festive food for GF vegetarians?
December 30, 2021 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What should I serve to my gluten-free and vegetarian guests on New Year's Eve?

Apparently this is the second time I've asked y'all for New Year's Eve suggestions, but the parameters are very different this time. I need to accommodate 1 vegetarian (meat at the table is fine as long as there are other options), 1 gluten-free (avoids, but not celiac), no nightshades, no sushi. My family are enthusiastic meat and gluten eaters, so I don't have much experience cooking this way. I don't mind a little fussing, but would prefer to keep it fairly simple. Make-ahead is good. Haven't decided if we just want an appetizer spread with some hearty options or a sit-down meal. There will only be 7 people, so for sure I'm overthinking it, but it's been a long time since I've had anyone over! Themed menus welcome, or your favorite tried and true recipe. Thanks!
posted by libraryhead to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Response by poster: Forgot to mention that the meat "on the side" needs to be poultry -- no beef, pork, or lamb. I don't know if seafood is an option, but will probably avoid just to be safe.
posted by libraryhead at 9:49 AM on December 30, 2021

How about rice-stuffed acorn squash (one example but there are a thousand different ways to do it), roasted brussels sprouts, cauli gratin (skip the bread crumbs), and either keep it simple and just do roasted chicken for the meat eaters, or chicken meatballs feel like they'd vibe with the rest of the menu, or just make the meal vegetarian and I'll bet the meat eaters won't even miss it. Add a simple salad or slaw (or this fennel apple slaw with maple dressing, if you would like to tick every fall/winter box in one meal).
posted by Lyn Never at 10:36 AM on December 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Baked stuffed squash, perhaps, if you can get some really good ones like delicata or kabocha. Something like winter squash stuffed with lentils, wild rice pilaf, and sautéed mushrooms and garlic. You could do a separate version with ground turkey for the meat eaters. Served on braised greens. If I recall correctly, curry blends and anything with chilies in it are nightshades, so stick to making your own spice blend for the stuffing with things like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, and the whole host of dried herbs.

If cheese is okay, a nice cheese plate is always festive. Prep a variety of crudités too, like blanched asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli, olives, celery and cute miniature rainbow carrots, cucumber slices and butter lettuce cups. There are some really great gluten free crackers now that are basically just nuts and seeds in cracker form, if you can find those get them, but if you have enough crunchy veg your GF guest should be okay without crackers for their cheese. Arrange things prettily on a big board or collection of small bowls and plates so it feels bountiful.

Folks with a lot of dietary restrictions often also don’t drink alcohol. It would be great if you had an option for a celebratory mocktail they could have for New Years. This one looks super tasty and very festive.
posted by Mizu at 10:45 AM on December 30, 2021

Ooh, in fact, based on both our ideas of stuffed squash, I desperately want to be able to have parties again so I can put this showstopper on the table. And if you wanted to do the pilau version, either use fake meat crumbles or just skip the meat.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:52 AM on December 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

If the vegetarian does eggs/cheese, a vegetable frittata is tasty and not much of a pain to prepare without nightshades (spinach/mushroom/onion would be an appropriate combo). It works as part of a sit down meal, or cold as part of a tapas kind of thing.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:47 AM on December 30, 2021

- Vegetarian cassoulet, possibly featuring the tarbais beans from Rancho Gordo;

- Steamed asparagus with lemon juice and/or vinaigrette;

- Rice crackers and/or lentil-based poppadums with hummus and/or dal;

- Acorn squash, cut in half and roasted so that it gets beautiful carmelized edges, served whole/presentationally with a gorgeous sprinkle of just a tiny bit of sage.
posted by amtho at 11:59 AM on December 30, 2021

Vegetarian hoppin' john? Maybe this recipe? You could also add a spicy chicken sausage or the side or make it with soyrizo - the flavors are a little different but it will still taste good. Also make collard greens. (The black eye peas and the collards are considered good luck, the soy would also be for similar reasons as the beans, the chicken is not.)
posted by vunder at 1:09 PM on December 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

To me, this calls for an Asian (mostly Chinese) inspired spread where many elements can be served at room temperature. This is because the first thing I thought about was fish-fragrant eggplant. When I make it, I often also make Kung Pao mushrooms and broccoli with garlic sauce. And rice of course. If you want to be really fancy, you could add in a broth.
If you want a chicken dish as well, you can make wings marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, lime and chili. Just mix up the ingredients and let the wings marinate for some time in an oven proof dish. When dinner is near, stir it, and put the whole dish in the oven at 200 C till the wings are cooked through. Stir now and again while cooking. Sorry, that is the recipe, from my cousin who was a line cook at a famous restaurant, you mix the marinade to taste. It can't really go wrong, and it is delicious.
posted by mumimor at 1:36 PM on December 30, 2021

Another idea might be to make a butternut squash soup (I like it made with ginger and apple, something like this.) you could keep it in slow-cooker on warm for people to serve themselves and then also do an absolutely giant cheese/fruit/vegetable/pickles snack board, some of the toppings could go on the soup. And then ice cream for dessert? You could have a bunch of fun toppings for the ice cream.
posted by vunder at 1:59 PM on December 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

The Wondersmith always has something good for these types of problems.
posted by shadygrove at 4:15 PM on December 30, 2021

I'm chiming in pretty late, but friends have been raving about this Ottolenghi recipe as of late... Rich and cheesy enough to feel special to meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Don't be afraid to make a few adjustments. ie: Use a premade 5 spice mixture as long as it's fresh. Sub red or brown miso (use less!). I'm going to make it with a red Kuri squash. If you can find the little Honeynut squash (look like mini butternuts) all the better.
posted by jenquat at 6:02 PM on December 30, 2021

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