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What's your favorite make-ahead appetizer? Dairy Free!

I've been tasked with bringing an appetizer to my aunt's for Easter. There will be 10 adults and 2 children. My cousin is very lactose intolerant, so no dairy permitted, although I believe goat cheese is OK. My other cousin is an extreme low-carber so I'd like to make something he would eat as well, but it's not totally necessary. Also it needs to be something that's either cold or served room temp because it's about an hour drive away from my house, and can be made in one go since I'm limited to Sunday morning/early afternoon for prep. I do not want to reheat anything at her house since I'm sure her oven is scheduled for other things. I'm not sure what else she's serving, but I do know the main is grilled pork tenderloins.

I have a few ideas, one is a sun-dried tomato tapenade, and the other is Ina Garten's, savory palmiers with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, pesto, and pine nuts. I also thought of maybe just some kind of roasted nut mix with herbs or something. BUT, none of that is really speaking to me.

So, I'm interested to hear what you all have up your sleeves!

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      1. re: melpy


        This is the recipe. You can play around with the spices if you want. We usually omit the olives even though I love olives.

          1. re: juliejulez

            I would make a crostini with goat cheese, then the options are limitless, smoked salmon, some speck and chives, roasted vegetables. For low card you could do some on cucumbers. Another carb option would be sliced cooked potatoes, goat cheese and chives. transport in a cooler, then they will be fine at room temp for a while.

      2. This is my second shout out to it in the past minute, but I have to say "Frittata"!

        Super versatile, and loves to be served at room temp. It fits low carb lifestyles, is gluten free, dairy free, can be vegan or not and is yummy.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          Vegan frittata? Do elaborate, please.

          1. re: pinehurst

            how on earth can a frittata be vegan?

              1. re: LaLa

                That may be a vegan quiche; there is nothing about it that is a frittata in my opinion.

          2. I've seen many different recipes but here's something I love:

            Take fresh or frozen and thawed edamame, peas, fava beans, etc. But them in a food processor with arugula, mint, basil, parsley... really any complimentary herb(s). Add some good olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. (I really love to add some finely grated Pecorino, which is a sheep's milk cheese, but you don't have to use it.) Grind it up as coarse or smooth as you'd like. It takes two minutes to put together, can be adapted in many ways, and can be made about a day in advance.

            You can serve with crackers, toasted lavash, pita chips, endive "scoops", etc.

            1. I love baked wonton wrapper cups filled with just about anything. How about a mix of sautéed spring veggies?

              1. Prosciutto wrapped asparagus is great room temp
                Deviled eggs are not dairy

                1 Reply
                1. re: LaLa

                  2nd the deviled eggs. It will be served everybody is tired of hard boiled eggs. Great for low carb, also dairy free. You could get non-traditional stuffing if you like.

                2. How about hummus made with cilantro, chickpeas and tahini?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    Put this mix into the halved boiled eggs.

                  2. I have made this sun-dried tomato tapenade from a recipe that I got a few years ago on CH and it's always a hit.


                    I also love this Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus.


                    And I have made this Artichoke-Olive Crostini many times, including the other night for my Passover appetizer and everyone loves it.

                    You can serve these all with pita chips, crackers, or crudite for the low carbers.

                    There was this recent thread with a bunch of suggestions too.


                    1. Julez, I really think the palmiers sound wonderful. They are something most people don't eat very often making them special for a holiday meal. This is what I would choose.

                      1. Fava beans pureed with garlic, olive oil, and mint and spread on crostini.

                        1. Texas caviar aka cowboy caviar. www.simplyrecipes.com has a yummy recipe. I am not positive about how low carb black eye peas are, but I know that diabetics favor them. Improves as it sits, for sure. The other day I made it, I couldn't find organic peppers, so I subbed celery for crunch. Also subbed lemon juice for lime since that's what I had.

                          1. This is what I make for a no refrigeration can travel app. to be assembled on site.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Ooh, I'm having a party in a few weeks with guests with some dietary restrictions. These look like they'd be really tasty for everybody!

                            2. Stuffed mushrooms
                              Roasted Eggplant/tomato bruschetta
                              Shrimp cocktail
                              Crudités with hummus
                              Assorted marinated olives
                              Spicy nuts
                              Chex party mix (use oil instead of butter)
                              Endive "cups" stuffed with almost anything-crab/avocado salad, quinoa salad, etc
                              Smoked salmon with cocktail rye and fresh dill/capers
                              Chilled cucumber soup shooters-add a shrimp or crab for color

                              1. Thanks for all your ideas everyone! I ran some of them past my aunt and she actually picked the sundried tomato tapenade that I was originally considering. Which, I guess is good because I have almost all the ingredients on hand already. This is the recipe for that if anybody is interested: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/08/... I'm omitting the cheese obviously. I've never made it before but everything I've made from this blog has been a winner so far.

                                But, I am going to save this thread, as I go to visit them every month or two so this comes up pretty often for me!

                                1. I would say the lactose intolerant cousin should bring something she would love to share with the rest to show off her culinary skills when one has that condition. Same for the low carb cousin, LOL! Bless your heart for trying to accommodate everyone!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: DelishDi

                                    They're both male and one (the low carb one) is visiting from out of state, so bringing his own food is not really an option. It was my aunt's request that I do lactose free, as it's her son. He also usually does bring a dish or two of his own that he can have, but they're usually side dishes for the main dinner.

                                    I don't mind trying to accomodate people with dietary restrictions, I feel like that's part of being a good hostess (or in my case, guest, since the hostess made a specific request). My own SO has Crohn's Disease and he has a few dietary restrictions of his own, so I've seen firsthand how it can affect someone if there's a number of dishes at an event that they cannot eat without becoming ill. Often my SO ends up eating them anyway, and spends the rest of the night being miserable. I'm not sure any host/hostess wants their guests to feel miserable after eating at their home.

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      I don't mind either, especially for family. In fact, it's kind of a fun challenge to find something good, seasonal, and enjoyable for all!

                                      1. re: firecooked

                                        While I sometimes find special requests annoying, in the case of appetizers there are so many options for delicious dips that it shouldn't be a problem to accommodate everyone.

                                        1. re: firecooked

                                          That's how I look at it... kinda like solving a little puzzle :)