As wonderful as the holiday season can be, it’s also probably the roughest time of year for those with food allergies. Every meal you eat away from home is a dietary minefield. Holiday parties go from festive to stressful as you negotiate the endless appetizers, drinks, and treats.
Sometimes it’s just better if you shape your own destiny and bring something to the table that you know is safe for your family. If the party is at someone else’s place, it takes stress off the host. If you’re planning your own party, no one need be wise to the fact that your delicious snacks are allergen-free.
The following appetizers are not only free-from all common allergens, but they’re also quick to put together, easy to make, and tasty enough to fill even the pickiest eaters with holiday cheer.
Use Hilary’s Veggie Bites as a base for allergen-free canapés. Top Mediterranean Bites with a spread made from pureed black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, thyme, and olive oil and a few arugula leaves. Try Broccoli Casserole Bites topped with a red pepper spread made with pureed jarred roasted red peppers, white beans, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Or take the Spicy Mesquite Bites and top them with tahini-free hummus that has been blended with a cooked beet.
Leaves are one of the best allergen-free vehicles for deliciousness. They’re party-friendly, allowing you to munch to your heart’s content without getting your hands dirty. Fill romaine lettuce leaves or endive leaves with all kinds of tasty treats, like a salad of chopped apples, fennel, white beans, lemon juice, and olive oil. Or go for a sweet-savory bite like roasted pears (roast them with a drizzle of maple syrup and a little coconut oil) with dried cranberries, hemp seeds, and a simple vinaigrette.
For a rich, satisfying treat, slice potatoes into ¼” thick rounds. Toss them with oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, such as chili powder or curry powder. Roast them at 400℉ until tender and browned. Meanwhile, whip up a batch of guacamole with mashed ripe avocados, diced onion or chopped green onion, diced tomato, minced garlic, lime juice, and salt. Top the potato slices with a scoop of guacamole and a thin slice of red radish.
Roll It Up
Spring rolls are an easy, healthy appetizer that can accommodate a wide range of ingredients. Roll rice wrappers (follow the instructions on the package to soften them) around shredded, chopped, or julienned vegetables like red cabbage, carrot, green onions, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and herbs. Instead of serving them with a peanut sauce, go for siracha.
Also take a peek at the recipes on the Hilary’s website for more excellent appetizer ideas. If the thought of another holiday party gives you anxiety, or you’re just tired of going hungry, now you’re armed with a selection of allergy-friendly snacks to take with you. The only problem with these appetizers is that you’re probably going to have to share.
Megan’s abiding passion is culinary arts. Her career in food began on a small farm, transitioned to extensive food and cooking research, and finally led her to working for the iconic cookbook, the Joy of Cooking and with natural food brands across the country in her role at HEART: Creative Culinary Agency.