Cooking an entirely gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner isn't as challenging as it may seem! With a little planning and easy swaps, you can keep all of your guests with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance happy, full and safe. From the turkey to the pie, here's what you'll need to do to turn your traditional holiday foods into a delicious gluten-free version so everyone can gobble til they wobble!
GLUTEN-FREE THANKSGIVING BASICS
It's no surprise that holidays revolve around food. I have always wanted my daughter to have a worry-free holiday meal, so I love hosting our family for Thanksgiving dinner to ensure a completely gluten-free meal. I know this is not possible in all situations, so whether you are newly diagnosed hosting your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, or you are not personally gluten-free but hosting a guest who has dietary restrictions, I hope these tips help guide you when planning your Thanksgiving feast.
These days, there are tons of food allergies and dietary restrictions that your guests may have.
- Talk to your friends & family with restrictions. Ask about their favorite holiday recipes so that you can make them in a gluten-free version. Talk about brands and ingredients that are safe for someone on a gluten-free diet. Even a small amount of gluten can make someone sick.
- Avoid cross contamination. This is huge when preparing any food for someone with Celiac Disease or food allergies. Make sure to have clean cooking pans and serving utensils for each separate dish.
Please remember...your gluten-free guest isn’t trying to be picky- they are trying to stay healthy!
When planning your menu, look for recipes that are naturally gluten-free and modify other recipes to easily make them gluten free. Here are some traditional Thanksgiving basics to start with:
The Thanksgiving Turkey is the star of the show! And thankfully most often it's naturally gluten-free, however take these precautions while shopping for your perfect turkey:
- Look for a plain turkey. Those that aren't pre-stuffed with bread stuffing, and have no added spices or flavorings.
- Don't use the included gravy packet. Unless it specifically states "gluten-free", most all gravy packets contain wheat flour.
You can't have a Thanksgiving feast with out stuffing...but it's really just a baking dish full of gluten! Here's what you can do to ensure that this traditional side dish is just as tasty as the original:
- Use a premade gluten-free stuffing mix. Easily swap that box of Stovetop Stuffing with Aleia's Gluten-Free Stuffing Mix.
- Swap a store-bought gluten-free loaf of bread in your favorite family recipe.
- Ocean Spray Brand Cranberry Sauce. The classic Ocean Spray in a can- yup it's gluten-free!
- Make your own cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries! It's so easy to make and couldn't be more delicious.
Potaoes in any shape or form are most likely a staple in your diet if you are gluten-free! Most mashed potato recipes only call for fresh potatoes, butter and milk.
Many other potato dishes such as baked scalloped potatoes often do contain gluten, so be sure to omit the wheat flour and swap with a gluten-free thickening agent such as cornstarch or a gluten-free flour substitute.
Sweet Potatoes are a delicous and nutritious root vegetable that are naturally gluten-free, but beware of the traditional streusel topping that usually has flour in the recipe.
- Use a gluten-free all purpose flour substitute like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1, King Arthur Measure for Measure or Cup 4 Cup to make your crumble topping. All of these are sold at most major retailers or on Amazon.
- Marshmallows. Marshmallows are a popular & kid-approved gluten-free topping for your sweet potato casserole.
Green Bean Casserole
A green bean casserole is a staple on most Thanksgiving dinner tables, but those crispy onions are a no-go for someone on a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, many retailers now carry a gluten-free option so you can make this favorite side dish safe for everyone. Here are a few options:
- Amazon. Natural Earth Products Organic French Fried Crispy Onions
- Aldi. If you have an Aldi nearby, look for Live G Free Gluten-Free French Fried Onions.
- Sprouts Organic & Gluten Free French Fried Onions
Your green bean casserole recipe most likely also uses cream of mushroom soup that contains wheat flour. Try Pacific Brand Cream of Mushroom Soup for a gluten-free alternative to Campbell's.
- Substitute cornstarch for the flour. With this easy substitution, you can make homemade Thanksgiving gravy just like Grandma did with the pan juices. Cornstarch works equally as well for a thickener. Need a corn-free option instead? Tapioca flour or arrowroot starch are great gluten-free & grain-free thickeners too!
- Use a gluten-free gravy mix. If you're looking for a more convenient option, McCormick offers a gluten-free turkey gravy packet available in most major retailers or amazon.
Gluten-free products have gotten much better over the years and the bread is definitely one of them. We love filling our bread basket with these Schar Ciabatta Dinner Rolls or Baguettes. Be sure to bake the rolls on parchment paper or foil to avoid any cross-contamination if using a pan that has also been used for gluten-containing food.
If you're up for the challenge, try one of these amazing homemade gluten-free dinner roll recipes:
- Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls from Mama Knows Gluten Free
- Easy Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls from Healthy GF Family
Or try this simple cornbread recipe for something unique at your dinner table this year.
No matter how full you are, there's always room for dessert! Especially when you smell that freshly baked pumpkin pie!
- It's all about the crust! Avoid traditional pies with crusts made from wheat flour.
- Frozen & Pre-Made Gluten-Free Pie Crusts & Mixes.There are many delicious premade pie crusts sold at stores nowadays. Here are a few of our favorites:
- For homemade recipes: Go crustless, or make a homemade crust with a simple swap of using gluten-free graham cracker crumbs.
- Gluten-Free Bakeries. Check if you have a local gluten-free bakery in the area. Supporting local businesses during the holidays is always a good idea, plus you can be assured the desserts will not only be tasty but will save you a lot of time too. Use the Find Me Gluten Free App if you are unsure.
Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin is gluten-free, so as long as you have your gluten-free pie crust and safe spices, go ahead and use the original Libby's pumpkin pie recipe for the filling.