Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips


Scones, pie, pumpkin bread, acorn squash, quinoa salad with pears...

The Big T. 


Thanksgiving. Nothing sends shivers of trepidation up a gluten-free dairy-free girl's spine like the mental image of Grandma's white bread dressing, or shimmying slabs of Aunt Ida's pumpkin pie. It's a butter and wheat flour gorge fest with danger at every turn- the gut-twisting threat of thirty-six hours chugging Pepto Bismol poised to strike on every holiday decorated plate. Jovial forkfuls of tradition and conviviality aside.

It can be a nightmare, Darling.


If you're lucky, your family is tuned in to the ins and outs of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and they are well aware of the angst and anxiety food centric holidays can trigger for those of us who need to be vigilant about each and every spoonful of food that enters our quirky gluten-free universe. 

If you are blessed, they are thoughtful and well schooled in where gluten might lurk (turkey broth, marinades, gravy, seasoning packets, spice blends, traditional stuffing, cornbread mixes, crackers, pie crusts, soy sauce). And they don't ask questions like, You can eat "whole" wheat crackers, right? with the emphasis on the word whole as if somehow, the word itself makes the wheat magically safe for gluten sensitive folks to consume (it doesn't). 

And they don't indulge in meta messages and all that spooky passive-aggressive weirdness. They won't sigh when you politely decline a slice of Aunt Ethel's pecan pie and say, Why don't you just eat the filling and not the crust

They won't hold up a pitcher of turkey gravy and whisper, A little bit won't kill you.

Or my own personal favorite, Oh, go ahead... I have food allergies and I cheat.


Right.

If these persuasions are foreign to you, then you, Dear Reader, have much to be thankful for this holiday season. You are blessed with a clan that gets you, loves you without judging you, and honestly cares about every morsel that enters your fragile autoimmune universe.

So this post is for them...


The attentive Moms and Dads, compassionate Aunts and Uncles, smart-as-a-whip Grandmas and Bubbes, sisters, brothers and best buds who believe that if food is love, Thanksgiving should be fun and worry-free and delicious.


For everyone.  


No big whup.

Because after all- we know true love has great taste.






Key Tips for a Safe and Delicious

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free 

Holiday Season



If you're new to gluten-free living here's a Gluten-Free Diet Cheat Sheet to print out and keep handy. Because gluten is devious. Label reading is a must.

Marinades, broth, soy sauce, and bouillon may use wheat or barley in flavors and seasonings. Although I urge you to check your turkey for gluten-free status, most I've seen are safe- if you avoid the seasoning or gravy packet.

Bottom line?

Know your bird. Know your source. And know your ingredients, Dollface.

TIPS: For thickening gravy, whisk in a tablespoon or two of sweet rice flour. Or make an arrowroot starch slurry. {Potato flour is another choice- but be careful you don't add too much and end up with gelatinous, thick gravy you have to slice to serve}

For a non-dairy sub in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato recipes try using coconut milk- it's creamy and delicious (full fat tastes best). If you can't do coconut milk, soy milk or almond milk works beautifully. {Rice milk is rather thin. Hemp milk is an acquired taste and may be too grassy for the uninitiated.}

Another tasty non-dairy vegan choice is orange juice or apple cider. Cook carrots or cubes of winter squash with a splash of orange juice or apple cider for a lovely vegan flavor boost. Drizzle a touch of pure maple syrup.

For creamy mashed potatoes that are dairy-free I use a combo of light and fruity extra virgin olive oil and my favorite gluten-free vegan buttery spread. For creaminess, whip in some warm non-dairy milk- coconut, soy, and nut milks all work. A light gluten-free broth works, too. The trick is don't beat the potatoes to death until they're gluey (what did a potato ever do to you? Be kind).

For a dairy-free vegan butter sub in baking, my new favorite fat is organic coconut oil. I love the texture and subtle coconut flavor. 

Hate coconut oil? Try organic expeller pressed canola oil or grape seed oil (both have very neutral flavor). Any of these work well in muffins, quick breads, bread, cookie bars and cakes. When one half to one cup butter is called for in a recipe, these oils will usually work- though I typically start with a little less than the amount of butter called for and see how the batter looks.

For a vegan butter substitute in pastry and gluten-free pie crust recipes I'd choose Earth Balance sticks, Spectrum Organic Shortening or organic coconut oil.

For stuffing, simply follow your favorite recipe and substitute toasted cubes of gluten-free cornbread, corn muffins, or a loaf of store-bought gluten-free white bread. Or try my personal favorite stuffing recipe- Cornbread Stuffing with Curried Apples and Cranberries.

For a crunchy bread crumb topping, try my Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (process toasted gluten-free waffles into perfect golden crumbs- they make a delicious topping that can be quite the conversation starter- waffles? Really?). And no, a (true) waffle is not sweet.

For a gluten-free mac and cheese try my Kicked Up Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe or my dairy-free Baked Mac and Cheese or my totally from scratch Cheesy Uncheese Mac and Cheese (fab for vegan guests).

For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use Pamela's or Midel's Gluten-Free Gingersnaps or Pamela's cookies (Lemon or Ginger or Chocolate, depending upon the filling) processed into crumbs. I use Joy of Cooking's classic cookie/cracker crumb recipe and simply substitute with gluten-free cookies. For a butter replacement, try organic coconut oil, a good tasting vegan spread like Earth Balance.


Read on for more tips and my Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Thanksgiving worthy recipes ...