My book club has the coolest tradition. When we gather to discuss our latest fiction reading, we bring snacks that tie in with themes from the book. One of our members has celiac disease, so I’ve gotten to try several gluten-free party favorites and would like to share them with you.
One in every 100 people you meet suffer from celiac disease, according to a report from Celiac.org. It’s an autoimmune disease that harms their intestines, causing great discomfort when they eat gluten. However, there is still a large percentage of people who choose a gluten-free diet for personal health reasons. Therefore, if you’re having a gathering, including an array of tasty snacks void of gluten can make any party great and will make your gluten-free friends feel all the more included.
Below are several of the appetizers, desserts, and side dishes I was able to try during these last two years of book club. I can certify their tastiness!
Who says gluten-free recipes can’t have a little kick? These macaroni and cheese mini muffins simply trade out the regular grains for quinoa and, suddenly, you’ve got tasty finger foods easy to mix and packed with flavor.
I couldn’t stop snitching these when they showed up at book club last year. Imagine a crunchy outside with a soft center and the rich flavor of cheese in every bite. They’re great for more than just appetizers, too. You can serve them with soups, chilis, entrées, or breakfast.
My kids and I really enjoyed this treat. I’m sure we’ll make it again. The best part was when they got to roll each mini muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture. What kid wouldn’t love that?
It doesn’t get easier than a simple veggie hors d'oeuvres like these cucumber bites with herb cream cheese and cherry tomatoes from 52 Ways to Cook. Not only are they a boost in nutrition and naturally gluten-free, but this colorful dish costs very little to make.
This might be the best recipe for first-time gluten-free bakers. This failsafe dessert is as simple as it is delicious. Instead of buying specific flour to use as a substitute for gluten-free guests, why not just go flourless? Monique at Ambitious Kitchen says, “These cookies disappear quickly, so I recommend doubling the recipe!”
Popcorn is a great alternative for gluten-free party guests. These popcorn bars only require six ingredients and are finger-licking good.
Just getting started in the world of cooking gluten-free? Here are a few basic considerations from my good friend, Jamie Wright, who is among the one percent who suffer from celiac disease.
Read food labels.
“First, you have to read labels for all ingredients for whatever you're prepping, even things that ‘should’ be okay,” says Wright in an online interview. “It's fairly self-explanatory to look out for wheat, rye, barley, and even oats, but many don't know to look for malt, spelt, seitan, and other lesser-known gluten sources. Even "modified food starch" or "natural flavor" can be gluten containing ingredients. Fortunately, many manufacturers these days will put "gluten free" right on the label, and you can trust that on American products.”
“If you want to have a gluten-free option,” Wright continues, “like GF crackers with a cheese ball, try to prevent cross-contamination as much as possible if you are also providing normal crackers. Don't put glutenous crackers next to the cheeseball too, and maybe provide a lot of plastic knives so that people aren't spreading cheese on gluteny crackers with the serving knife.”
“If you have a friend coming to the party who you know has a severe gluten reaction, don't hesitate to call them up and ask them what they can and can't eat. There is nothing sadder for a person with celiac than having a friend go to the trouble to make you a special gluten-free treat, only to find that some gluten snuck in, and they have to avoid it or eat it and be sick in silence. The guilt is real for all parties involved.”
Do you have any gluten-free party favorites you’ve enjoyed? Feel free to share one with us in the comments below!
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