Here are a few tips on serving people with different palates, allergies, or food sensitivities.
You have new friends coming over for dinner. You want to impress them with something gourmet, clean, and simultaneously delicious. But one is a vegetarian, another is dairy- and gluten-free, and another is watching her carb intake. How are you going to put something together that everyone can palate? Try implementing the following tips for a stress-free, diet-conscious dinner party.
Don't try to plate everyone's dinner for them. You can still have a beautiful dinner table set with placemats, candles, wine glasses, the works. But, give your guests the opportunity to pick and choose what they can eat. They can skip the meat station and move straight to the veggies. Or pile on the meat and forget the carbs. Everyone can prepare their plate to their personal palate.
If there will be vegans or vegetarians attending, give your sides a little bit more thought. For meat eaters, the meat is usually the main intrigue and the veggies and potatoes take backseat. Shift your thinking and make your sides more interesting. If you are roasting veggies, give them a couple shakes of rosemary, nutritional yeast, or minced garlic. Beans can move up from the backstage and into the place of entree if there are meatless eaters. If you are cooking rice, add in some cilantro, lime, and a little spoonful of butter.
Salads make a great entree or side dish for a dinner party of different diets. But, everyone knows the one thing that makes a salad a SALAD is the dressing. This is where you should expend your time and effort. Make your own dressing, complimenting the flavor with the rest of your meal. Use tahini, greek yogurt, or avocado to amplify the creamy texture. Apple cider vinegar or lime juice will add the tang. Paprika, cayenne, or sriracha can spice it up. Find the right dressing and you've got yourself a great dinner in the making.
Since you are making a buffet-style dinner, keep the foundation simple. And then your guests can go from there. For example, a taco salad bowl will do the trick. Leave your meat on the stove, simmering next to the beans. Place your salad bowl front and center, next to the smaller bowls of cheese, rice, and supplementary veggies. And then, the pièce de résistance, your dressing. Let everyone build their bowls and drizzle on the exquisite sauce.
Health-conscious eaters always secretly love dessert. The way to their hearts is through small portions—then they don't feel so bad reaching for a bite or two. Purchase a couple of smaller-scale sweet treats. Maybe individually-wrapped dark chocolates, gourmet chocolate popcorn, or dark chocolate and almond butter cups. If you want to make your own dessert—sliced berries with homemade whipped cream or dark chocolate-dipped almonds, gluten-free pretzels, or strawberries create an elegant presentation without too much prep work!