9 New Year’s Eve Recipes for (Almost) Every Food Sensitivity

It seems like everyone has some kind of food allergy or sensitivity or special diet, which can make pleasing everyone who shows up at your party really difficult. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education group, upwards of 15 million Americans have food allergies — and that’s not including those who have diet restrictions for other health or lifestyle choices.

Though there are countless allergens and food sensitivities we won’t go into, we’ll try to dance around some of the Food Allergy Research and Education group’s most common allergens and some of the most “trendy” food restrictions.

We’ll be looking for appetizers that are some combination of:

  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Paleo
  • Dairy-Free
  • Egg-Free
  • Nut-Free — yes, peanuts and tree nuts alike
  • Soy-Free
  • Low-Sodium
  • Shellfish Free

Because the only appetizer that hits all the food sensitivity marks is a plate of undressed, raw vegetables, it’s unrealistic to make something that will satisfy all of the big and currently popular restrictions. Instead, choose a couple out of these 9 recipes to successfully feed as many guests as possible without buying ingredients you’ll never use again or slaving over a different appetizer for every guest.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Mustard Green and Sweet Onion Frittata

Make a big frittata, which is like a thick, open faced omelet, and cut into bite-sized pieces for an appetizer that doesn’t involve piecing together individual bites. The mustard greens in this frittata from Food & Wine could be replaced with arugula or chard.

This dish is: gluten-free, vegetarian, soy-free, nut-free, shellfish-free


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1½ pounds mustard greens, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 16 large eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until wilted.

Season the eggs with salt and pepper and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottom and sides begin to set. Lift the sides of the frittata to allow the uncooked eggs to seep under. Continue cooking until the bottom is set and the top is still runny, 3 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until the center of the frittata is set. Slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut into 1½-inch squares and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Spicy Asian Chicken Wings With Herb Dipping Sauce

This chicken wing recipe from Go Dairy Free is unusual in that it uses black tea in the marinade. When choosing a tea, go with something that doesn’t have an added flavor, like assam or darjeeling over earl gray.

This dish is: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free



  • 5 tablespoons black tea leaves, divided
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • ½ cup wheat-free tamari
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 18 large chicken wings

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 4 jalapenos, seeded and deveined
  • ⅓ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Place 3 tablespoons of the tea leaves into a small bowl and add boiling water; steep six minutes. Strain the tea and discard used tea leaves. Cool to room temperature and hold.

In a spice grinder or with mortar and pestle, finely grind the remaining tea leaves to dust. Transfer to a medium stainless or glass bowl, along with soy sauce, fish sauce, Sriracha, oil, garlic, and pepper. Mix well. Pour in reserved cooled tea and mix.

Cut off tips of chicken wings. Cut wings into two parts at joint, place in resealable plastic bag and pour tea-based marinade over wings. Seal well and mix to coat completely. Refrigerate for a couple hours to all day, turning occasionally.

To cook, remove wings from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Remove wings from bag and discard marinade. Drain very well.

Preheat grill to medium. Grill wings until cooked through on both sides and juices are running clear, about six to eight minutes per side.

Place basil, cilantro, jalapeños, and vinegar in bowl of food processor. Pulse until smooth. With motor running, slowly pour in oil until smooth and incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, scrape down sides of bowl and pulse again. Place in covered container and chill until ready to use.

Granola, honey and fresh apples. Fitness breakfast.

Source: iStock

3. Apple Cartwheels Recipe

This sweet recipe from Taste of Home is a two to three bite affair. It’s raw and fresh, requiring an hour in the refrigerator but no cook time. The original recipe calls for red delicious apples, but you could easily use any apple your heart desires. Leave the peels on for extra fiber and a more striking appearance.

This dish is: gluten-free, vegetarian, soy-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, low-sodium


  • ¼ cup unsalted or low-sodium peanut butter
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 4 medium apples, cored

Directions: In a small bowl, combine peanut butter and honey; fold in chocolate chips and raisins.

Fill centers of apples with peanut butter mixture; refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into ¼-inch rings.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Green Goddess Hummus

Give hummus a fresh start this New Year’s Eve, too, by packing it full of fresh herbs with this recipe from Leaf and Grain. If you get really into the idea of smooth hummus and you have the patience and time, peel your chickpeas. This is made easier by starting with dried chickpeas, soaking them with a teaspoon of baking soda, and rubbing the cooked, drained chickpeas with a paper towel like Yotam Ottolenghi. If you’re in more of a hurry or don’t want to start from dried chickpeas because you’ve had a big can of them in the pantry from your 2014 resolution to make more of your food, like hummus, from scratch to save money, well, that’s OK too. You made your own green goddess hummus. No one will judge.

Choose your own herbs, here. Karen used parsley, tarragon, basil dill, and chives. Serve with gluten free chips or vegetables.

This dish is: gluten-free, vegetarian, soy-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, nut-free


  • ½ cup dried chickpeas, or 1½ cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • the juice of one small lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • reserved soaking water
  • 1 heaping cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped

Directions: If starting with dried chickpeas, place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with water by three times. Cover loosely and soak overnight in a cool spot. If you’re obsessive about really smooth hummus, stir in a teaspoon of baking soda. The next day, drain the chickpeas, reserving about ½ cup of the soaking water. Rinse and drain again. Sort through the chickpeas and discard any shriveled or discarded ones. For smooth hummus, peel the chickpeas.

