Whether you’re planning a special menu for yourself or a family member, preparing a gluten free Thanksgiving dinner takes a little extra thought.
Holidays can be tough for people with food allergies. Many of our traditional favorites are loaded with wheat, corn, dairy, and other potential triggers. Dr. Kristen Bobik, founder of Balance Chiropractic and Wellness Practitioners, has the following tips to make sure your Thanksgiving meal is delicious and most importantly… safe.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR GLUTEN FREE THANKSGIVING
While some menu items should technically be ok, a little detective work will make sure no one is surprised in a not so good way. Taking these precautions also help make your Thanksgiving more conscious and that’s always a good thing. Especially for a holiday that’s all about gratitude.
Here are a few overall tips and things to look out for:
- THE TURKEY – Turkeys don’t have any bread or pasta in them, but not all turkeys are created equally. Some turkeys are injected with flavorings/preservatives containing gluten so make sure to read the label or contact the company in advance.
- THE GRAVY – Make the gravy from turkey drippings using corn starch or gluten-free flour as the thickener.
- THE STUFFING – The core ingredient in stuffing is dried bread, so this will need some gluten free modifications. Purchase a gluten-free mix from a local gluten free bakery such as Apple Gluten Free Kitchen.
- THE CRANBERRY SAUCE – Instead of using a sugar-filled, preservative-full fruit sauce that comes from a can, make homemade raw cranberry sauce to ensure no contaminants!
- THE SIDES – The more fresh, colorful veggies the better! A green bean casserole contains soup (not gluten-free) and onion toppings. To make gluten-free, substitute crumbled “funions” for the onion topping, and purchase a gluten-free soup from a local food store. In the Chicagoland area, Fruitful Yield stores will have a complete green bean casserole mix! If serving bread/rolls, gluten-free options are available at practically any store.
- THE PUMPKIN PIE – Most options for pre-made pie crust are not gluten-free. But you can make your own using crumbled gluten-free graham crackers or gingerbread cookies. Your health food store may carry a pre-made gluten-free crust.
Look out for ingredients that could have been processed in a plant containing wheat. And remember to read all labels carefully!
GLUTEN FREE THANKSGIVING RECIPES
Making your dishes from scratch can eliminate worry and confusion. Here are some tasty gluten free recipes for your holiday feast:
Healthy Ginger Snaps and Vegan Pumpkin Dip – the perfect entertaining appetizer for your guests while you finish preparing dinner. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and naturally sweetened.
Pumpkin Hummus – savory, creamy, and delicious… this healthy dip is packed with protein.
Patty Pan Squash – easy to cook, the savory rosemary and garlic will add a lot of depth to your Thanksgiving meal.
Wheat Free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing – bring the carb-satisfying power of cauliflower to your holiday meal with this rich alternative to bread stuffing.
Green Bean Casserole – give your guests that homemade, comfort-food flavor they crave with this organic healthier option.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie – smooth, rich, and extremely tasty, this is the perfect allergy friendly twist on an old standby.
Southern Gluten Free Pecan Pie – this pecan pie filling is naturally gluten free and the recipe includes a dairy free option as well.
Gluten Free, Vegan Apple Pie – decadent, vegan, and made with whole food ingredients.
Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies – they’ll never guess there’s no gluten or dairy in these brownies. And the touch of peppermint makes them wonderfully festive for the winter holiday season.
And here are a few extremely simple gluten free Thanksgiving basics:
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. raw honey
Instructions: Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place one half face down in a small glass baking dish with 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for about 6 minutes, to slightly soften the squash. Remove and cool. Remove outer skin of squash, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add coconut oil to a pan, heat on medium. Add squash, cinnamon, honey. Cook until mostly soft and serve.
Thanksgiving Green Beans
Steam 1 lb. fresh green beans for about 8 minutes (about half-done). Meanwhile, prepare ingredients for your skillet:
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts (finely chopped)
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tbsp. chopped rosemary
Add those ingredients to the skillet, on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add green beans, coat, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Gluten Free Kale and Cranberries
- 2 large bunches of kale
- 1/4 c. pine nuts
- 1/4 c. dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions: Steam kale until bright green. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts until golden brown. Allow both to cool, then mix together in a large serving bowl. Add cranberries and olive oil, serve.
- 1 can organic pumpkin puree (or 1 3/4 c. fresh home made pumpkin puree)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. raw honey
- 1/2 c. coconut milk
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 c. pecans
- 1/2 c. hazelnuts
- 4 tbsp. coconut oil
- pinch of sea salt
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Process nuts in food processor until flour like consistency. In a bowl, mix nuts, salt, and coconut oil – then spread the crust mixture into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl. Fill evenly into the baked crust and bake additional 45 minutes.