Allergy-Friendly Substitutions To Consider When Making Kugel

Who doesn't love a good kugel? Kugel is a staple for holidays and family gatherings, and it's as fun to say as it is to eat. But, while the baked casserole is best shared with others, allergen and dietary restrictions can make kugel off-limits for some. To avoid robbing friends and family members of their share of the kugel pleasure, you can easily make a few modifications to your recipe. 

The New York Times explains that kugels have long been a part of Jewish culture, gracing American dinner tables since 1871 when Esther Levy published the "Jewish Cookery Book." MyRecipes shares that the casserole is typically made with a base of potatoes or egg noodles mixed with some sort of dairy (cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese). Further, add-ins like vegetables or dried fruits, seasonings and spices, and eggs help hold the dish together.

Whether made sweet or savory, kugel is creamy, comforting, and bursting with flavor, which is why the dish is beloved by many, even those with dietary restrictions. Although the thought of making a kugel recipe allergy-friendly can be daunting, this dish is so fungible no one will blink at any substitution. You might be so pleased with the outcome of your allergen-free kugel that it'll become your new, go-to recipe!

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free alternatives

The starchy base of a kugel tends to be the biggest issue for those with a gluten allergy. While you could use potatoes, which are naturally gluten-free, noodles are a better option for sweet kugels. That said, traditional egg noodles can simply be swapped out for ribbon-style rice noodles, notes Gluten Free & More.

As for lactose-free and dairy-free alternatives, substitutions don't have to be overly complicated. Given the wide range of plant-based and vegan options available at the supermarket, any type of dairy-inspired (nut, soy, oat, coconut, or rice-based) product like sour cream, butter, or milk can easily be found. But if you really want to go the extra mile, you can make your own dairy-free substitute at home. In place of traditional cream cheese, Real Simple recommends soaking cashews and then blending them with some water for a luscious stand-in.

When it comes to eggs, replacements can get particularly creative. Aside from commercial egg replacers, other egg-like binders can include anything from applesauce to silken tofu, or a slurry made with water and flax seeds, chia seeds, or chickpea flour. The Vegan Atlas even suggests using rolled oats or quinoa flakes in place of eggs when making potato kugels — as you can tell, there's no shortage of ways to make kugel more inclusive.