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Dinner party for multi-allergy guest

I have a dillemma on my hand. I'm suppose to be hosting a dinner party for a group of friends. All adventurous, well travelled, open minded "foodies." One miner issue, one of them has food allergy to many usual and unusal things. List of no-nos includes: all grains (rice, oats, barley, etc), all dairy (including butter), all nuts, fruits w/ big ston cores (such as plums or dates), garlic, mushrooms, onions, all poultry, most of the oils (only safe one is vegetable and canola), all soy products, and probably a few others that I don't know yet. I have decided on fish for my entry (and gotten the safe fish list from the person), and a non-dairty home made sorbet for dessert. But I'm drawing a blank on what to serve as my side and appeziter. I am an pretty experienced home-cook and baker, have a pretty well stocked kitchen, and is in a major metropolitan area where I can source most items w/o too much issues. Can anyone suggest something other than mix salad? Thanks in advnace!

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  1. Holy moly! You are being very nice and very accommodating. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances with various food allergies and intolerances, and try to work around that if at all possible so everyone can cook everything I serve - but - this list is really daunting. Wheat wasn't mentioned above - perhaps an appetizer pizza with a tapenade topping? If you go vegan, a lot of vegetables would be available as sides - but - gosh. I bet this person is used to having enough to sustain him and her and would understand if you make some things the others would enjoy and be sure to warn him/her about.

    1. Does this person adhere to a low-carb diet? If so, I would make whatever carb side you and your guests would like and make sure to have an extra large serving of protein and vegetables for the allergy sufferer. If not, potatoes and sweet potatoes don't seem to be on the no-no list, so perhaps you could do something there - pommes Anna with bacon fat instead of butter, perhaps? Or homemade frites/pommes souffles in vegetable oil? Latkes made with half sweet and half regular potatoes, fried in oil or bacon fat?

      As for vegetables, just choose one (or several) that the allergy sufferer can eat and roast it simply in either bacon fat or an allowed oil. For an appetizer, butternut squash or fennel or cauliflower soup without onions, garlic or dairy? This cute little scallop "sandwich" with appropriate substitutions: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gr... ? A variety of tapas so that your other guests can have some options and the allergy sufferer can just stick to things that work for him/her?

      1 Reply
      1. re: biondanonima

        I was going to suggest some sort of potato side...
        roasted veggies are always a delicious addition.
        bless you heart for working so hard to accomodate your friend! :)

      2. I'd say you could put out a pretty varied antipasti for nibbles. make sure it includes some pickled veggies for your friend, then meats and cheeses and nuts for the others. You could also do a pretty simple pureed soup for an appetizer, like a broccoli puree soup that you can top with cheese or cream or truffle oil or bacon for the others. Can she eat bread and eggs? A savory bread pudding could be a good side dish, depending on what you do with your fish. Mashed sweet potatoes might be okay, too, which you can flavor according to your fish prep - with maple, perhaps, or chipotle.

        I hate to be a negative nellie, but I did have the same initial reaction as Sunshine: "Oh come on." Very nice of you to try so hard to accommodate.

        1. You could do a salad with roasted apples or pears and mixed lettuces and make a vinegrette from some of the roasted fruit, fruit juice & vinegar. A side of baked potatoes or peeled & roasted potatoes, drizzled with a bit of vegetable or canola oil & seasoned with some non allergy inducing spices or braised greens (kale, collard, mustards, etc) with a smoked meaty background such as bacon, pig knuckles or tails & veggie stock as a side. Roasted butternut/acorn squash or glazed carrots are other options.

          You could do salami chips or make cups out of them (press into a muffin tin) then fill with pickled chopped veggies for an appetizer.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I love the salami chip/cup idea. Do you just bake them until they're crispy? What kind of pickled vegetables do you use? They sound great.

            1. re: chowser

              Yes, for the chips, bake until crispy. To do cups, place slices in a muffin tin then top with another muffin tin and bake until crispy enough to remove the top tin. For the veggies, you can use any jarred veg pickles or even a chopped antipasti mix like roasted bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, pepperoncini, provolone, mozzarella & shards of parmesan tossed with an vinegrette (obviously no onions, olives, mushrooms, or cheeses for the OP's guest) But she could toss in some small diced & sauteed yellow or zucchini squash, fresh chopped spinach, or thinly shaved fennel, etc.

              I've also made chips from proscuitto which are my favorite (made the same way). These chips, scattered on that pear salad I mentioned is delicious.

          2. Potatoes sound safe, but since you can't use dairy, you might have to use chicken broth and some other ingredient to produce a nice potato dish. Or you could use sweet potatoes. For a veggie, you could do a mixed apple and cabbage/napa/savoy cooked dish. If this person isn't allergic to caraway seeds, you could season with a little caraway. If you do the latter, I'd make this in two batches--one with onion, and one without. I assume this person is used to blander food, if he/she can't have any form of onion. You might be able to use some sort of prepared mustard or mustard powder to flavor some things. You could do a sauced spinach dish using hard boiled eggs as a garnish. Subbing for the dairy is going to be a a problem, since the usual subs are soy or almond milk. Or rice milk.

            I really don't know how this person eats outside his/her home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sueatmo

              Since poultry is on the no-go list, you could try vegetable broth (homemade, without onions or garlic). I had a tasty "risotto" made with brunoise butternut squash and I think rice milk; coconut milk might be a reasonable substitute.
              Is a baked potato/roasted potato skins bar a reasonable appetizer?

