Cooking and eating as a family can seem impossible when everyone has different allergies, food intolerances , health demands, and ethical concerns. The internet is full of recipes altered to be dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat, meat-free, or Vegan. Frankly, most of these recipes are terrible. If you make a meat-free meatloaf to satisfy one child, another child will proclaim it disgusting, and someone else will have issues with the number of carbs and lower protein content.
Too many substitutions in a recipe make it lose its flavor, and kids aren’t afraid to announce that fact to the world.
Instead of making do with flavorless imitations because of food intolerances , why not try something new? Many global food cultures have authentic, delicious recipes that meet special dietary needs! When you go global with your food choices, you discover delicious new menu options that meet your family’s needs.
Special dietary needs don’t have to be a struggle. They’re a great opportunity for you and your kids to learn to cook and eat the foods of some of the world’s most amazing cultures. Here are a few options to expand your palates and your diet!
Instead of gluten-free, dairy-free meatloaf, try Bulgogi!
Bulgogi is a Korean beef recipe that cooks up quickly and has a great flavor. If you use gluten-free soy sauce for the marinade, this dish is naturally dairy-free and gluten-free! Bulgogi has a rich taste with a hint of a kick but is mild enough for almost every palate best for food intolerances.
Serve it with rice and an assortment of fresh or grilled veggies so that each person can make their own ‘bowl.’ This is a great, allergen-free crowd-pleaser for slumber parties or game nights, because it’s delicious, filling, and fun to eat!
Instead of soy-based “meat” meals, try Masoor Dhal!
Serving ‘fake meat’ means that you have to cook multiple dishes and no one walks away truly satisfied. Meanwhile, Masoor Dhal is a vegan classic from India! The red lentils cook up to be a rich, tender, protein-packed meal.
Serve the lentil mixture with basmati rice and roast vegetables for a filling, nutrient-packed, vegan dish.
Indian cooking has many Dhal (lentil) dishes, and every family should have one or two in their rotation. They’re delicious, comforting, and cook well in an electric pressure cooker for nights when you’re running from school to practice to meetings. The techniques needed to cook this meal are all taught in our basic classes, so this is one you can prep with your kids or assign on your child’s night to cook and it’s best for the food intolerances.
Instead of “American burritos” serve Carne Asada street tacos!
In the US, we often load our “Mexican food’ up with cheese and sour cream and serve it on flour tortillas. However, there are plenty of authentic Mexican recipes that are gluten-free and dairy-free! Carne Asada served on corn tortillas is a delicious, flavorful, allergy-friendly, and easy-to-cook alternative to more processed ‘Mexican’ food options.
One great aspect of taking a ‘street taco’ approach to this meal is that each family member can dress their tacos. Consider options like:
- homemade pico de gallo
- guacamole (one of the first recipes we teach our young cooks)
- salsa verde
- fresh spinach
Offering a range of toppings will give your kids a chance to show off their knife skills and let everyone have the fun of creating their own unique flavor combinations.
Instead of a mushroom burger, try falafel!
Don’t get us wrong. Portobello mushroom ‘burgers’ are delicious. But they’re low in protein, and if you have a hungry vegan to feed, you want to offer some more nutritious options. Enter the falafel.
Falafel are deep-fried chick-pea balls popular throughout the Middle East. They’re vegan and they’re delicious – crispy on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside.
Serve falafel in a pita with tomato, onion, cucumber, or other veggies. If you’re gluten-free, they also taste great with a corn tortilla or with rice. They’re a versatile, protein-packed snack that you’ll adore.
Instead of gluten-free lasagna, try moussaka!
While this Greek dish does contain egg and dairy, many traditional variations are entirely gluten-free. In moussaka, the layers of filling are separated by eggplant slices, not noodles. While most recipes use an egg sauce to bind the dish together, you can use corn starch instead of flour to thicken the sauce.
Moussaka can be made with ground beef or lamb, or it can be vegetarian. It’s low carb, filling, and easy to transport in a casserole dish if you’re attending a gathering.
If your child has completed a basic class with us, they’ll have the skills needed to make moussaka with minimal supervision. However, since layering dishes tend to be a bit time-consuming, making a moussaka with your child is a great way to enjoy conversation and bonding time.
Keep exploring with us!
When you expand your palate and explore world cuisines, cooking for special dietary needs becomes easier, and your weekly menu rotation gets more interesting for food intolerances.
Would you like to spend more time with your child exploring world cuisines, learning new kitchen skills, and expanding your palates? Stay tuned for information on our upcoming “Around the World in 180 Days” membership! Join our email list so that you don’t miss important updates and opportunities!