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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Eating Well with Allergies

Recently I had a friend over for dinner who has a triple-whammy of food allergies: Jaclyn has to be gluten-, soy-, AND corn-free. It is challenging to cook within those restrictions, but challenges are fun, remember?

So here’s what I made.



Didn’t notice my leg in the photo until it was too late. Heh heh.


  • Carrot, daikon, and peanut salad (tweaked the beet-and-carrot salad recipe; it was almost as good)
  • Potato salad with olive oil mayo
  • Mushrooms roasted and marinated with umeboshi and rosemary (unrecipe coming soon—this dish is my new favorite thing!)
  • Roasted root vegetables (parsnips, golden beets, carrot, garlic and onion)
  • Sauteed kale, bell peppers, and chickpeas with tarragon and a light sprinkling of curry powder

And Jaclyn brought over black bean burritos with a homemade cheezy sauce (using nutritional yeast), topped with guacamole-cum-salsa verde.

(If this seems like a ton of food for three people—well, yes, it was, but I love having loads of leftovers since it lets me focus on writing without having to cook for several days. I love to cook, but you know!)

A few tips when cooking around food allergies:

1. Of course, read labels carefully as you’re shopping. There are lots of foods you might assume are fine for your friend to eat—for instance, I picked up a can of dolmades from Trader Joe’s thinking to put them out with the hummus and gluten-free crackers—but when I got home I found soy oil in the ingredients list.

2. It’s always better to err on the side of too much food. I had plenty of back-up snacks.

3. Run your meal plan by your friend to double-check that everything is cool. I’m lucky to have no allergies, but the situation is similar when omnivores have me over for dinner: “Can you eat this? And this? How about this?” It’s always better to ask.

I’m also finding it helpful to seek out the brands that cater to food allergies. I picked up three varieties of gluten free crackers at the Harvest Co-op, and we really enjoyed both Van’s and Mary’s Gone Crackers (those are Mary’s-brand super-seed crackers on the plate; great for hummus dipping.)

I’m definitely going to keep gluten- and soy-free alternatives in mind as I work on my little cookbook projects. Dining in restaurants may often be an exercise in frustration for people with allergies, but that’s all the more reason to learn to enjoy cooking at home!


1 Comment to Eating Well with Allergies

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    February 5, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    It seems like more and more places now have gluten free products and menus, but I think corn and soy would be harder since they are in so many processed foods. Probably not a bad thing for us all to move closer to soy and corn free since processed foods are no good for you or the environment.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.