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The Halloween decorations have just come down… Time to start planning for the holidays! Who is receiving who? When? Are we doing dinner or brunch? And are there any special diets or dietary restrictions? Here are a few tips for planning more inclusive festivities!

A potluck to feed everyone

The popular potluck format is perfect for groups, especially when several guests have dietary restrictions as a result of an intolerance to gluten or lactose, a food allergy, high cholesterol, diabetes, or out of ethical or environmental concerns (vegetarian or vegan diet). Here, everyone brings a dish to contribute to the appetizer, main course, or dessert.

The hosts are responsible for coordinating, notifying all guests of any restrictions to be followed. First things first, determine the number of people attending (and assess their appetite). That way, you’ll have a good idea of how much of each dish or side you’ll need. Pick a theme to harmonize the flavours (traditional Quebec, Italian, or Asian cuisine, for example). We also suggest sharing the preparation of the main courses between guests to avoid overloading one person.

A potluck to feed everyone

The great thing about potlucks is that they offer variety, giving guests interesting options despite their more restrictive diet. No one goes hungry, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have yummy leftovers for the next day!

A series of ideas

For appetizers, have your guests bring a variety of salads, such as this potato and fresh cream salad (gluten-free). Make the recipe lactose-free by swapping out the regular cream for a soy cream, such as Belsoy.

Maple and sesame glazed tofu (100% vegan) is sure to impress your guests, with its crispy texture and sweet and spicy flavours.

The popular shrimp wheel is sure to please anyone looking for something with a low glycemic index.

For the main course, think tartare and croutons (gluten-free if necessary), made with shallots, chives, and green onions, pickles, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, old-fashioned mustard, maple syrup, and sriracha sauce.

Dazzle your guests with vegan pies made with crumbled extra-firm tofu, plant-based ground, onion, garlic, celery, white mushrooms, white wine, and vegetable broth. Simply season with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, Dijon mustard, and Cayenne pepper. For dessert, many cakes, cookies, and pies can easily be made gluten-free (gluten-free flours work very well). If you don’t want to risk it, opt for mousses and cream and chocolate fudges, which can even be made lactose-free with soy or coconut cream, or Rice Krispie squares (made with vegan marshmallows, of course!).

Hosting a brunch? We prepared a 100% vegan menu made with gluten- and lactose-free recipes.

Idées en rafale

A buffet with a variety of options

Buffets are similar to potlucks in that they offer a multitude of dishes. If you think you need to cook all night long to make it happen, think again! You simply need to cook one meal, with a variety of sides instead. Your guests can then fill their dish as they wish.

For example, if you’re thinking a main-meal Niçoise salad, lay out certain ingredients, such as roasted chicken, salmon, and tofu or hard-boiled eggs, separately. Make a gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan red-wine vinaigrette, and let everyone make their own perfect recipe.

You can use the same concept for a main-meal soup. First, prepare a broth everyone can have. Next, let everyone complete their dish to their liking with a selection of fried noodles, udon noodles, rice vermicelli, or pearl barley, proteins (sliced beef, pork meatballs, chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc.), veggies (diced carrots, potatoes, or celery, corn, Bok choy, green onions, mushrooms, etc.), and fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, or cilantro). Also offer a variety of toppings: bacon, croutons, young shoots, sour cream, etc.

And nothing stops you from putting out some Quebec cheeses, local deli meats, and crudités as an appetizer or on an impressive butterboard.

When in doubt, ask!

If you want to take care of the whole meal yourself, send your menu, including recipes, to your guests so that they can check the list of ingredients.

Whatever their diet, know that there’s always ways to adapt. For more information, discover these “no-restriction” foods and much more in this article.