top of page

Party Snack Alternatives

by Riley Sugarman

Photography courtesy of

Parties can be a time for friends and foodies alike to bond over fun times and food. Unfortunately, foodies dealing with various dietary restrictions often encounter obstacles at these festivities, as many staple snacks and appetizers are loaded with gluten, meats and cheeses.

Instead of suffering through what should be a fun time, put a twist on classic appetizers and snacks to satisfy your inner foodie cravings.

Gluten Free

Those with a gluten intolerance, sensitivity, allergy or Celiac’s Disease face endless bowls of tasty yet forbidden chips during get-togethers.

Arielle Kimbarovsky (COM’20) deals with severe Celiac’s Disease, making snacking at events a challenge.

“Parties with my friends are always food centric and always involve gluten, so it makes it really awkward when friends and family try to push food you can’t eat and then call you a downer,” said Kimbarovsky.

Instead of the typical plate of nachos, try Parmesan kale chips.

The recipe is simple and quick for party planners in a time crunch. Drizzle—or coat, depending on preference—olive oil and sprinkle salt on the kale leaves, then bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle the chips with Parmesan and bake for another five minutes before serving.

“I love gluten free apps because they make life so much easier, and I’m very into one that would give recipe alternatives to party favorites,” said Kimbarovsky.

Dairy Free

Those with lactose intolerances, sensitivities or allergies face similar problems during festivities.

“Fun times with friends can get in the way for me in terms of my lactose intolerance because most of the people I know really love cheese, so the food they make for events is always cheesy” said Karam Yang (CAS ’18).

Queso dip can be tempting, but swapping the bowl of cheese with black bean chili can turn a stomachache into a hit.

Star Market sells Amy’s Organic Low-Fat Medium Black Bean Chili for last-minute party planning. Otherwise, the recipe is easy to prepare and only takes about five minutes.

After chopping yellow onion, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno, put the mixture, black beans, cumin, lime juice, salt, chili powder and black pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, then pour into a bowl and serve.

Yang is always open to trying new dairy-free alternatives, since the lack of options at most events leaves her hungry or forced to eat dairy products and deal with the aftermath.


Many parties offer meat-only options, leaving vegetarians with little to nothing.

“Occasions like Fourth of July barbecues are always a struggle for me—the food certainly isn’t made with me in mind,” said Sam West (CFA ’20).

Put a twist on staple Buffalo wings by substituting the chicken with cauliflower to make Buffalo cauliflower bites.

The recipe takes under an hour and only requires a handful of ingredients. Whisk flour, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and then toss in the cauliflower. Bake for 15 minutes and flip once.

Mix melted butter and buffalo sauce together before adding the baked cauliflower. Place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes and flip once. Let cool and serve with your favorite dip!


Finding vegan dishes can be difficult as well, especially for Haley Fritz (COM ’20), a self-proclaimed picky eater and food lover.

“I would never not go to something just because I was afraid there weren’t vegan options, so I appreciate having an option that works for all diets,” Fritz said.

Resisting can be challenging with limited options. To avoid temptation, try vegan poutine—a traditionally Canadian dish made with French fries covered in gravy and cheese curd.

The recipe requires a decent amount of time, with 15 minutes of preparation and 45 minutes of cooking, but the end result worth it. Vegan poutine calls for unpeeled russet potatoes, coconut oil, sea salt, vegan mozzarella cheese and mushroom gravy—which can be found in store or made from scratch.

Chop the potatoes into slices and then toss with the oil and salt to coat the slices. Place the fries evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 24-35 minutes, making sure to flip them at least once.

While the fries bake, warm the gravy in a saucepan on low heat. Then, separate the mozzarella into one-teaspoon curds and place on top of the fries before baking again for 3-5 minutes. Pour the gravy on top and serve.

“I think the good thing about a vegan option is that everyone can enjoy it, and it adds a little bit of a healthier twist to popular appetizers,” said Fritz.

bottom of page