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Dealing with Dietary Restrictions for a Dinner Party

dietary5-b1027f99From gluten free, vegan, sugar free, low fat, low sodium, carb free, dairy free, soyless, meatless, wheatless, macrobiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, sustainable, local and raw, people are identifying themselves more and more by their food choices.

There are a bevy of reasons from health to political why people are choosing to abstain from certain foods.  From a New York Times article about picky eaters, “Consumers seem to be building self through sustenance, adjusting their appetites to reflect independence and moral character.”

If the thought of cooking a separate dish to accommodate every guest makes you want to throw in the dish towel before you even begin, never fear, Marcia Selden Catering is here with some great ideas that everyone at the table will love.  When designing their menus, they always create beautifully presented alternate vegetarian options that are also vegan, gluten free. Here are 3 of their favorite recipes.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil

(GF, DF, NF, V)

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ lbs. cauliflower, cored, cut into smallish florets
  • 6 C. vegetable stock + 1 additional cup used for thinning as needed
  • Truffle oil
  • Chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss florets with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a foil lined baking sheet with onion and garlic.  Roast for 18-20 minutes until cauliflower is soft.

In a pot over medium heat, add vegetable stock. Add roasted vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes covered. Using an immersion blender puree until soup is smooth.  Thin with vegetable stock as needed

Thin the soup with stock, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls, and drizzle with truffle oil and chopped chives before serving. Soup can be made 1 day in advance and warmed before serving.

Salmon en Papillote

(GF, DF, NF)

This recipe can also easily be made vegetarian by omitting the salmon and adding additional vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, spinach and squash.  You could also use curry or Zatar as another flavor option.

This recipe is per person.

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 asparagus, ends trimmed
  • ½ shallot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ C. shredded carrots
  • 6 oz. piece of salmon filet per person *have your fish monger precut the pieces for you
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • Juice and zest from ½ a lemon
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Cut 10” long pieces of parchment paper for however many servings of fish you plan to prepare.

Place parchment paper on a sheet pan.  Toss the asparagus, shallots and carrots in olive oil and salt and pepper, and place on one half of the paper. Place salmon over vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.  Spread Dijon mustard, lemon zest, garlic, dill and lemon juice over salmon.

Seal the parchment paper well by repeatedly folding little sections over each other, taking care to make sure it is well sealed. You can prepare the packets up to this point 1 hour in advance and keep in the refrigerator.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cut the parchment paper with an X at the top and serve.

Zoodles (Zucchini Strands) with Basil Pistou & Ricotta

(GF, NF, V)

Pistou is similar to a pesto, but without nuts.  You can also make this meal dairy free by omitting the cheese.


  • 4 C. basil
  • 1 C. flat leaf parsley
  • ¼ C. quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Zest from 1 lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 C. olive oil +more as needed

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until mostly smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Can be made 1 day in advance and kept refrigerated.


  • 3 zucchini, cleaned with end removed
  • 1 C. ricotta cheese
  • 1 C. shelled edamame

Using a Japanese spiral slicer, make long strands of zucchini.  If you don’t own one, you can also cut zucchini into 2” quartered pieces.  Cook zucchini and edamame in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain and toss with pistou and ricotta before serving.

One-Ingredient Banana “Ice Cream” with Shaved Dark Chocolate

(GF, DF, NF, V)

This recipe will blow your mind.  Don’t tell people how easy it was to make, they won’t believe you!

  • 2 bananas per person, sliced and frozen in an airtight bag
  • Bar of dark chocolate for shaving *make sure it’s dairy free

Process frozen banana slices in a food processor until they turn creamy.  They will look crumbly first, keep processing and scrape down the sides as needed.  Spoon into bowls and serve with dark chocolate shavings (which can be made with a vegetable peeler) and fresh berries or other fun toppings.

Additional fun toppings:

  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Honey
  • Nutella
  • Speculoos
  • Chopped candied ginger
  • Sliced fresh berries