Flexible feasts address different dietary needs

"These days whether you're having Fourth of July or any other summer BBQ or gathering, you are bound to have a guest with dietary needs, if not a couple guests with dietary needs," said Jessica Goldman Foung, author of "Sodium Girls' Limitless Low Sodium Cookbook".

Goldman was diagnosed with a lupus-related kidney disease - so she knows how to create meals that cater to diet restrictions. That's no small task with eggs, soy, wheat, dairy and nuts among the top intolerances.

Just trying to make a meal excluding even one of those is tough. But her July 4th buffet ideas can help.

"Think of a lot of ingredients where people can pick and choose for themselves," said Goldman Foung.

First up, a quesadilla bar where dairy-free spreads are front and center.

"Instead of cheese you can offer people array of different steamed vegetable puree or even olive black bean puree that you spice with your own seasonings," she said.

How about roasted pumpkin pepper puree? Top with another toasted tortilla and your favorite options: Avocado, salsa, jalapeno peppers, lime, herbs. Cotija cheese and sour cream for those who can.

One of her favorite dishes is wheat-free pasta as the noodles are made from raw veggies. Grab a peeler and get to it with zucchini, carrots and other favorite raw veggies. A squeeze of lime and herbs, and hand toss.

Again, she suggests a topping buffet of nut free pesto, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and other foods with texture and bright color.

July 4th can be toasty. Jessica suggests coconut or soy ice cream and fruit sorbet for floats. And again let guests dress their desserts the way they want. Like coconut ice cream, lemon soda with candied ginger on top. Choices are endless.

Jessica Goldman Foung's Pepper Pumpkin Quesadillas
1 red bell pepper
1 cup no-salt-added canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp salt-free garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
Corn tortillas
Lime, cut into wedges


Preheat oven to broil and line a small baking pan with foil. Cut the bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Lay it flat side down on the foil and then place in the oven, on the middle rack, to broil for 12 to 15 minutes until charred.

Take out the pepper and carefully flip it into a small bowl, using the foil to tightly cover the bowl, so the peppers can steam. Wait until cool to the touch, about 15 minutes, then remove the skin of the pepper and roughly chop. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add in the pumpkin puree and spices. Blend until creamy.

Then, slather your spread onto a corn tortilla. Sprinkle on some cilantro and then top with a second. Transfer the quesadilla to a hot, dry pan and cook over medium-high heat until the bottom tortilla begins to get crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip to the other side and cook again until crispy, another three to five minutes. Remove from pan and let the quesadilla cool to the touch. Then slice in triangles and serve with lime wedges.
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