10 Delicious Dairy and Gluten-Free Appetizers

spinach and artichoke dipWhether you’ll be glued to the game, waiting just for the commercials, or playing a board game with no television in sight, this coming Sunday is a great time to try out some new appetizers (or share some old favorites) with friends and family.

Appetizers are my favorite treats, but when our family switched to a dairy-free, gluten-free diet for a variety of health reasons in 2013, party food became something I dreaded. Most of my favorite items were now off-limits. I would look at a party spread trying muster up all of my self-control to not give in. With time, I’ve come to find alternatives, new favorites, create a few dishes of my own, and look at some old classics with new appreciation.

Here are ten ideas so delicious that you won’t miss the gluten or dairy this party weekend:

1. Hummus or Guacamole and Veggies—Hummus and guacamole are mainstream enough these days that we find these at even non-allergen-aware parties. If the dip is packaged, double-check the label for dairy. We have encountered brands of each that add dairy. Veggies make great dippers (plus many corn chips and potato chips are gluten-free).

2. Bacon-wrapped Dates— So easy, so delicious! Friends like to stuff their dates with cooked, crumbled chorizo before wrapping with the bacon. One family member wraps dried apricots instead.

3. Spinach Artichoke Dip– Try a dairy-free twist on this classic: a creamy, tangy, and garlicky cold dip made rich with mayonnaise and coconut cream instead of cheese.

4. Nachos– Line a baking sheet with corn chips and your favorite toppings like beans, chopped bell peppers, hot peppers, corn, shredded meat, etc. Then, dollop spoonfuls of hummus over it all. Broil until everything is warmed and the chips are barely browning. Add salsa and guacamole.

5. Mini Meatballs– There are loads of meatball dishes out there, but I particularly love this Asian-inspired slow cooker version. (The good-old grape jelly plus catsup classic combination pleases many palates as well.)

6. Buffalo Chicken Dip– This spicy-as-you-want-it craveable dip is totally dairy-free, unlike the popular cream cheese version.

7. Devilled Eggs– There are loads of devilled egg recipes out there from gourmet to classic, but nothing beats the simple Betty Crocker recipe from my childhood for my crew.

8. Crab Cakes– Make crab cakes bite-sized to fit the appetizer theme or go big. Crab, yum!

9. Shrimp Cocktail– So simple, so delicious, so classy! Buy a pre-steamed tray at the grocery store or prepare your own.

10. Chicken Wings– Why settle for one flavor when you can relive nights at your favorite college dive bar that served twenty flavors of wings from sweet to spicy?

Image credit: Janine


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