Holiday party food that appeals to vegetarians, vegans and guests with food allergies

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Do you love to entertain during the holidays, but worry that you'll disappoint friends with dietary restrictions -- or even worse, harm a guest with food allergies? The easiest way to solve this problem is to ask guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies to bring a dish to the gathering that they know is safe for them to eat.  Most guests with food allergies and dietary restrictions will happily comply because their own fear is eating something that could cause a reaction or is against their belief system.If asking a guest to bring their own food doesn't feel very hospitable to you, then here are some party food recipes that are sure to please vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free guests, as well as, everyone else. Vegetarians do not eat any meat, poultry, fish or gelatin. Vegans do not eat those foods or dairy and eggs. Gluten-free diets do not allow the consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.Avoiding these ingredients can be very difficult because, for instance, wheat products have numerous names. Plus, there are many wheat products that do not readily identify themselves as wheat, such as bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt.An increasing number of people are experiencing allergies to dairy, wheat, corn, soy, tree nuts, peanuts and eggs, so those are not included as ingredients in the following recipes.Corn allergies are extremely difficult to deal with and people who have them must avoid nearly all processed foods. For a list of the many different names of corn ingredients and allergens, visit you have a guest with food allergies, be prepared to let them read the ingredients in any prepared foods that you may be serving and for inquiries regarding the ingredients of homemade foods. This is as awkward for them as it is for you, but no one wants to be sick or dead from your party food.

Ask your guests with food allergies to bring their EpiPen. Educate yourself on how to use an EpiPen  ( if necessary, i.e. inject it into the outer thigh and nowhere else. Remember to immediately call 911 if a guest has anaphylaxis, which can occur very suddenly. Roasted ChickpeasMakes 3 cups. 2               cans (3 cups) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed2               tablespoons olive oil1               teaspoon curry powder1               teaspoon garam masala

1/4            teaspoon garlic powder1/8            teaspoon white pepper1/2            teaspoon  sea saltHEAT the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.RINSE the chickpeas and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Then remove any loose skins.POUR the dried chickpeas out onto the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Shake the pan to coat the chickpeas in the oil.
SPRINKLE the curry powder, garam masala, garlic powder, white pepper and salt over the chickpeas and then shake the pan gently again to evenly distribute the spices.BAKE in the oven for 15 minutes, then toss and mix the chickpeas and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.  If you want the chickpeas to be extra crunchy, turn the oven off and leave the chickpeas in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.REMOVE and cool before eating. Store in an airtight container.This recipe is courtesy of Spicy GuacamoleServes 43               ripe avocados2-3            firm medium tomatoes, seeded1               small/medium onion, finely chopped1/2            bunch of cilantro2               jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped2               cloves garlic, pressed3               tablespoons lime juice1/2            teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste1/4            teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste1/2            teaspoon ground cumin CUT avocados in half, remove the seeds and scrape them out into a flat bottomed bowl. Smash with a potato masher or a fork.ADD the chopped onion, jalapenos, tomatoes, and cilantro to the bowl.PRESS garlic into the bowl and add the cumin, black pepper, salt and lime juice. Serve right away.This recipe is courtesy of Olive TapenadeServes 41/4            cup olive oil or grapeseed oil5               garlic cloves, pressed1               cup Kalamata olives, drained and chopped1/2            cup large green marinated olives, drained and chopped1               tablespoon capers, drained1/2            teaspoon red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar1/4            teaspoon sea salt1/4            teaspoon fresh ground black pepperHEAT oil a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat.ADD garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.ADD the remaining ingredients and heat through for another 2-3 minutes. Garlic should be softened.SERVE warm on crackers or gluten-free crostini.
Recipe courtesy of Black Bean HummusServes 4.1            19-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed1            19-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed1/4         cup tahini1/3         cup lime juice2            cloves garlic, crushed1/4         teaspoon ground cumin1/4         teaspoon ground coriander1            teaspoon salt (or less to taste)COMBINE all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.TRANSFER to a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.SERVE with gluten-free vegan pita or rice crackers.Recipe courtesy of Vegan Dolmathes2           tablespoons olive oil1 1/2      pounds of onions, chopped (about 2 medium onions)1 3/4      cups uncooked white rice3 1/2      cups water3/4         cup lemon juice (bottled)2            tablespoons dried dill1/2         cup fresh parsley, chopped2            tablespoons fresh dill, chopped2            tablespoons pine nuts (optional)1            8-ounce jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed3/4         cup lemon juice (bottled)1/4         cup olive oilWater, to coverHEAT oven to 375 degrees.HEAT first amount of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until tender. Stir in rice and brown slightly.ADD water, dried dill week and the first amount of lemon juice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.STIR in fresh dill, parsley and pine nuts.REMOVE stems from grape leaves and place 1 tablespoon of rice mixture in the center.  Fold in the sides and roll tightly. PLACE, folded side down, in a baking dish and cover with second amounts of olive oil, lemon juice and enough water to cover.COVER with aluminum foil or casserole lid and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.Recipe courtesy of Spicy Marinated VegetablesMakes about 8 cups.1            large fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch wedges1/2         pound small carrots (6 to 8), scrubbed and halved lengthwise1/2         head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into small florets4            cups apple cider vinegar1            cup sugar6            tablespoons pickling spice (such as McCormick)1            tablespoon kosher salt6            garlic cloves, peeled and crushed4            rosemary springs2            jalapenos, sliced2 1/2       cups waterPLACE fennel, carrots and cauliflower in a large bowl.COMBINE in a medium pot, vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, salt, garlic, rosemary, jalapenos and water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes.COOL 10 minutes, then pour over vegetables; let cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill 4 hours or overnight. (If necessary place a dinner plate over plastic to keep vegetables submerged.) Store up to a week in liquid; strain before serving.Recipe courtesy of, November/December 2013 issue.Reach Judy E. Hamilton at or 304-348-1230. Reach Autumn D. F. Hopkins at or 304-348-1249.
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