Allergy Friendly Dishes to Share This Thanksgiving
Every day we’re becoming more accustomed to asking guests if they or any of their family members have food allergies. Moms ask this question when inviting school friends over for playdates, and employers take this into consideration when catering in lunches. It’s no longer just “no meat, or meat”. Today there are many allergies to consider including nut, gluten, and dairy allergies.
If you are the host with the most this Thanksgiving, while it is not your responsibility to make everything on your table friendly to every single person, it is a kind gesture to ask about food allergies ahead of time and at least have a dish or two that they can enjoy. This small consideration goes a long way and will help all guests feel included.
Not sure where to start? Here are just a few ideas:
- Try using a milk alternative when cooking and baking. If you have a guest who is vegan, dairy-free or lactose intolerant, this small substitution will help. There are so many milk alternatives available today, so be sure to check the labels for other allergens or sweeteners. You wouldn’t want something that is too sweet in a savory dish. Consider the flavoring. For example, nut milks might work wonderfully in your pie, but not so much in mashed potatoes.
- Try making dinner rolls safe for all. No Thanksgiving table is complete without fluffy delicious dinner rolls. There are many options to avoid gluten whether you’re a bake from scratch person or a grab from the freezer at the grocery person. Try Udi’s or Against the Grain. With so many other goodies on the table, no one’s going to even realize they’re gluten free.
- Use plant-based butter for cooking and baking. Thanksgiving tends to be a butter-heavy holiday, and because regular butter contains dairy, it’s a no-go for dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, and vegans. There are plenty of butter substitutes that can be used in baking with varying levels of success, like flax or applesauce. For cooking, it’s best to reach for oil or dairy-free butter
- Use allergy-friendly ready-made pie crusts or mixes. Making your own pie crust from scratch is an option that ensures your crust is free of the allergens you’re avoiding. Making a crumb-based baked crust using cookies or graham crackers that are free of your guests’ allergens is another safe and easy way to make a tasty crust without worrying about the drama of rolling out a pie crust. There are also allergy-friendly pie crust mixes at grocery stores.
Thanksgiving is a holiday equally about togetherness and sharing a delicious meal. If you have friends and family with food allergies, intolerances, or a special diet, making an effort to be inclusive ensures that everyone is safe and well-fed.