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from Allergy Force

  • Writer's pictureAllergy Dragon

3 Easy, Allergy-Friendly Finger Food Recipes for Parties

We're thinking May and June celebrations, from honoring Mom and Dad, to celebrating graduates and the arrival of the lazy days of summer. Our favorite allergy and celiac savvy chef, Allergy Dragon, shares easy-to-make finger foods to tempt your party guests. There's something for everyone, hot and cold. Make one. Make them all. Champagne optional!

"Good food is very often, even most often, simple food."

—Anthony Bourdain


It's the season for celebrations big and small — think Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, weddings and anniversaries — so I'm excited to share some great finger food recipes for parties. These are not only crowd-pleasing delicious, but they're allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan, too. What I love is that the jalapeño poppers, 'sausage' balls, and watermelon bites are 'forgiving' so they’re all easily adapted to your dietary needs and preferences.

You know how I love getting the kids into the kitchen to cook, since cooking's an important life skill for everyone, but practically speaking, many hands make it light work and fun. So rally your crew and get them shopping for ingredients, reading labels, measuring, chopping, mixing, baking, and even plating the finished masterpieces and offering them to guests. Make it a family affair. (Take a listen to my podcast episode with Allergy Force that discusses how to teach cooking skills across various ages and stages.)

Get the recipes...

Easy Jalapeño Poppers

(Makes 24)


3 jalapeno peppers stuffed with a cheese mixture and baked with bread crumbs on top. Jalapeno Popper Finger Food Recipe from Allergy Dragon.
  • 12 jalapeño peppers

  • 7 oz of vegan cream cheese or sour cream (room temperature)

  • 4 oz of shredded vegan cheddar cheese

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped chives or 1 tablespoon of dried chives

  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil (or other oil you can use)

  • ½ cup of gluten free breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley (optional)

Let’s get started!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Wear gloves to cut the jalapeño peppers in half and clean & remove all the seeds.

  3. In (1) small mixing bowl, add the cream cheese (or sour cream,) vegan cheddar cheese, and chives. Then mix until well combined.

  4. In a second bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, and oil until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the oil.

  5. Fill each half of the cut jalapeño with the cheese & chive mixture.

  6. Then, cover the top with the cheese-filled jalapeño pepper halves with the breadcrumb mixture.

  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  8. Place the stuffed, breadcrumb-coated jalapeños on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

  9. Bake for around 18 to 24 minutes, until the breadcrumb topping is just golden or slightly brown, if using gluten-free breadcrumbs

  10. For best flavor, serve warm.



This recipe is 'forgiving' and easily adapted to your dietary needs and preferences. You can use dairy products and wheat if your diet permits.

Allergy-Friendly 'Sausage' Balls

(Makes approx. 30 1oz balls)


8 sausage ball appetizers for parties. Allergy-friendly sausage ball recipe from Allergy Dragon.

  • 1 pound package sausage-like product that works for your dietary needs. (See Tips)

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 8 to 12 oz of shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Let’s get started!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Mix the 'sausage' with the flour and baking powder until well blended.

  3. Next, mix in the cheese.

  4. Using teaspoons or small cookie scoop,  scoop the dough and form into small balls (approx. a 1 oz scoop, or about 2 inches in diameter.)

  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Place the sausage balls onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cooked to  165 degrees using a thermometer and golden brown.

  8. Serve warm or room temperature



This recipe is 'forgiving' and easily adapted to your dietary needs. You can use dairy, wheat, and meat-containing products if your diet permits. This recipe works well with pork and turkey sausage.


I make my own vegan 'sausage' using a 1 pound package of regular Beyond Meat (a ground meat-like substitute,) or you can make ‘sausage’ using any other unseasoned ground meat that works for you. I season the ground ‘meat’ with: 1 tablespoon of onion powder + 2 teaspoons of dried ground sage + 1 tablespoon each of dried basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and smoked paprika + 1 teaspoon of salt + ½ teaspoon ground white pepper.

Watermelon Bites

(Makes 20)


3 squares of watermelon topped with a red onion and cucumber mixture for flavor. Watermelon Bite recipe from Allergy Dragon.

  • ⅓ cup of finely diced cucumber

  • ¼ cup of finely diced red onion

  • 3 teaspoons of shredded fresh basil or mint

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice

  • Touch of salt (approx. ¼ teaspoon)

  • 20 seedless watermelon cubes about the size of a 1” x 1” cracker

Let’s get started!

  1. In a small bowl, add all the chopped/shredded ingredients with the lime juice and salt (excluding the watermelon.)

  2. Mix and allow the mixture to sit for no more than 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

  3. Quickly cut up your watermelon cubes into squares (approx. a 1” x 1” squares with a ½” to 1” thickness depending on preference) while the cucumber and onion mixture rests.

  4. Top each square of watermelon with a spoonful of the cucumber & onion mixture and plate to serve. (See Tips)

  5. Serve cold for best flavor.



You do not want the cucumber and onion mixture to rest longer than 5 to 10 minutes. The cucumbers will release liquid that you will want to drain into the watermelon for flavor.


I usually keep the plated Watermelon Bites in the fridge just before serving, or put them on a plate that has been refrigerated to maximize flavor.

Bon Appetit!



I hold classes 1 to 2 times a month and you can find the schedule of upcoming classes here. The classes are offered in person and via Zoom. If you attend via Zoom, you can ask for an ingredient list before the class and cook along with me. And if you can’t attend the class, you will receive a link to access the recording after the class.

In my most recent class I showed students how to make the three finger food recipes featured in this post. I invite you and your family to come learn with me.


About the Author: Chef Martha Morgan (aka Allergy Dragon) is a specialty diet and allergy chef who shares tips, tricks and best recipes from almost 30 years of professional cooking experience on social media and at the Allergy Dragon's Lair.

Chef Martha provides support in the kitchen to everyone with food allergies, food intolerances, and specialty diets. Her expertise includes providing a full range of cooking guidance in the kitchen from technique, to finding safe products, to handling those new products, to creating (or re-creating as the case may be) recipes.

Connect with Allergy Dragon on Instagram (@allergy_dragon), Facebook (@allergydragon), Twitter (@AllergyDragon), and LinkedIn and follow Allergy Dragon on YouTube.

Images: Courtesy of Allergy Dragon and Gourav Kashyap & Any Lane on Pexels


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