  just read labels carefully before cooking with any prepared sauces or condiments - gluten & soy hide in MANY unexpected places.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Thanks--she's a great lady and has been very very kind to me, so I want to make sure that I make an effort to make/get things she likes without making it seem like "a big deal"

                                    Your recipe ideas seem fabulous...and a little beyond my current cooking capabilities. Any advice how to approach those dishes for the first time? The Masala, the paella and the tagine sound oh so intriguing.

                                    Breakfast is taken care of--she's bringing her own cereal from across the country and I'm getting Almond Dream milk and bananas.

                                    The only thing that I'm most worried about is making a condiment oopsies. Like putting in a dash of tabasco ( I don't know...is this gf?) without thinking...

                                    1. re: acbell

                                      Tabasco is perfectly safe, so dash away! if you have questions about any other condiments you can usually look them up online, or post a list for me here and i'll let you know which ones are safe.

                                      and honestly, the dishes i mentioned are easier than you'd think, but i didnt mean to overwhelm you - i didn't have a barometer for your skill level, and i just get so excited about the chance to help someone with things like this that i tend to get a bit carried away ;)

                                      paella is probably the most challenging, but still not difficult - it just takes a little patience and instinct. and it helps if you have an actual paella pan, but it's certainly still doable without one. here are some really informative threads about technique & recipes when you're ready to tackle it:

                                      the other dishes i mentioned may sound intimidating because of the ingredient lists, but they're easy to put together, and though prep/cooking times may sound long, a lot of it is for unattended simmering so they're really not fussy.

                                      Chana Masala:


                                      when these recipes call for glutenicious grains/sides like couscous or bulgur, i just sub quinoa or rice.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for those pointers. I'm a fairly new cook, but am loving it. I make a home-cooked meal every night after work, so I'm getting experience fast. I'm always on the lookout for fast, nutritious meals with fresh ingredients--these look like the next frontier.

                                        I'm going to have to make a spice run to get some of these ingredients, but looking forward to it!

                                        As far as gf goes...what about chicken stocks? I buy organic (I know I should make my own...its just a time question), but should I avoid using them?

                                        1. re: acbell

                                          my pleasure. seriously.

                                          stock really depends on the brand, some are GF *or* soy-free but not both. Imagine Organic, Pacific Foods Organic and Kitchen Basics are all safe.

                                  2. Meat, veggies and fruit. Nuts are good snacks. Kale restaurant at Yonge and Eglington may be a good option. Smoothie or juice bars at the mall for snacks on the go work well too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: danionavenue

                                      Gluten free pasta from Noah's is not bad. You could make a chicken penne dish one night. Then I would do chicken and salad with roasted cauliflower the other. Lunch could be stir-fry one day and chicken kebabs with a fruit salad the next. Ground turkey meat tacos would work since she can still have corn. Mexican rice and maybe a cheese cake made with ground nuts for the crust for dessert?

                                    2. you've got a lot of wonderful choices so far. since you didn't say dairy, i have a few more ideas, i think....

                                      polenta - warm and soft, or chilled, cut and grilled with a ground chicken/turkey tomato ragu

                                      baked or grilled eggplant parmesan - use cornmeal and herbs to coat - just brush them with a little yogurt to hold on the breading, then broil or bake stacked up with slices of basil and tomato

                                      stuffed zucchini or tomatoes - use quinoa or amaranth, rice, veggies in your stuffing and broil

                                      lettuce wraps with a ground chicken or bean or mushroom or etc filling, use some sort of GF tamari based sauce

                                      ratatouille with roasted chicken and/or feta

                                      buckwheat crepes with filling(s) or choice

                                      tacos with corn tortillas and fajita veggies, chicken salsa etc

                                      mexican lasagna - beans, rice, tomatoes, corn tortillas, green or red sauce (homemade), sour cream and cheeses if she can tolerate them... layer and bake.

                                      good luck! honestly, as someone with copious allergies, i can suggest the following. tell her what you plan to make. if she can only (or will only) eat part of it, reserve some for her, and finish the rest as you like.

                                      1. I'll suggest beans and rice, either mexican or southern style. Pinto beans and mexican rice made with tomatoes, onions and cumino, served with corn tortillas and salsa. Maybe even pollo verde along side. Or black eyed peas with rice and corn bread and collards. Of course all of those things would be better with lard and smoked pork hocks respectively, but they'll be perfectly good without the pig's help too. You could put a few chicken legs in with black eyes peas and let them braise.
                                        It's real nice that your thinking about her restrictions. Poor gal, allergic to all that. I thank heavens every day for my fully functioning digestive system.

                                        1. How about Smitten Kitchen's chicken meatballs? These are great: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/bak...

                                          You can sub gluten-free bread or bread crumbs for the regular bread. Serve with rice pasta or perhaps risotto.