Hosting an elegant, flavorful, vegan, gluten-free dinner party

May 20, 2010

Last March an email from a dear friend, blogger Amy Wilson, landed in my inbox. The title read: “I have a puzzle for you”…. Intrigued, I read on excitedly.

It was all about an upcoming dinner party. But it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill dinner party. The menu for this special celebration of her husband’s birthday had some “serious limitations.”

“Here’s the rub” Amy wrote. Three couples were coming over and all four men (her husband included) had just declared they all wanted to be vegetarians. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, the menu also had to be vegan and gluten-free — and no spinach, mushrooms, celery or rice could make an appearance.

“Is there a menu for an elegant dinner party that can accommodate these restrictions?” Amy asked tentatively. The answer, of course, was a resounding yes.

In fact, it wasn’t hard for me to come up with a menu for Amy’s party. All I had to do was to focus on the fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season in the spring and the menu came together on its own.

I was able to send her links from this blog for several options for each course, so she could look at them and choose her menu. Before long, Amy was at her farmers’ market, stocking up on asparagus, peas, cucumbers, carrots, strawberries… all the fresh ingredients she needed for her dinner.

And Amy did a superb job. She recounted every step of her journey in her wonderful blog. To read about it, click on each title below. Amy’s enthusiasm is contagious and I love the way she made the recipes her own.

“It was a smashing success! Your recipes were perfect and actually really easy. That was the revelation,” she wrote to me the week after the party. “I’m going to roast asparagus every day now. It’s like fast food it’s so easy.”

Music to my ears!

I want to thank Amy for giving me the opportunity to work on this menu for her party. And I am very excited to see how this new way of eating will evolve for her and her family. Her words: “It’s a new adventure.”

Marinated Olives with Fennel

Cucumber and Avocado Ceviche

Artichoke Velouté with Black Truffle Carpaccio

Roasted Asparagus with Pink Grapefruit, Pine Nuts and Lemon Infused Oil

Spring Vegetables Braised in Olive Oil, White Wine and Saffron

Strawberry Sorbet

Amy is also the host of Streaming Gourmet, the most comprehensive cooking video site on the internet. You’ll love every minute of your visit.

© 2010 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Wilson (StreamingGourmet) May 20, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thank you, Viviane! What a wonderful post and a wonderful collaboration. I really appreciate all your help and inspiration.


Viviane Bauquet Farre May 20, 2010 at 11:52 am

You are so welcome Amy! I had a wonderful time working with you on this menu and I am immensely proud of you. Have fun with it all and remember to always focus on flavor.


gerard cunningham May 21, 2010 at 12:46 am


Thanks for the great advice you gave Amy. As a new Vegan, I am looking for all the ideas I can for exciting new dishes, and you were a great help for this dinner party

Much appreciate your help



Lori Lynn at Taste With The Eyes May 21, 2010 at 9:20 am

Sounds like a lovely menu! Vegan plus gluten-free is a challenge. All your courses sing!


lisaiscooking May 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I love how fresh and seasonal this menu is! Sounds like a fantastic dinner party!


Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) May 22, 2010 at 9:57 am

The menu sounds delicious and definitely a toast to spring.


Dawn@CocinaSavant May 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

What a great post. We have some vegan friends who’ve been asking us to cook dinner for them some time, and we’ve been so tentative to accept, but this is an inspiring menu! great job!


mcritchie June 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Amazing– we actually have two couple-friends that we have been wanting to come over for dinner but one is gluten-free and one is vegan! We just might try this. =) Thanks!

Reply June 9, 2010 at 4:05 am

Thanks for sharing this! Very very useful for me. I’ll host a dinner this weekend so I really need this.


Kip July 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

It makes me so happy to see that, while maybe it seems a difficult task if it’s out of your comfort zone, there are omnivores out there who don’t just cry “vegan, no! can’t do it!” I think you’re a rare breed because usually we just eat the side salad instead of any actual effort being made :)


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