A G-Free Thanksgiving

by Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD on November 12th, 2012


It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you know what you can and can’t have. Most people hate to impose on their hosts, but it’s easier on you AND your host to ask beforehand than sit through a four-hour meal and watch others eat. Remember, nothing is more important that staying safe!

Turkey: Though it’s always good to check, the good news is that all plain fresh turkey is naturally gluten free. However, self-basting turkeys usually contain gluten. Most gravy packets are a problem, too. As of 2011, ALL of the companies I called did have gluten-free turkeys, except Tofurky, which has gluten. Check out my gluten-free turkey list for 2011, which has manufacturer contact info.

If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving at your house, talk to your host as soon as you can. You’ll need to talk about:

* Broth used for basting * Seasonings * Stuffing in the turkey * Cross contamination

Vegetarian/vegan options:

Okay, so Tofurkey is off the table. Here are great roundups with ideas for main meals. Most of the other sides here are already vegetarian.

Gluten-Free Goddess' Roundup

About.com's roundup

Gravy

Almost all regular canned gravy and gravy packets are not gluten-free. Gluten-free gravy is available online, and Trader Joe’s sells some now. Also, it’s pretty easy to make a simple gravy with gluten-free broth and cornstarch instead of wheat (and if corn is a problem for you, arrowroot can be substituted 1:1 instead).

Herb Gravy From Elana's Pantry

Gravy using Cornstarch from Simply Recipes or see this link for recipes.

Side dishes

There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole, baked yams, cranberry relish, gelatin salads, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, applesauce…all of these things are easy to adapt to food restrictions, and they’re healthy and delicious to boot.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

Sides:

My Cranberry Fresh Fruit Relish

Crockpot Applesauce by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Green Bean Casserole from Gluten Free Mommy

Simply Tasty Asparagus from Celiac Family

Roasted butternut squash soup from Jules Gluten-Free

Stuffing:

This is obviously more of a challenge. You can go the nontraditional route and do a wild rice, buckwheat or quinoa stuffing. You could use a gluten-free cornbread or pre-made bread crumbs.

Cornbread stuffing with roasted acorn squash from the Gluten-Free Goddess

The NY Times Blog had a G-Free Stuffing section with a few recipes

Dessert!

For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route. If you’d like to use your standard recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ crusts. Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the new GF Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.

The Best Pecan Pie (one of my very favorites)

Easy, Crustless Apple Pie from Gluten Free Easily

Ginger Lemon Girl's Pecan Pumpkin Pie bars

Apple Crisp--A lazy way to get that apple pie taste!

Cranberry Cobbler from Ginger Lemon Girl

T Day Recipes: It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry. When I was asked for Thanksgiving favorites, of course I started thinking (and drooling) about all the wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast! Here are a bunch from some of my favorite GF bloggers.

 

As always, wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful and yummy holiday season!

 

————————— Author Information: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Alexandria, VA, USA. Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.  Her passion is teaching people to live and love a gluten-free diet in the Northern Virginia area. For more, seewww.harriswholehealth.com or follow on Twitter @cherylharrisrd

 


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