Gluten Free Thanksgiving
Planning a gluten free thanksgiving doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s actually fairly easy to create a feast that is fully gluten free. I have been sans gluten for over 10 years now, and the shifts and changes I have made to have a GF Thanksgiving, have not had to be monumental changes.
The biggest changes of course are removing anything with wheat based flour, or bread based. I have replaced these items with gluten free versions of the same foods really easily.
The tastes and flavors are still amazing, and very frankly, I don’t feel like I am missing out on a thing. For me the way I feel without gluten is always going to be miles better than how that gluten free item I switched out tastes. So it is worth it for me.
I think the biggest challenge is just getting a rhythm down, and some good resources and recipes under your belt.
Here is my list of favorite recipes and tips for a successful Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Enjoy!
Where does gluten show up?
The primary places where gluten shows up in Thanksgiving recipes is: pie crust, stuffing, canned soup, the crunchy onion topping, breads, gravy (flour or roux), soy sauce (sometimes used in side dishes), and caramel coloring (sometimes in packaged foods, condiments or possibly in gravy browning sauce).
The best way around this is to eliminate the most obvious items. Replace with a gluten free option, and be sure and read labels. Sometimes gluten can be hidden in the funniest of places. Sometimes packages will state when something is gluten free, and sometimes not. A quick phone call to the company, or a web search may help you find the clarity you need.
Now that you know where gluten usually shows up, let’s look at each individual category and I will give you solutions and options.
Turkey is naturally gluten free. Be sure to purchase pasture raised, organic or locally raised whenever you can. This will ensure the flavor will be amazing, as well as ensure your animals are humanely raised. It will also prevent you from being exposed to added chemicals, and pesticides all of which can be endocrine disruptors (meaning they disrupt hormones).
My favorite preparation for my turkey is to brine it with Alton Brown’s Brine recipe, I have made just a couple adjustments, I never seem to find candied ginger (or maybe I forget to look), and I use olive oil instead of canola oil. Lastly, his timing for the turkey is 2-2 1/2 hours, and I have found this to be too short, for me it’s a solid 3 hours, and maybe 3 1/2 dependent on your oven.
Not sure what size turkey to get? Plan on a 1/2lb per person.
Mashed potatoes are naturally gluten free. They are a staple at our house, you simply can not have Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes. There is really nothing like the loft you get with a russet potato. However, this white potato is not the best for our blood sugar. I like to switch this up, and use a white sweet potato instead.
For Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes- I substitute oat, almond, flax milk or coconut milk instead of cows milk, and use homemade ghee (butter fat with the milk solids separated out). If you can’t tolerate ghee, I have also subbed olive oil, or chicken broth instead of the butter, and this works well also.
How much to make? My mom always says 1 potato per person… However, I personally like lots of left overs, so I always make more.
Stuffing or dressing is not typically gluten free due to the bread of course. Which is which? Stuffing is what goes in the turkey, and dressing is typically the dish made on the side, without being stuffed in the turkey.
There are some pretty good gluten free bread options on the market now. A couple of my favorites are Canyon Bakehouse, and Kim and Jakes, I love their Peasant Loaf, and also their Italian Cookies are amaze-balls.
1 Loaf gluten free bread – Cut into small cubes, and set out to dry for a few days, or toast in a low temp oven. I find GF bread can burn quickly in the oven, so keep the temp low, like 275 degrees., and keep an eye on it.
6-8 T Butter or ghee
3-4 Stalks celery chopped small
1 Medium onion diced small
20-ish Fresh Sage leaves chopped
2 cups of Chicken Stock (give or take) add more if needed- my favorite is Imagine Foods, because it doesn’t have sugar or gluten (yes, most stock has sugar or sweetener of some sort)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Saute’ celery, onion and sage in 2T butter or ghee until the onions are translucent, and remove from heat. Place bread cubes in a buttered glass baking dish (9 x 13 ish). Mix in onions, celery and sage. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Add 2 cups of chicken stock, and stir everything together. Dot the remaining butter or ghee on the top of the mixed stuffing. Bake covered for 15mn, and uncovered for 15mn at 350 degrees.