            2. Some roasted veggies would be nice. On some level boring, sure, but always a really good option.

              1. Side of roasted root vegetables, mashed cauliflower or potatoes with a little vegetable broth, green beans with lemon juice, dilled carrots with honey, sauteed spinach in canola oil, you could even do poached fish packets with lots of fresh lemon, carrots, green and red peppers, green beans, broccoli. Oven fried potatoes with rosemary and oregano.
                I'm fairly certain with this long list of dietary requirements, this individual is used to seeing food out that isn't diet friendly for them, so I'd make sure that there may be some choices out there for the others.
                And personally speaking, this sounds like dietary choices masked as allergies, but that's just me. Someone with these allergies wouldn't really have made it past childhood IMHO...

                1. It's an extensive list but definitely something you can work around w/out a lot of difficulty. I like suetmo's suggestion of sweet potatoes for the starch. I skin, quarter and boil them. Drain, coat in oil (canola would be fine), toss w/ salt, pepper, whatever seasoning goes w/ your fish. Put on baking pan, smash w/ masher or cup, roast at 400 for about 15-20 minutes until you get the crispy. The edges are nice, crunchy and sweet. Far better than you think they'd be.

                  You said you don't want a mixed salad but how about a roasted cauliflower salad. I use this as a base and add/subtract what I want. It's really good with Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn and I've never used nuts in the salad. You can use other oil but maybe cut back some if it's strong.


                  Finally for the appetizer, what about this smoked salmon mousse on english cucumber (or endive). Make necessary changes for oil and eliminate garlic powder (assuming that's not okay). You can let your guests top their own so you can have onions, garlic, capers, etc.


                  1. Lots of nice ideas here. My thoughts on an appetizer are baked polenta rounds topped with oven roasted tomatoes or oven roasted artichokes (make your own aioli with and without garlic). For your side a simple quinoa dish with lemon and mint or basil, oven roasted brussel sprouts or something with french lentils. If you need something else for dessert maybe meringues? Good luck - and let us know what you decide upon.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: enbell

                      Polenta is made from corn; corn is a grain. I like your idea though. And if this person can't have citrus, can he/she have tomatoes? I don't want to be negative, but this seems like a strange assortment of food allergies.

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        I think the person in question is using "grains" in the colloquial sense, as not too many people know that technically it is classified with grasses (much like tomatoes being fruits). Which lends credence to the "allergy" thought -- true grain allergy would mean corn is also off the (crazy) list.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I appreciate you astuteness and you are probably right -good insight :) I totally missed the citrus, the list was so long I guess I missed a bunch! So is flour (for pasta) in or out?

                          1. re: enbell

                            I was thinking polenta, too, but thought corn wouldn't work. I wasn't sure about rice or quinoa. I love the artichoke idea. Along with the meringue, I thought of a dacquoise without nuts, layered with the sorbet would be a nice dessert. Something along these lines:


                            1. re: chowser

                              Oh quinoa! It isn't a true grain, but a member of the goosefoot family. Excellent thought. It is so easy to cook up too.

                      2. Folks, debating whether or not these allergies are real is off-topic. The original poster wishes to accommodate her friend's list, so it doesn't matter whether they are genuine allergies, some other medical intolerance, or simply whining.

                        If you've got recipe suggestions, please do add them below. Otherwise, we'd ask that you skip this thread.


                        1. That's an interesting list - when I get one that long, I try to throw the problem back to the guest and ask him or her to suggest a suitable side dish or appetizer, or ask about what he/she normally eats - it helps minimize the last minute "oh, but I can't have that".

                          1. Hummus, crudite and pita (for the non-allergy folk)
                            Orange, fennel and avocado salad
                            Grilled salmon with tapenade, roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans
                            Poached pear with raspberry sorbet and coconut milk-based chocolate sauce

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: rcallner

                                Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with this sort of situation. The more you can indulge, the less of a freak you feel like in public.

                              2. re: maxie

                                The problem I see with this menu is the olives (and possibly the avocado). If olive oil is a no (which I assume it is since the OP states only veg or canola oil are ok), then I would assume olives are also a no, and possibly avocados as well (although perhaps avocado oil is unusual enough for the allergy sufferer not to have mentioned it to the OP).

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  In which case they can easily move to a citrus and arugala salad, and a different topping for the fish, or pull out any components that work to mix and match with other ideas. I believe the point is to make suggestions from which the OP, who knows her way around the kitchen, can draw inspiration. Perhaps both avocado and olives are considered a stone fruit -- I really don't know, but that idea may inspire an idea that leads her down a more appropriate path.

                              3. If beans are all right... Maybe some sauteed lima beans with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast -- an herb that complements your fish? Or do a warm lima bean salad... with a citrus vinegarette

                                there's a good black bean spaghetti at Whole Foods -- you could do baby spaghetti nests with chopped tomato, herb, and what have you topping for app or side

                                are nightshades out? rolled eggplant can easily be modified for allergic and non

                                an always popular favorite - fried cauliflower - dip in egg white, then in potato starch if allowed

                                for DESSERT :) if eggs are okay, i'd do Pavlova (with fruit topping for the allergic one and a creamy something for the non)

                                good luck! report back on what you decide to make and how it goes!