Favorite meals for a large group with a variety of dietary restrictions?
May 4, 2014 3:57 PM   Subscribe

15 of us are planning our annual weekend trip in a few weeks. I'm responsible for menu planning. We have a variety of different dietary restrictions, and I'm looking for ideas for great meals that can feed these people.

Of the 15 attending, I think the only foods we all have in common are eggs, fruits and vegetables.
1 doesn't eat mammals
3 are vegetarians who eat dairy
1 is a vegetarian who eats eggs but not dairy
1 doesn't eat gluten or dairy
1 doesn't eat gluten
1 doesn't eat dairy
1 is mostly paleo

We have three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners. Breakfasts are taken care of.

Burrito/taco bar is definitely on the plan for one dinner. Lunches may be sandwich/salad bars. I'm at a loss for more dinner ideas! Last year we did a stir fry and a grill-all-the-things night, but they were pretty lackluster. I'm looking for things that have the versatility of a burrito bar.
posted by linettasky to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My first thought is that polenta might be your new best friend. Maybe with a tomato/mushroom ragu atop it and some optional shredded parmesan?
posted by General Malaise at 4:04 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Spaghetti squash bar with a variety of toppings including (gluten free) meat toppings, veggie toppings, sauces, and cheeses on the side. That's like yummy comfort food, with a setup similar to a taco bar.
posted by Crystalinne at 4:05 PM on May 4, 2014

Baked potato bar?
posted by Night_owl at 4:06 PM on May 4, 2014

Fondue? (No, it isn't necessarily just about dipping in cheese.)
posted by Michele in California at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2014

Chili, with additional toppings? You could have two or three, maybe: a white bean with chicken, a black bean chipotle, and a Meat Lover's delight with all meat and no beans. Toppings: sour cream, cheeses, scallions, salsas... Serve with a basic salad and cornbread.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:13 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about something Mediterranean-ish? Much of this can be purchased already prepared, or you can make it from scratch. Some or all of:
* grilled lemon/garlic chicken
* falafel (baking is easier than frying, especially for a crowd)
* tzatziki
* tahini sauce
* baba ghanoush
* rice pilaf
* pita
* feta
* olives
posted by loop at 4:14 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Pasta Bar
(Regular and Gluten-free pasta (each tossed with a bit of olive oil) with the following options)
-Tomato sauce
-Cheese sauce
-Roasted & chopped red/yellow peppers
-Assorted cheeses

Polenta Bar
(Pre-cut sections of a baked polenta with the following options)
-tomatoes/basil/olive oil
-mushroom ragout
-swiss chard

Mediterranen Bar
-Cut veggies

Fritattas & Stratas
Assortment of...
-Frittatas with lots of spring veggies
-Stratas with cheeses and different veggies
-Fruit salad
-Gluten-free muffins

Potato bar or mashed potato bar or sweet potato bar...
posted by leitmotif at 4:55 PM on May 4, 2014

Best answer: I think you need "-bar" themes. Neat thing is the ingredients are broad, roaming is encouraged, and ingredients can be used from one bar to the next.

Salad bar
Chopped chicken, turkey, beef, ham, cubed cheese, hard-boiled eggs, beans, shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced avocadoes, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, olives, radishes, broccoli flowerettes, celery, snap peas, orange slices, dried cranberries, chopped apple, grapes, croutons, sliced almonds, walnuts and pecans, pepitas, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, salad dressing, crackers and bread.

Sandwich bar
Baguette, sourdough bread, hamburger rolls, pita bread, mayo, mustard, oil and vinegar, pesto spread, sauerkraut, coleslaw, parsley, garlic cloves, oregano, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, asiago cheese, blue cheese, provolone cheese, muenster cheese, sliced turkey, canned tuna, seafood salad, hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, spinach, tomato, onion, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper, mushrooms, pepperocinis, pickles, jalapenos.

Baked potato bar
Butter, olive oil, sour cream, salt and pepper, fresh basil, cilantro, oregano, dill, crushed red pepper, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, chopped meat, smoked salmon, sauteed onions, chopped onions, creamed spinach, blanched broccoli, steamed asparagus, grilled corn, sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, jalapenos, avocado slices, salsa, alfredo sauce, cheese sauce, marinara sauce, pesto. Wine and beer.

Taco bar
Corn and flour tortillas, borracho beans, black beans, carne asada, grilled fish, chopped onion, cilantro, salsas, grilled green oninos, lime wedges, grilled pineapple, elote, fruit cups of watermelon, papaya, mango, orange, jicama, cucumber. Cold beer, margaritas, agua fresca, horchata.

Pu pu platter
Egg rolls, tempura vegetables, slices of banana, shrimp toasts, broiled crispy scallions, spare ribs, fried wontons, crab rangoon, peanut sauce, Chinese hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce. Mai tais, Singapore slings, Blue Hawaaiians, pina coladas.

Feta cheese or beyaz peynir, olives, grilled meat, babaghanoush, tashi, tabbouleh, pine nuts, roasted red peppers, pita bread, hummus, cacik, sliced melon, calamari, artichokes. Ouzo.

Gorgonzola, cantaloupe, and prosciutto. Grilled crostini with olive tapenade and tomato. Cranberry, horseradish, and cheddar bites.

Olive tapenade, marinated red peppers, grilled marinated shrimp chourico, manchego cheese, dried fig cake, flatbread crackers. Vinho verde wine.

Lettuce, ham, salami, provolone cheese, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, marinated artichoke hears, roasted red peppers, olives, pepperoncini, bruschetta on bread, almond biscotti. Chianti wine.

Sundae bar
Ice cream, chocolate syrup, hot fudge, butterscotch syrup, caramel syrup, pralines, candy pieces, crushed cookies, brownie bits, angel food cake, maraschino cherries, whipped cream, nuts, toasted coconut, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, sliced peaches, grilled peaches, caramelized pineapple.
posted by Houstonian at 5:04 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Houstonian, you completely nailed it. Thank you.
posted by linettasky at 4:52 PM on May 7, 2014

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