There are also a couple other stuffing versions you could look into that can be Gluten Free. Corn Bread Stuffing (double check it is GF, not all is), as well as a Wild Rice Stuffing.
Green Bean Casserole
The crispy French Fried Onion topping and the mushroom soup in this dish, are not typically gluten free. Because of this for a while the GF Green Bean Casserole had eluded me. I have been looking for years for a GF crispy onions that you can purchase. There are recipes online for making your own crispy onions, I have yet to find one that works. So far they have been a bit of an epic fail, so much so, it’s a running joke in my family “Who’s making the onions this year”… no one! haha!!
But I have an update! I found Gluten Free French Fried Onions at Aldi and they are yummy, and a great substitution for the originals. They are the Aldi LiveGF brand, and only there around Thanksgiving. Here is a link to them on Instacart, as Aldi does not have them on their site right now.
Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Cinnamon
Cranberries and the sauce variations are naturally gluten free.
Thank you Wholefoods for this recipe! It is sooooo yummy! It has even taken the place of the canned cranberries for me, which I LOVE (that’s big!) It’s the perfect amount of sweet and tart. This recipe does call for a fair amount of sugar, so instead of that I use either stevia, monkfruit, Swerve, an erythritol based sweetener, and it’s equally yummy, without sugar.
Gravy is not typically gluten free, usually white flour is added to thicken the gravy. However, I found a recipe that is better than any recipe I have had with flour in it. I am the kind of girl that puts gravy on just about everything on my plate on thanksgiving, so I am COMPLETELY in love with this recipe from Elana’s Pantry. I did make an adjustment and only use one large onion in this recipe. I’m telling you this recipe is so good, NO ONE notices it’s gluten free, and I think it’s better than any gluten-ized gravy I have ever had.
I love the Imagine Foods Chicken Stock, as there is no sugar in it (yes, did you know most stock has some sort of sweetener in it?), no funky chemicals, and it’s Gluten Free (yes often soup has gluten or flour in it to thicken it).
Is not typically gluten free due to the flour in the pie crust. I typically use Elana’s Pumpkin pie recipe from her book The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, which is a great book to get if you are dipping your toe in the water of GF. I did not find this recipe online, but she has a new Paleo Pumpkin Pie recipe that looks divine, plus, it has coconut milk in it (yum!). I am also grateful she has upgraded some of her ingredients and is now using coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil, and honey instead of agave nectar, which is what I always replaced the agave with in her GF Almond Flour Cookbook above.
There are also some great gluten free pie crusts you can buy at your local coops or Whole Foods stores.
Dairy Free Whipped Cream
Whipped cream is gluten free, however I like a dairy free option. I can’t find my original recipe for this, but i am including a similar one. Basically you take the solid part of the coconut milk from the can, pouring the clear liquid off, whip it with a hand mixer, add a little sweetener, and whip again. This is a yummy dairy substitute. I really love this with a little honey, it’s not “sugar free” then, but the flavor is so lovely. You could also add stevia to this for a sugar-free option. Be sure any purchase the full fat coconut milk in the can for this, and I always shake the can before I buy it to make sure there is a solid chunk within the can.
Use those leftovers!
Turkey Bone Broth
Don’t through away that Turkey Carcass! Once you cut all the meat off, immediately drop it into the freezer, or pop it right into the crock pot, and start a batch of Turkey Bone Broth. It’s the perfect time of year for it. Bone Broth helps reduce inflammation in your body, heal the digestive tract, boost your immunity, and warm your heart and soul! Here is my easy peasy recipe.
*Note, if you have histamine intolerance, you’ll want to avoid bone broths, as they are high histamine.
Turkey Wild Rice Soup
Is a great option for the turkey leftovers, and you can use the bone broth above as for the stock. Here is my recipe, enjoy!!
Photo Credit to: Alison Marras