Last month my daughter’s friends came over for a casual graduation dinner…
…and the layout was all about the head. Two of her friends are vegetarian. One dairy-free. The other is gluten-free and dairy-free. Most of them are vegetarians, except for one person who loves meat so much that he calls himself “me-gan” (rhymes with vegetarian).
In the old days, if I was hosting people for dinner, of course I thought about allergies, and in general what people like and don’t like, but I also believed in the Emily-Post-like rules of being a good guest: You’ll eat what’s served. Nowadays, this seems like old advice. I know how serious these restrictions are when you live with them day in and day out, and I want to make sure I anticipate this with the right list of who eats at my table.
But this is a file piece of ground Easier said than done, especially when cooking for a large group. (And in theory I’m a professional! I write about food for a living!) It took a while, but I came up with what I thought was a good thing for everyone, much of it making the future. I tried to make it so that no matter your restrictions, you could eat at least three dishes. This is what I offered:
Salty galettes (vegetarian)
I love galettes – they feel comfortable enough to solidify a dish, and most are delicious at room temperature (which means you can make them in advance). For my daughter’s party, I made three mushroom galettes, but this tomato tart (Perfect for tomato season now) or These roasted vegetable pancakes It will also work beautifully.
Roasted Tofu Salad with Vegetables (vegan and gluten-free)
This doubled as a main dish for vegetarians and a lovely side dish for anyone else. The thing I made was slaw: To a large bowl, add 1 small chopped red cabbage, 2 cups of shredded spinach or kale, toss with toasted tofu, fresh mint, cilantro, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and Sesame and soy sauce. (Replace the soy sauce with gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.)
Beans (vegan, gluten-free)
I’m so addicted to These beansNot just for entertainment, but for a vintage Tuesday night meal. I usually put a large pot of lima beans (simmered with onions, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper) on the substrate on the spread, then surround that pot with a different topping: store-bought romesco sauce (vegan, gluten-free), Burrata (vegetarian), and pesto (vegetarian or vegan). A kind of baked potato, but with beans.
Mac and cheese (vegetarian and “mee jan”)
Well, there’s no meat in this, but I feel very indulgent and a baked, three-cheese mac and cheese (like Martha Stewart). special recipe) is the type of dish that leaves no room for complaints from carnivores. I like to up the ante with my herb-chopped cherry tomato salad to reduce the richness.
Beautiful farm fresh salad (vegan and gluten free)
I didn’t make one for this particular party, but I think it’s always a good move to have something green and fresh on the table. Plus, salads, by definition, are the easiest to eat gluten-free and vegan dishes. I always make a file Turnip salad with almonds and pomegranate, but it can be just as easy, perhaps with a hit of spicy nuts from the Trader Joe’s aisle (check the label!) to make it feel special.
I’ve been pleased with this lineup – more importantly, the kids as well – and plan to refer to it as a general formula going forward. But what about you? Given that we all cook for people with more and more allergies, limitations, and different tastes, I’d like everyone else to share successful menus. What did he succeed? What did not work? What is a good candy?