As a chef who aims to please the palates of NYC’s finest, it’s a scary thought that 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies. However, the US Food and Drug Administration was able to narrow 8 “major food allergens“ that account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions. In my ongoing quest to serve world-class meals that clients with food allergies can enjoy, I’ve learned a few tricks. Without compromising on taste or flavor, here are some very delicious alternatives to foods that can trigger most food allergy sufferers …
ALLERGY: Dairy: milk and milk products (Lactose Intolerance)
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Soy, almond and rice milk products are great alternatives.
ALLERGY: Eggs: Eggs and egg products
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Arrow root or potato starch are great substitutes for eggs in baking.
ALLERGY: Fish: Bass, flounder, cod and other seafood not in a shell
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Wakame seaweed provides that fresh “ocean” flavor.
ALLERGY: Gluten:Wheat and wheat products (Celiac Intolerance)
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Rice pasta or other whole grains like quinoa and millet are great substitutes.
ALLERGY: Tree Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds are delicious alternatives with a crunchy punch.
ALLERGY: Soy: Soy beans and soy products
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Almond, coconut and rice milk products are superb and tasty alternatives.
ALLERGY: **Fruit: Kiwi, strawberries and other fruits
WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD: Wild honey or agave nectar are nice alternatives when you want to add some sweetness to your food. ** Note: Fruit is not on the FDA’s list of “8 major allergens” but I have had many clients with serious fruit allergies so I find it important to address.
Two of my favorite recipes I’ve used to tantalize my clients while addressing a specific food allergy include:
For those who are lactose intolerant (suffer dairy allergy) …
Apple Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup
½ Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Granny Smith Apple
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cup Almond, Soy or Rice Milk
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Sugar
½ Tsp Salt
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Cup Maple Syrup
- In a small sauce pan, place the syrup and cinnamon stick and bring to low simmer. Remove from heat and let stand to infuse the syrup with cinnamon flavor.
- In a mixing bowl, place all of the dry ingredients and stir.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the milk and vegetable oil.
- Peel, core and cut apple into quarters. Grate the apple in a box grater (large slot)
- Add the grated apple into the dry mixture and toss gently (this will keep the apple pieces from all falling to the bottom)
- Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- In a medium, non-stick skillet, prepare pancakes.
- Serve with warm cinnamon syrup.
For those who are celiac intolerant (suffer gluten, wheat allergy)
Linguini with Provencal Sauce
1 Lb. of spelt pasta
6 Plum Tomatoes (cored and medium diced)
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic
¾ Cup Calamata Olives (pitted)
1 Small Yellow Onion (small diced)
1 Tbsp Capers (drained)
4 Basil leaves (rough chop)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large stock pot.
- Salt the water (about 4 Tbsp).
- Cook spelt pasta as per directions on box.
- In a large skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the onions until tender.
- Add the garlic, olives, capers and diced tomatoes and heat through for about 1 or 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Add the basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta and place back into stock pot.
- Add the Provencal sauce and toss together.
- Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
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