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Delicious Recipes You Can Make For Friends With Food Restrictions


Recently I discovered the need to expand my cooking repertoire to include tasty meals I could feed friends who don’t eat like we do. I grew up on the family farm making homemade bread, eating eggs from the family flock of chickens, eating the family flock of chickens, drinking raw milk from the family cow, making my own butter from the cream of that cow, and eating the children of that cow. In other words, we eat things that today give some fancier people hives just to think about, and it’s delicious.

Nobody in my family of origin, or in my immediate family today, has any food allergies. Yes, we are very lucky. And everyone we love is not quite so lucky. So I’ve been recently trying to learn what to cook for people who can’t or don’t choose to eat the Midwestern style or variety of foods we’re lucky enough to enjoy. I have had little experience cooking foreign types of food — Indian, non-Americanized Asian, flours from 70 types of grains and legumes, trendy fats — that making these dishes makes me feel unsure and worried it will taste like gruel.

So I reached out to some trend-conscious friends and Federalist contributors for their recommendations, and here’s the result. I’m looking forward to trying the recipes here that aren’t my own, and I hope you will be, too.

Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup

Here’s the soup I often take to mommas post-birth, as many of them I know are being careful of dairy and spicy food, but need lotsa protein for nursing (gluten-free, dairy-free).

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Using sweet potatoes + black beans = an easy meat-free option when making food for vegan/vegetarian folks. I’ll often do this for tacos, enchiladas, and chili (and you can use corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free).
Here’s another similar recipe.

And another.

Greek Stuffed Peppers

These are nice for vegetarian and gluten-free company.

Red Quinoa and Black Bean Vegetable Salad

Quinoa salads are also a good option, since quinoa’s super high-protein (there’s as much protein in a cup of quinoa as there is in 5 eggs).

Kabobs and a Salad or Rice

My biggest struggle is usually cooking for the Whole 30 and paleo people, because I do use legumes and dairy a lot. But I’ve found lately that doing kabobs with a salad seems to be an easy way to fix that problem.

Speaking of kebabs, those are my go-to in summer, especially for gluten-free company. Here’s one I like. (You will need to get gluten-free soy sauce, which isn’t hard to find. I also never use the meat tenderizer).

I always serve them with Ina Garten’s basmati rice (yay, rice, the gluten-free grain).

I like Brussels sprouts and bacon, but more for fall/winter than summer.

A Simple Grouping of Meat and Veg

“I just keep things very, very simple,” writes a friend whose children have serious gluten allergies. “Chicken roasted with some herbs, salmon with honey and mustard, or roasted potatoes and veggies with some rice.”

Basmati Rice, Corn, and Watercress Salad

For summer, I love this basmati rice, corn, watercress salad. Made it for Independence Day and it was a huge hit.

Sweet Potato, Green Bean, and Smoked Paprika Salad

This is fabulous as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. So, so, so good.

Lebanese Lemon Parsley Bean Salad

Pair this with some naan for a delicious vegetarian meal.

Yellow Curry with Lentils, Peas, Carrots, and Potatoes

Does your family like Chinese or Indian food? It’s really easy to make filling and tasty vegetarian and gluten free food if either of those categories works. My family really like curry, especially a yellow curry with lentils, peas, carrots, and potatoes. Serve over basmati rice (vegan, gluten-free).

Veggie Fajitas with Corn Tortillas

Try veggie fajitas with corn or gluten-free tortillas. Fajitas is a great idea because you could make it a build your own “bar” with grilled chicken separate for those who want and red/yellow/green pepers, red onions, cheese, sour cream, etc. Rice on side.

With Guacamole for the Side

Also, make guacamole and serve with corn chips. I have a recipe for guac that is so so good: chopped avocado, lime, chopped red onions, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapeños, and sriracha (just trust me, it makes it amazing). I mix lightly so it’s still a little chunky. Good summertime appetizers (true confession, sometimes I just eat this for dinner).

Jalapeño Honey Mustard Slaw

Here is a pic of a recipe for Jalapeño Honey Mustard Slaw. It is SO good. I make it constantly during the summer. It’s gluten and dairy free (check on the mayo to be sure). I go heavy on the jalapeños, carrots and green onions, and use celery salt instead of celery seed and either fresh dill or dill from the bulk spice section to replace the dill seeds, which I can never find. I also use all red cabbage instead of a mix because it’s so good for you.