Catering to Special Dietary Needs, Part 2

Vegan Chocolate Cake Last week we looked at delicious dishes for catering to food allergies and sensitivities. There are other types of food restrictions about which event planners and caterers should be aware including vegan, vegetarian and religious prohibitions.

Just a reminder that a few questions on participant surveys will ensure that you identify dietary requirements for your guests. If some guests don't return them, ensure that this is noted at registration and that you provide an opportunity to fill them in. Also, make an announcement at the beginning of your event and give participants and opportunity to approach a member of the event team so that their requirements can be accommodated.

Common Dietary Restrictions

Last week, although our focus was on peanut, egg, lactose and gluten free meals, we also ensured that some of the menu items suggested would also be appropriate for the following dietary restrictions:

  • Vegetarian: A vegetarian diet does not include meat. Some vegetarians will eat seafood so it is important to clarify the specific nature of dietary restrictions.
  • Vegan: A vegan diet does not include meat, fish or any animal by products such as cheese and other dairy products.
  • Pork: Some religions prohibit consumption of pork, ham and their byproducts. As substitutes, Kosher and Halal pepperoni, as well as turkey ham and bacon, are available in some markets.

Vegan Chili Some recipes can easily be adjusted for guests who require vegetarian, vegan or meat-free dishes. For example, to create meatless chili, paella, spaghetti sauce or Pad Thai combine all ingredients except the meat or fish. Remove the servings for the special meals just before you add the meat or seafood.

Quinoa is protein rich. It can used to replace meat or ingredients with gluten. (Rice allergies are rare but quinoa can be used as a rice substitute.)

Special meals will need to be ordered in if even a few attendees require Kosher or Halal cuisine.

If many guests require Kosher or Halal cuisine, the wisest strategy would be to select this option for catering the entire event.

Sample Recipes

Main Course

Spanish Quinoa

Ackee & Salt Fish (Cod)

Jamaica's national dish is often served as a brunch item with boiled green bananas and dumplings as sides. If there are guests who require vegetarian or vegan dishes, remove their portion before you add the salt fish and add season that portion with salt.

Dessert

Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Triple Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free flour can be used in this recipe so that all guests can enjoy it.

In Comments, please feel free to share your favorite dishes for catering to allergies, food sensitivities and special dietary needs. You are welcome to include links to video recipes.

Photo Credit: adpowers, miikkahoo

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