When a member of your family is following any sort of a dietary restriction, some careful forward planning is essential to ensure Christmas dinner is equally delicious for everyone around the table.

Likewise, if you’re inviting some friends over for dinner, it’s always best to check if there are certain foods they can’t eat – or would prefer not to eat – before you decide on your menu.

Often, the easiest way to accommodate a variety of dietary needs is to incorporate dishes everyone can safely tuck into. Sometimes it can be enough to tweak some old favourites in order to produce a meal most can enjoy.

Gluten-free dining

Gluten is often included in the most inconspicuous products, so a vigilant eye when scanning food labels is always required when you shop for gluten-free goods.

ver the past few years there has been a surge in the availability of gluten-free products on our supermarket shelves, making it easier to spot products which are safe for those with coeliac disease or for those choosing to follow a gluten-free diet.

Gluten tends to be included in many desserts but there are plenty of delicious puddings that can be made without an ounce of flour – meringues with chantilly cream and berries, flourless chocolate cakes or poached pears served with a dollop of yoghurt are just a few.

These desserts would happily be devoured by anyone.

For dishes which are traditionally made with bread – for example, bread sauce or fresh herb stuffing – gluten-free bread can be used or you can substitute the bread for polenta, rice, or potatoes (as I’ve suggested in the stuffing recipe below).

Dairy-free dining

As with gluten-free products, there are now butter and milk alternatives on the market which can easily be substituted for regular butter and milk in many recipes. If you or one of your family is following a vegetarian or vegan diet, a flavoursome vegetable nut roast or mushroom tart would work wonderfully as a main and is equally delicious as a side for the meat-eaters around the table.

There will be some dietary restrictions that make it more difficult to cook a one-pot-suits-all dinner but when the focus is on fresh, wholesome, processed-free ingredients, the option for something very delicious is always a possibility.

Gluten-free potato stuffing

Potato stuffing is traditionally served with goose, but it also pairs perfectly with turkey, ham, or beef. This potato stuffing has all the flavours of a regular bread stuffing without the addition of gluten or bread.

800g potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped

75g butter, plus extra for greasing

350g onion, peeled and roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp fresh herbs (parsley/thyme/sage), finely chopped

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C or gas mark six).
  • 2 Add the potatoes to a steamer and cook until soft. Drain the water from the pot and tip the cooked potatoes back into the saucepan and mash well until they are nice and smooth.
  • 3 Add the onions to a food processor and blitz gently until finely chopped.
  • 4 In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add the onions, cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • 5 Turn off the heat and add the mashed potatoes and fresh herbs to the pot. Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir and combine well with a wooden spoon.
  • 6 Lightly grease a medium-sized casserole dish with butter and add the stuffing to it. At this point, if you’re not cooking the stuffing straightaway, allow the dish to cool fully, cover and pop into the fridge, ready to cook the next day.
  • 7 Cook in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • No bake chocolate tart

    This indulgent chocolate tart is entirely free-from – no eggs, dairy or gluten – and it's very easy to make. \ Nessa Robins

    This no-bake tart takes only minutes to prepare but benefits greatly from resting in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight, before serving. It is free from gluten, egg and dairy (just make sure the chocolate used for the topping doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients).


    250g cashew nuts

    150g dates, pitted

    Zest of 1 orange

    1 tbsp coconut oil

    1 tsp vanilla extract


    2 ripe avocados

    3 tbsp cacao powder

    3 tbsp maple syrup

    50ml orange juice

    Zest of 1 orange

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    1 tsp ground chia seeds

    Pinch of sea salt

    To serve:

    50g dark chocolate

    Orange zest

  • 1 Line a nine-inch springform tin with parchment paper.
  • 2 To make the base, blitz the cashew nuts and dates together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the orange zest, coconut oil and vanilla extract and blitz again for about one minute or until the mixture starts to come together.
  • 3 Tip the mixture into the lined tin and spread evenly, pressing down well with the back of a spoon to help the base to compress together. Place in the fridge while making the mousse.
  • 4 For the mousse, halve the avocados and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Blitz until smooth. Add the rest of the mousse ingredients and blitz until completely combined and smooth, making sure no lumps of avocado are remaining. You will need to stop the processor twice or three times while blending to ensure the mixture is blending evenly, and to scrap any mix from the side of the bowl.
  • 5 Once smooth, carefully take the blade from the bowl and add an even layer of the mousse to the chilled base.
  • 6 Place back in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. When ready to serve, grate over some dark chocolate and add a scattering of orange zest.
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