Add the chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic, and pulse a few more times. Add the tahini and lemon juice. Drizzle olive oil in one ring around the bowl, and add the salt. Process until the chickpeas form a thick, grainy paste. Add the herbs and another ring of olive oil. Process until the herbs are blended with the chickpeas.

If the hummus is still pasty and too thick, alternate between adding 1 tablespoon of water (soaking water, if you started with dry chickpeas and did not add lemon, otherwise, use fresh water) and 1 tablespoon of oil, until your desired consistency is reached.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

Even though it is not melon season in most places, it’s hard to go wrong with a cured-ham wrapped melon. Salty, sweet, and luscious, this is an elegant party standby you almost can’t go wrong with. Choose a cantaloupe or a honeydew over a watermelon here in this recipe from Everyone Eats Right.

This dish is: gluten-free, paleo, soy-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, nut-free


  • 1 melon
  • 12 ounces chilled prosciutto

Directions: Halve the melon and scoop out the seeds. Slice into 1¼-inch-wide wedges. Trim off rind and cut each wedge into three shorter pieces.

Halve each slice of prosciutto length-ways so you have two thin strips from each piece. Wrap each piece of melon with a slice of prosciutto. Keep chilled until serving.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Blooming Brie Bowl

This one is a little less versatile than the others, but still hits a few categories and could play backup to, say, wings. It’s so incredibly easy that there is really no good reason to not put it together (unless your only guests are paleo, gluten free, and lactose intolerant). The recipe, coming in from The Kitchn, tops the brie with a savory-sweet spicy mix to up the ante. If you can use a knife and turn on the oven, this one is for you.

This dish is: vegetarian, soy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, nut-free


  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter softened
  • 1 loaf round sourdough bread
  • One 8-ounce round of brie cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix spices and sugar in small bowl. Set aside. Place bread on baking sheet. Cut circle in top of bread and remove bread center to make room for the brie.

Spread butter on bread. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons spice mixture. With knife, make 2 inch cuts at 1-inch intervals around edge of bread. Remove rind from brie and place in bread. Sprinkle brie with remaining spice mixture. Replace top of bread.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes. To serve, remove bread top and break into bite size pieces. Dip bread pieces in hot brie.

Coconut shrimp

Source: iStock

7. Skinny Coconut Shrimp

Crispy, sweet, and savory, these coconut shrimp from Skinny Taste are baked rather than fried for a healthier crunch than fried ones. Like the Blooming Brie Bowl on the previous page, this is not for everyone — but it’s another quick appetizer for diversity. With this, master the three step breading process: dredge, wash, and batter. Use one hand to keep the other clean for things like itching your nose, and set out three separate stations for dredging with flour (to provide a dry surface to keep the egg from slipping off), for washing in egg (to hold the batter on the shrimp), and batter (the star, to provide flavor and texture).

This dish is: soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, low-sodium



  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon shredded sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon Panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • non-stick spray

Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine coconut flakes, Panko crumbs, and salt in a bowl. Place the flour on a small dish. Whisk egg in another bowl.

If everyone’s blood pressure is fine, lightly season shrimp with salt. To make this low sodium, do not season the shrimp with salt. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture.

Lay shrimp on the cookie sheet then spray the top of the shrimp with more cooking spray; bake in the middle rack for 10 minutes. Turn shrimp over then cook another 6 to 7 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce. To make dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Spiced cauliflower in sauce

Source: iStock

8. Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

These Cauliflower Buffalo Bites from The Lean Clean Eating Machine are destined to be a hit almost anywhere. Though not an exact replica of chicken wings, who really eats chicken wings for the chicken? It’s all about the sauce. There’s a bit of sodium from the Frank’s Red Hot, and it is made with soybean oil, so Frank’s Red Hot sauce is not soy-free. Everyone else, though, is pretty happy. To make this paleo, make a sad face and don’t coat the cauliflower in the crispy brown-rice coating.

This dish is: gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, nut-free


Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower; chopped into bite size pieces
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup water
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of granulated garlic powder
  • Non-stick spray


  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine brown rice flour, water, garlic powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Dip cauliflower pieces in the batter until coated evenly, then place on a lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the batter hardens, then flip with a spatula and bake for another 5 minutes.

Whisk together Frank’s Red Hot sauce and coconut oil in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is finished, take a plastic pastry brush and evenly brush each piece with the hot sauce mixture. Bake coated cauliflower for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is crispy, and sauce looks absorbed.

Let cauliflower bites set out for at least 20 minutes before serving for the flavors to meld.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

9. Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges

Ultimately, these sweet potato wedges from PaleOMG are the only appetizer for your party that everyone with virtually every food restriction can eat that isn’t a raw celery stick. They’re great, too. Thick enough to be fluffy in the middle and crisp on the outside, if you let people salt their own, they hit all of the allergens and sensitivities on our list in a delicious way.

This dish is: gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, low-sodium


  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced

Directions: Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, the cut each half into 4 to 5 wedges. Place wedges in a bowl, cover with water and add ice, about 2 cups worth. Let wedges sit in ice for 30 minutes.

Preheat over to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wedges from water and pat dry. Place wedges back into a large, dry bowl. Add melted oil, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss wedges to coat.

Place wedges on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to help cook on both sides (if you don’t have a cooling rack, just cook on parchment paper lined baking sheet and flip half way through cooking). Bake wedges for 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through and browned. After cooked, let cool for 5 minutes then toss wedges in the bowl with fresh dill.

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