If you’re on a restricted diet, pot lucks are hard. You can’t tell what the ingredients are. You don’t want to come across as a special snowflake by finding out who brought what and asking loads of questions about ingredients and food prep. But you also don’t want to eat things that are going to cause you problems.

For vegetarians and vegans, pot lucks get easier during Lent. You can be reasonably certain that the rice-and-onion casserole on the table doesn’t have bacon in it, that the pasta sauce doesn’t include cream.

But if you are on a carb-restricted diet, Lenten pot lucks feel impossible. Lots of pasta. Lots of rice. Lots of bread. It all looks fabulous, and you can’t have any of it

The only thing you can do is bring something that works for your diet. That way, you know there will be at least one thing you can eat.

Cole slaw with shrimp works for my anti-inflammatory diet. It’s grain-free and dairy-free. It includes sugar, but not a lot, and you can replace some or all of the sugar with stevia. (Please don’t use aspartame/Nutrasweet at a pot luck, though, since that is toxic for some people, and they won’t think to ask about it.) You can also reduce the salt if you need to – the amount in the recipe is the amount I like, but I was raised in the South, where salt is used generously.

If you can’t have shellfish, just leave out the shrimp. If it’s a day when olive oil isn’t allowed, use a different oil. And if you want to fancy it up a bit, throw in a couple of handfuls of dried tart cherries.

Cole Slaw with Shrimp

Dressing Ingredients

1 small onion
3/4 cup white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seeds
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients

1 small head green cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
1 large crisp apple, cored and cut into match-stick shreds
1 1/2 pounds salad shrimp, thawed and drained


Puree the onion in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the dressing is emulsified.

Mix the salad ingredients, then toss with the dressing.

Chill until you’re ready to serve.

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Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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