Planning the perfect grocery list, running to the grocery story, and cleaning the house is hard enough when you’re throwing a dinner party. But now, it seems like there are more and more instances of food-related illnesses and diet preferences. “Celiac disease was rare, but it’s now more common in all age groups,” Dr. Murray says of the intolerance to gluten. Research suggests that, although celiac disease only affects one in 100 people, it is four times more common now than 60 years ago. Additionally, more people are eating gluten free, as about 10% of the U.S. population has a non-celiac gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. And that’s not all. The number of vegans and vegetarians is also on the rise. Now, about 3% of adults are vegetarians. With all these specific food preferences, what kind of menu are we supposed to prepare for our dinner parties?
There are plenty of healthy meals and delicious appetizers that you can serve at a party that will appeal to those with many different tastes. Luckily, we’ve provided you with a free menu planner that can help you serve dishes that everyone will love:
Kick off your menu with easy, simple finger foods that are fun and festive to set the mood for the rest of the meal:
- Popcorn: Popcorn is naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly. You can flavor or spice your popcorn with nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon for a seasonal treat or make a vegan caramel sauce with cane sugar, vanilla extract, margarine, and soy milk.
- Chips and salsa: Corn chips and salsa fresca is another healthy and fresh treat that appeals to almost anyone. You can also serve guacamole as another side for the chips. Both salsa and guacamole are extremely easy to make at home, too.
Instead of serving only one main course, why not serve a bit of everything so that everyone can have something to munch on? Omnivores, vegetarians, meat-lovers, and gluten-intolerant alike, the small dishes of our dinner party menu will give enough variety to satisfy just about anyone at your dinner party:
- Cornbread Casserole: Diced tomatoes, kidney beans, onions, cornmeal, nondairy milk, sugar, and unsweetened applesauce make this a complete dish that can be prepared gluten free, dairy free, and meat-free. Just make sure that you pick up a nondairy milk substitute and double check your seasoning to make sure it doesn’t contain gluten.
- Veggie Couscous: Couscous is one of the best bases for a main course that’s gluten free and delicious. Dress up your couscous with onions, cabbage, squash, chickpeas, sliced almonds, tomatoes, zucchini, and plenty of spice to make a complete dish with protein, grains, and veggies.
- Millet Pasta with Eggplant and Sundried Tomato: Who says the gluten-free can’t enjoy a little bit of pasta? Gluten-free friends have discovered tons of way to make pasta without gluten, using millet or flax to create the classic Italian dish. Try making some millet spaghetti and pairing it with baked eggplant and sundried tomato for a colorful and delicious main course.
Serve your main courses with a vibrant green side-salad for some added veggies and enjoy your entrées with a nice glass of wine of your choice.
Have you left enough room for dessert? It’s time for the best part of the menu planner: dessert! Even if you have gluten free or vegetarian friends, you can still serve a wonderfully delectable dessert. Check out these suggestions from our free menu planner:
- Banana Brûlée: This take on fried bananas will make everyone swoon with delight. Simply cut a banana in half, line it with sugar, and take a propane torch to it until the fire creates a beautifully golden crust. Guests will be wowed by your torching skills!
- Chocolate Nut Clusters: Instead of serving up cake, serve some chocolate nut clusters, comprised of hazelnuts, all natural coconut flakes, sugar, and chocolate (without milk added). These clusters will satiate everyone’s sweet tooth without dairy or gluten.
- Fruit salad: Everyone is thankful at a party when at least one healthy dish is served. Dessert doesn’t have to be chocolate-y or rich to satiate our sweet cravings. Fruit salads are a colorful and delicious way to appeal with those with food allergies, gluten allergies, or other food preferences. Dice cherries, pineapple, or whatever is in season and crack open a fresh coconut to put coconut shavings on top.
There are options that appeal to everyone when it comes to planning out our menus for a party. After all, we should cater to the masses when we’re planning a party. Hopefully, this free menu planner has inspired you to create a menu of your own!