Allergy-Friendly Mardi Gras Jazz Brunch

Get into the mood for Mardi Gras with some cool jazz and colorful decorations. Hand your guests some plastic beads when they enter the door, and get ready to eat some great food.

The recipes in this menu are free of many major allergens, but may require adaptation for your diet.

New Orleans-Style Chicory Cafe au "Lait"

Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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The traditional coffee of New Orleans contains chicory, a holdover from a time when coffee was hard to get and people roasted the root of the chicory plant as a coffee substitute. Chicory is bitter on its own, but when mixed with milk in ​Cafe au Lait, the bitterness mellows into an almost nutty flavor.

To make New Orleans-style coffee, buy chicory coffee (Cafe du Monde Original French Market is the most popular brand) and brew as you would your regular coffee. Heat coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, or another dairy substitute until it's hot but not boiling. Mix coffee and your preferred milk in equal parts in your favorite mug, and add sugar to taste.

Now go find a beignet.


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The New Orleans answer to doughnuts, beignets are usually square fritters coated in powdered sugar. They pair perfectly with a cup of chickory coffee.


Grits cooking in pot
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It doesn't get much more Southern than cheese grits. This version uses nutritional yeast for flavor instead of cheese. Punch up the spice level with some Tabasco sauce.


Alcohol-Free Mimosas

Multi-ethnic women toasting with mimosas
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Mimosas are a classic brunch drink made of champagne and orange juice. A strawberry in the bottom of the champagne flute gives the drink a gentle shading of pink to orange, like the flowers of the mimosa tree.

For an alcohol-free version, simply mix one part orange juice with one part soda water. Place a hulled strawberry in the bottom of a glass, and pour the drink over it. It's also free of all major allergens.

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Fruit Salad
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Ambrosia salad is one of those classic Southern dishes that every good Southern cook makes in some personal version. The salad almost always contains citrus fruit, and sometimes coconut. 

Bananas Foster

What's Cooking?
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Go ahead, add another dessert to the menu. It's Mardi Gras, after all!

Seafood-Free Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
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If your brunch spills over into the lunch end of the morning, or keeps going until dinner, try this seafood-free gumbo recipe.

Mardi Gras King Cake

King Cake
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The Mardi Gras traditional King Cake is a brioche-style sweet bread dough shaped into a ring and sprinkled with green, purple, and yellow decorator's sugar. Hidden in the cake is a plastic baby, a bean, or a figurine of a king. Tradition demands that the lucky guest who get the slice of cake with the baby in it has to host next year's Mardi Gras party.