Shabbat with food allergies

The Jewish Sabbath, “Shabbat,” is a beautiful, spiritually uplifting day filled with festive meals. Many traditional Shabbat foods like challah, kugels, and gefilte fish are loaded with food allergens. Let’s explore delicious food allergy alternatives to some Shabbat classics.

Challah, the traditional bread eaten at the start of all Shabbat meals is usually made from wheat flour and eggs. Both of these ingredients are on the “Big Eight” list of common allergens. Make an eggless challah recipe and you’ll find it hard to tell it apart from its egg-based counterpart. Be sure to omit the egg frosting to make it truly eggless. Sesame seeds are also potential allergens for some people.

Gluten-free challots are a little harder to find. Fortunately, we live in incredible times of access to gluten-free products. There are several companies that make ready-made gluten-free shallots. If you’re ready to make gluten-free challah from scratch, roll up your sleeves, find a great gluten-free challah recipe, and go for it. Make sure it’s dairy-free (so it’ll be fine for a meat-based Sabbath meal). Also, you’ll want to check the ingredient list to make sure you have some of the hard-to-find ingredients.

The next dish in a traditional Shabbat meal is fish. If you’re allergic to fish, just substitute any non-dairy appetizer you’d like. Hot soup, cold soups, salads, fresh fruit, etc. If you are not allergic to fish but are sensitive to eggs and gluten, be aware that most prepared gefilte fish breads contain both egg and wheat. The exception is Passover. During Passover, gefilte breads omit wheat but still contain eggs. Skip the gefilte fish and make a simple fish fillet without breading or egg dressing. Salmon, tilapia, flounder, and sole are all suitable egg-free and gluten-free fish solutions.

Let’s go to the soup. Steaming bowls of chicken soup with matzoh balls are a Shabbat classic. These special dumplings contain both wheat and egg. You can either make gluten-free matzoh balls (Passover is a good time to look for gluten-free matzoh ball mixes) or skip the matzoh balls. Add additional carrots, squash, onions and noodles (wheat-free varieties).

The main course of the Shabbat meal doesn’t have to be a food allergy obstacle course. Serve the chicken without breading. Have plenty of fresh salads (avoid nuts and croutons) and steamed vegetables on hand. Potatoes or rice make great gluten-free sides. If you’re avoiding wheat, don’t make rice pilaf. Pilaf is a pasta made from orzo wheat.

Kugel, a traditional Sabbath staple, typically calls for wheat flour and eggs. Find recipes that omit one or the other or both. Potato kugel can be made gluten-free, as can a variety of vegetable puffs.

No Shabbat lunch is complete without a beef stew called cholent. Cholent is usually prepared with stew meat, sliced ​​potatoes, barley, beans, onions, water and seasonings (cooked in a slow cooker to bring out all the flavors and respect Jewish prohibitions on cooking on the Sabbath). Cholen can easily be adapted to be gluten-free. Just replace the barley with a bag of successful brown rice (just leave the rice in the slow cooker, not a plastic bag). Also check seasoning labels for gluten-based ingredients. Teriyaki sauce, onion soup mix, and barbecue (popular cholent enhancers) can all contain wheat.

Now for the best part of the meal, the dessert. Some non-dairy ice creams require egg-based ingredients. Opt for soy or rice-based ice cream (check a pareve designation). Baked goods often contain wheat, eggs, and nuts, so be especially careful about foods you didn’t prepare yourself. Shop for baked goods prepared at bakeries that specialize in allergies, or look for recipes that omit your allergens (egg-free chocolate chip cookies, flour-free chocolate cake, etc.).

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