We've all been there. The Most Difficult Dinner Guest Ever is coming to dinner. The vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, how-in-the-world-do-I-feed-them friend. Rise to the occasion — we have five delicious meals that will not only work but satisfy and delight in even the most ingredient-constrained circumstances!
I saw this infographic above at the marvelous designer Amy Sly's portfolio and had to laugh.
• The Worst Dinner Guest Ever [Infographic] at Buzzfeed • Amy Sly's website
Haven't we all been there? Looked around the dinner party plan and realized that our guests overlapped in a particularly challenging way, or that one person at the table stretched our culinary ingenuity?
Sometimes the Most Difficult Dinner Guest is an aggregate (one guest is gluten-free, another vegan, another races to the hospital if they touch a peanut). Sometimes we ourselves are that Most Difficult Dinner Guest, cringing a little as we tell our host that yes, soy milk is still OK, and teff flour is in, but we've recently developed a nasty allergic reaction to eggplant.
To the engaged cook, however, these guests and challenges are not moments of exasperation — they are inspiration and a challenge to create something delicious in constrained circumstances. Anyone can make buttery foie gras on white toast taste good; it is the constraints that show what you're really made of, as a cook.
We here at The Kitchn run the gamut of omnivores to sometime vegans, with many food avoidances and allergies between us. Over the years we've come up with a few knock-out meals for our own Most Difficult Dinner Guest dilemmas. Here are five meals that will always work, always delight, with care and deliciousness both.
5 Meals to Feed Nearly Anyone
• 1 Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions - Vegan, gluten-free, full of flavor.
• 2 Braised Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Lemon - A deeply delicious stew, vibrant and colorful
• 3 Soba Noodle Salad with Bok Choy - Make sure to use gluten-free soba noodles in this fresh soba dish.
• 4 Very Simple Dal Palak - Garnish with cilantro and serve with brown rice for a rich, warming meal.
• 5 Curried Coconut Carrot Soup - An amazingly delicious soup, filling from the coconut milk.
Throw together a good green salad and some brown rice as a side dish, and then on to dessert...
5 Desserts Nearly Anyone Can Love
• 1 Vegan/Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Icing - It's hard to make baked good that's both vegan and gluten-free, but this one will please anyone.
• 2 Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Smoked Sesame Seeds - Sweet and creamy pudding.
• 3 Spring Dessert Recipe: Strawberry and Honey Sorbet - Pretty and bright. Make with agave instead of honey for vegan guests. Also try these sweet wine slushies!
• 4 One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream - The one and only banana ice cream! Dress it up with some melted chocolate.
• 5 Thai Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice - A delicious sweet dish of creamy coconut rice and sliced mango.
What are your favorite dishes for feeding the guests with eating challenges, intolerances, and allergies? Do you have some go-to crowd-pleasing dishes that anyone can enjoy?
(Images: Amy Sly/Buzzfeed; see linked recipes for full image credits)