17 Allergy-Friendly Recipes That Anyone Can Eat (and Everyone Will Love)
Don't let dietary restrictions box you in! These inspiring recipes — from decadent apps to creamy frozen desserts — will help you get out of your cooking rut.
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Preparing meals for people with food allergies can be tricky — even more so if you're juggling multiple allergens and dietary preferences. Food allergies are increasingly common in the U.S.; there are eight food categories that account for 90% of the all food allergies: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. At Yummly, we have someone whose son is allergic to seven of them. Talk about a challenge.
But like any challenge, it can help to think of it as a creative opportunity! There's no reason why cooking without certain ingredients has to translate into a life of culinary austerity or throw you into the dietary doldrums.
Need proof? Take a look through these stunning common-allergen-free recipes and see if they don't make you hungry. We scoured Yummly for the most beautiful, tasty, and inspiring recipes in our collection and came up with this list of 17 head-turning delights to liven up any table. In addition to being peanut-, nut-, dairy-, egg-, soy-, and gluten-free, this collection is also vegetarian, meaning just about anybody can enjoy these dishes.
This spiced eggplant is most certainly not lacking flavor! Kicked up with jalapeños and bursting with warm ginger, cumin, and coriander flavors, this Sri-Lankan inspired dish is balanced by sweet notes of caramelized onions and tender young eggplants. Serve as a side, pack up leftovers for a chilled salad lunch, or spoon over grains for a filling main course.
Crispy Root Vegetable Chips
These veggie chips are nothing if not a feast for the eyes! Beet-stained sweet potatoes, crispy browned carrots, and sweet, salted parsnips make for such a beautiful array in the bowl that you can forgo the bouquet of flowers on your dinner table. To add additional depth to these beauties, sprinkle with spicy curry powder or your favorite spice mix to accent the variety of root vegetable flavors.
This iconic West African rice dish has great depth of flavor built layer-by-layer starting with onions and bell peppers, then moving on to curry and paprika as the rice is cooked, and finally incorporating a quick home-blended tomato paste filled with warm ginger, garlic, and chilis. The aromas will quickly fill your kitchen while the complex flavors slowly unfold in your (delighted) mouth.
The key to this "delicious and different" recipe, as one of our readers noted, is the blend of ginger, coriander, and garam masala. Developed by a dietician, this 20-minute recipe takes the concept of a traditional potato- and pea-stuffed fried samosa and simplifies it — making it healthier, faster, and easier in the process.
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili
Filled with lentils and two types of beans, this hearty chili provides plenty of protein, with warming spices and a healthy dose of vegetables to round it all out. Note that adding cheese on top is purely optional (and not included in the ingredients list); leave it off to keep the dish dairy free.
In addition to being gluten-free, this recipe also avoids white sugar, relying instead on agave and apple juice for sweetening (and the best sweet blueberries you can find, of course!). Be sure to buy oats that are labeled gluten-free — not all oats are.
Fried Dill Pickles
I'll admit — I'm a sucker for fried pickles. Warm, crunchy, and tangy, they're a treat that hits my taste buds just right. They're also a great vehicle for your favorite dipping sauce: try this Dairy-free Tzatziki (contains cashews) or Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip.
German Potato Salad
This recipe for German potato salad comes by way of Alabama ... and features Spanish smoked paprika. It also uses rice vinegar in place of standard white vinegar for a more delicate taste. This is a great recipe for meal preppers, as it makes eight servings and gets better as the days go by.
Everything about this salad is light and bright: bright colors, a punch of lemon, and flavorful fresh mint, cilantro, and parsley. It's the type of meal that makes you feel healthier for having eaten it and puts a smile on your face even on a gloomy winter day. Read through our user comments to see what other cooks have added to make it their own (I'm loving the suggestion to use watermelon, myself).
Turkish Eggplant Casserole with Tomatoes (Imam Bayildi)
If you need some comfort food, give this dish a try. It's slow-baked for 45 minutes so the eggplant becomes soft and tender and the flavors of the rich tomato sauce develop under the heat. Even better, if using a cast-iron skillet, it becomes a one-pan meal with very little cleanup required. Also, we'd be doing you a disservice if we didn't point out that the name of the dish translates to "the Imam fainted." So yes, it's that good.
This mushroom paella garners rave reviews from Yummly users who have taken the recipe and added their own signature in a variety of ways: adding sweet corn, zucchini and/or Brussels sprouts; substituting turmeric for saffron; trying different varieties of rice. How will you make it your own?
Blueberry Banana Ice Cream
Whether you're lactose-intolerant or have a dairy allergy (no, they're not the same thing), that doesn't mean frozen treats are off limit! Using just three ingredients — bananas, blueberries, and agave — you get a delicious dessert that can be made without any specialty equipment (all you need is a blender). You can omit the sweetener if you like, add vanilla extract, or even swap out the blueberries for another fruit altogether.
Rustic Zucchini Tian
What's a tian? While the name originally referred to a specific type of cooking vessel, it's come to refer to any layered vegetable dish (similar to a gratin). This lovely tian is full of flavor — and ten cloves of garlic! It gets depth from caramelized onions and looks beautiful with roasted tomatoes, parsley, and lemon zest sprinkled over the top.
Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Garlic + Rosemary
This is a quiet sort of soup; beautiful in its simplicity. It's easily whipped up on a weeknight and is lightly flavored with rosemary and olive oil. It gets its creamy texture from pureed cauliflower for a soup that is thick but not necessarily rich.
Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Blueberry Muffins
Allergy-free muffins are within reach with the right ingredient substitutes. This recipe relies on some of the usual suspects: gluten-free flour, flaxseed, and dairy-free yogurt. The key to a tasty muffin lies in the blueberries themselves; try to find wild blueberries for a deeper flavor.
Roasted Veggie Noodles
Veggie noodles are seen all over the place nowadays; many grocery stores even sell vegetables already spiralized so you don't have to invest in any special kitchen tools to enjoy these veggie noodles. But how do you cook them? Most recipes call for stir frying them, but if you try this roasting recipe, you'll be hard pressed to make them any other way! Roasting enhances and deepens the flavor of the vegetables, and while the veggie noodles do shrink quite a bit, unlike stir frying, the moisture will evaporate so you don't end up with soup noodles.
Roasted Cauliflower Rice with Cilantro & Lime
Another "hot" veggie dish making waves over the past few years is riced cauliflower. While it's easy enough to rice your own cauliflower, it's common to find it already chopped up in freezer cases and produce aisles at many grocery stores to save you time. Roasting, as in this recipe, helps it to develop additional flavor. This would be a great base for the spiced eggplant at the top of this recipe roundup, or alongside the zucchini tian (basically anything with a sauce to get sopped up).