How many of your friends and family have special dietary requirements? These days the answer is, probably, most of them. Diary-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free and soy-free are just a handful of ingredients that people must be “freed” from within their food regimens. Between keeping allergies at bay, clinging to the latest fad diets and personal or religious beliefs, deciding to host a dinner party could be a death sentence. So the question is: How does one go about making a meal that is practically free of almost everything imaginable — yet wow the crowd?

Jenna Short, owner of, has got the answer in her new book “Cooking Allergy-Free: Simple Inspired Meals for Everyone.”

“Everyone deserves good food and dessert no matter what,” Short says. “The Bloody Mary Salad is a favorite appetizer of mine.”


Bloody Mary Salad

“This salad has all of the tangy flavors of a bloody Mary. When entertaining, I like to serve it on a long, narrow plate accompanied by a shot of vodka for a palate cleanser. Use different-colored cherry tomatoes for the best presentation.

* Not all brands of Worchestershire sauce are gluten-free so be sure to check the label.

¾ cup finely chopped red onions

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, divided

3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup finely chopped celery hearts

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (read ingredient statement)

1-tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (read ingredient statement)

½ teaspoon celery seeds

¼ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1.Put the onions in a large bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of the sherry vinegar on top; let the onions sit for about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and celery.

2. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, the horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and celery seeds in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Pour the dressing on top of the tomato salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate (the longer it sits, the more intense the flavor will be). Serve cold or at room temperature.