Travel & Culture
Vegetarian and gluten free dinners are easier than you think
Inviting the members of your acapella choir for a dinner becomes a challenge when some members have specific preferences and food allergies. Two vegetarians, two that are gluten free, one with a lactose allergy and one person with low fat tolerance. What are the choices? Should we opt for a restaurant, or can we do it ourselves? Organising a vegetarian and gluten free dinner for your friends is easier than you think. Many existing recipes can easily be modified to create maximum flexibility and cater for a range of dietary requirements.
Create a salad bar
After some research I found that supermarkets have an array of gluten free products like pasta and bread – and vegetables are suitable for everyone. So I organised a salad bar at home with all kind of vegetables, nuts, cheese, pasta and dressings in little bowls on the table. Next to the ingredients were salad recipes that my guests could use to prepare their own salad and of course they could create a whole new recipe with the ingredients they liked the most.
Preparation takes a couple of hours to chop all the ingredients and prepare the dressings but you earn this time back during the meal. Everybody serves themselves and you join in, finding the time to catch up with your guests. Quality time together is hard to find nowadays.
We started our dinner with this tasty vegetarian Harira soup to complement the salads. Served with some gluten/lactose-free bread and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Did you know that lentils and white rice are gluten free?
Next we all prepared our own salads using fresh ingredients from the salad bar. Guests who liked meat could add chicken. For the Fatoush salad, we organised some special gluten and lactose free shoarma bread.
So next time you organise a dinner party like this, think of creating your own salad bar and everyone's happy!
For some extra inspiration for your salad bar, check out this selection of middle eastern inspired salads.