Seeking gluten-free kid-friendly recipes for entertaining
September 20, 2018 3:41 AM   Subscribe

We're having friends over for dinner on Saturday night and I need some suggestions for things to make, both for a main course and a dessert! Special circumstances: must be gluten-free, kid-friendly and not too involved.

Our guests are two adults and two kids aged six and four. One of the adult guests and one of the kids is coeliac (the child severely so), and I would like to make one gluten-free dish that everyone can eat together. Additionally, we have a 5 month old baby, so I'd prefer something relatively straightforward which I can make in advance. So, what are your favourite coeliac-friendly dishes and desserts?
posted by meronym to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can dessert be cookies? Because traditional Nordic havreflarn have no gluten. I found an English recipe here (drop the flour, it has no place in the recipe to begin with).
posted by Harald74 at 4:02 AM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Carrot-coconut not-really-truffles!
Take equal parts of a) shredded coconut, b) boiled carrots c) sugar.
Mix them together.
Make into balls, roll them on some extra coconut so they're not too sticky, put in the fridge.

This dessert has an actual name and more ingredients in its proper recipe, but the above is the recipe a friend used in her quest to find healthy snacks for her kids and it's the only version I've tried.
posted by marouli at 4:04 AM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

For dessert, cheesecake-stuffed strawberries can be made ahead and are always well received.
posted by Drosera at 4:17 AM on September 20, 2018

If these people are severely celiac, they may not want to/be able to eat food (especially baked goods) that have been prepared in your non-GF kitchen. Serving some food straight out of the package can be very reassuring even if it’s not something you usually do!

A dessert is a great way to have a packaged GF food that everyone can enjoy - ice cream, for example.

If you’re sure the celiacs will eat a main course prepared in your kitchen, I like a roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables roasted alongside. If you make this in a new or disposable pan and remember not to make any flour-containing pan sauces that would be extra-safe.

My husband is celiac and it can be more stressful for him when people do cook something GF specially for him because he still doesn’t know it’s safe, but he doesn’t want them to think he didn’t appreciate the effort.
posted by mskyle at 4:25 AM on September 20, 2018 [14 favorites]

It's feeling like fall here, so mashed potatoes and a roast sound really good right now. You could easily do a sundae bar for dessert to make ice cream fancy.

I guess my point is, plenty of not very complicated food is gluten free without any adaptations.
posted by advicepig at 5:23 AM on September 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Crustless apple pie! It’s just baked peeled apple slices made with butter and apple pie spices, served with ice cream (vanilla or ginger or caramel or even butter pecan). Super easy to make in advance and bake while dinner is served.

For the meal, maybe roast a chicken and make a nice leafy green salad with vinagrette. I like the roast and potatoes idea above, too.
posted by mochapickle at 5:24 AM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding the idea that the people with celiac may not want to eat food prepped in your kitchen. I’d recommend addressing with them directly and saying you’d be happy to cook gluten free but want to make sure they’re comfortable — as mskyle noted, this can feel fraught for people with dietary restrictions and I suspect they’ll be really glad you brought it up.
posted by eirias at 6:14 AM on September 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Those cheesecake stuffed strawberries sound really good. Alternately (or in addition!) some chocolate dipped strawberries would be really good too. You can probably buy them, but dipping them yourself is really not difficult either.
posted by telepanda at 6:58 AM on September 20, 2018

Anecdote: I'm celiac, and the leftover invisible gluten on people's sponges / cast-iron pans / hand-towels / wooden and plastic cutting boards definitely will make me sick. If someone has baked bread in the last 24 hours (let's say 48 to be safe), I can't eat anything from the kitchen, and if it's a house where flour has been used I need for the surfaces to be cleaned first. The oven is also a hazard in a household that bakes gluten items. Gluten doesn't break down with heat. Even my super allergy-cooking-aware friends have to be extremely careful cooking for me in their homes -- it's not a thing I usually let people do. Which makes me feel extremely sad and socially alienated, but I gotta take care of my health. I usually compensate by making 2 or 3 or 4 dishes for social occasions and wrapping my own portion separately or serving myself first so nobody can accidentally put a gluten-covered spoon in it.

Moral: Ask your guest what they need to be safe, food-wise, and if eating food cooked in your kitchen is even an option for them.

If so, there are lots of normal dishes (see above, meat and potatoes) that are simple and GF. If you want a nice dessert, I recommend Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake with almond extract, gluten free flour, and an extra 1/4 cup of olive oil to compensate for the GF adaptation, with some (homemade?) lemon curd to go with it.
posted by cnidaria at 7:00 AM on September 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

(Although upon reflection, maybe that's not a very kid-friendly dessert! Oops!)
posted by cnidaria at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2018

Baked peaches*! Halve the peaches and sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350 until the sugar starts caramelizing. You can serve with fresh whipped cream in the middle or with some marscapone or with some gluten free ice cream.

*This also works well with pears!
posted by astapasta24 at 7:13 AM on September 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

If they are okay eating food prepared in your kitchen, I've had great success hosting a family with a kiddo who has multiple severe food allergies with a straightforward meal of roast chicken with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Salad or another veggie (green beans, chopped broccoli) that can be roasted in the oven at the same time as the sweet potato if you're trying to be fancy and have two sides. If time is truly short, you can even pick up roast chicken from the store (I've done it and I AM NOT ASHAMED, hosting at all with a baby is amazing, you're in it for the company and not to show off your mad cooking skills).

For the sweet potatoes, I peel and then dice into 1/2-inch squares, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The best part of this side is that it is super baby-friendly; if your kiddo is doing purees, you can mash it up and thin it with water, and if you're started finger foods, these are like baby crack. I literally turned my kid orange from the amount of sweet potatoes she ate, her doctor laughed at me.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:29 PM on September 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh dang, this is trashy, but my Girl Scouts make this every time we go camping. You want kid-friendly, gluten-free, and not to involved? You want walking tacos.

Cook beef with taco seasoning, set out taco toppings (guacamole, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, etc), and hand each guests a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. You put the taco meat and toppings of your choice in the bag and eat straight from it with a fork.

I've never eaten it indoors but I suppose it is technically possible.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:26 PM on September 20, 2018

Also here to recommend prepackaged gf foods. Ask them if they have some favourite brands. Make sure they can inspect the packaging.

A friend recently tried to feed me a frozen prepackaged dinner that wasn't gf because she didn't realize that brand makes gf and non-gf foods, and I only caught it because I saw the box in the garbage.

If you've got a bug in your hair about home cooking, make sure it's obvious what the ingredients are. No purees, no gravies, nothing mashed up. And everything you cook with has to be thoroughly cleaned.
posted by Dynex at 4:35 PM on September 20, 2018

My kid is gluten free, seven, and picky as hell. I'd suggest rice krispies.
posted by aetg at 4:37 PM on September 20, 2018

Kellogs brand rice krispies have barley in them and are not gluten free.
posted by Dynex at 4:41 PM on September 20, 2018

But! Erewhon puffed rice cereal is gluten free and makes nice krispies. I found it at my local hippie health food store.
posted by mochapickle at 6:54 PM on September 20, 2018

We have mild, not severe, gluten allergies in our house. For extra fun we also have slight dairy and egg allergies.
We do a lot of tacos, stir-fry, roasted meats, pulled pork, steamed veg, steamed rice.

For a dessert you might just do a fruit platter, berries and cream, or baked apple (or pear). Maybe popsicles for the kids.
posted by vignettist at 8:55 PM on September 22, 2018

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