Hosting a “Special-Diet-Friendly” Holiday Dinner

December 14, 2015


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for family dinners and dinner parties! When it comes to these special meals, in addition to setting my holiday table with festive decor, I’m also considering how I can make food that I can enjoy with everyone else this holiday season, even with my dietary restrictions. It can be hard to know what to make when “the classics” are all full of butter, cream, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Here are a few of my personal suggestions for hosting a special-diet-friendly holiday dinner! 

Christmas Tablescape |

Before we get into the side dishes, we need to talk about the tablescape. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, brunch or some kind of get-together over the holidays, setting your table to match your meal is a must! By the time I get my menu organized and food prepped I barely have time to think about creating a fancy tablescape. It needs to be simple and reflect my minimalist tendencies. My white linen table runner and vintage brass candle holders always lay the foundation. I start with them and add a few simple pieces to “jazz it up.” To bring a little the wintery outdoors in, I decided to go with dove grey linen napkins and layer they beneath small bunches of greenery. I included a small twig, holly and winter greens and tied it in a bow with off-white cotton ribbon. You can snip greens from a forest walk or your backyard or pick up a small variety bouquet for less than $12 at a flower shop, the grocery store or even Costco!  I used the same twigs from the mini bouquets to weave between the brass candle holders to create a simple centrepiece. Simple, easy and incredibly affordable! 

Christmas Decor - Dining Room Tablescape |

These dove grey linen napkins by Lost in Linen have me seriously swooning! They are the most beautiful cool colour and feel luxurious, modern and rustic all at the same time! I can’t wait to use them again and again and again. I highly recommend adding a set of good quality linens to your tablescape and the quality of Lost in Linen is among the best! You can find these napkins, in this dove grey and other gorgeous colours, here


White and Grey Linens, Gold Cutlery |

These animal magnets serve double duty in our home! I use them to hold up notes and pictures on my magnetic board and fridge, but they also make perfect placecard holders for your dinner party! Clark used his pen skills to write out our guests names and we stood them upright at the back of each place setting. I thought these woodland animals would be perfect for the holiday season! You can also find safari animals, dinosaurs and tons of other animals! You can find them in almost any colour, here.  

Gold Animal Magnet Placecard holders |

Now for the holiday side dishes! I have a few vegan and gluten free options for your holiday meal! Vegan doesn’t just mean there’s no meat; it means there are no animal products at all. Since I can’t eat dairy or eggs, I find the best way to search for new recipes is to simply identify myself as vegan. So, if you have someone who is dairy-free or egg-free, these recipes will work for them!

I’m confident you can create an outstanding holiday meal that is special-diet-friendly by adding a few side dishes to your existing turkey or ham! 

These are my tops pics for a special-diet-friendly holiday dinner: 

Roasted Cauliflower & Chestnut Stuffing {Gluten-free & Vegan}

This stuffing alternative has all the flavours you’d expect from a traditional stuffing recipe and the chestnuts even add in a “meaty” texture. So good! I made this recipe for our last holiday themed dinner party and my friend, who has tried a plethora of my “special” food commented, “This is my favourite thing you’ve made to date!” Win! You can find the recipe here. 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Roasted Cauliflower Chestnut Stuffing Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole {Gluten-Free & Vegan}

I made this casserole for Christmas last year, and my sister, who doesn’t have any dietary restrictions at all, just messaged me asking for the recipe. It’s that good. My brother in law downed the leftovers the next day! That’s when you know you’ve found a winner, it’s even first pic on day 2. You can’t go wrong with this one! Find the recipe here

Sweet Potato casserole

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce {Refined Sugar-Free, Vegan, Gluten-free}

I’ve never been a huge fan of cranberry sauce. At least I didn’t think I was. That’s because my whole life I thought cranberry sauce came from a can; I had no idea how delicious it can taste when you make it from scratch. And it’s extremely easy to make!  We love this pomegranate cranberry sauce with hints of orange! You can find the recipe here

pomegranate cranberry sauce8

Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad {Gluten-free, Vegan}

This salad add ls a punch of proteins for non-meat-eaters but is a nice bright salad for the rest of your dinner party as well. And, if you’re making the pommeganate cranberry sauce, here’s a hint of flavour repeated with the pomegranates! You can find the recipe here

Quinoa Fennel and Pomegranate Salad

Roasted Carrots with Green Tahini Sauce {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

I am guilty of using tahini sauce to make creamy sauces on the regular. I love the nutty flavour and it’s a great way to get that creamy consistency without the use of dairy. I also love roasted carrots! You can find the recipe here. 

roasted carrots with green tahini sauce

These are a few of my go-to sides! I’d love to hear what you make to ensure all your loved ones can eat!