Mention Thanksgiving and immediately an image of family gathering around a table loaded with food comes to mind. But what to do if some of your expected guests this year require gluten-free dishes? Here are some tips to make your Thanksgiving gluten-free yet enjoyable for everyone.
How to Create A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal
First, let’s celebrate: many Thanksgiving staples are already gluten-free. Think about it: mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, green beans, fresh salad full of vegetables, and the centerpiece of roasted turkey – that’s already practically the whole meal. The tricky part comes in the stuffing, gravy, sauces, soups, and dessert items – many of which require some sort of flour or starch for thickening or texture.
We interviewed gluten-free expert author and registered dietitian Shelley Case and here are five practical tips:
- No wheat extras in your meat: Some turkeys are injected with flavorings that contain hydrolyzed wheat protein or modified wheat starch, which can be a serious problem for celiac disease sufferers. Be careful and check the label to be sure you are buying a plain turkey with no unwanted extras. The same goes for ham – flavored honey ham, for example, may have wheat starch in the glaze.
- Spices, bouillon cubes, or prepared broth: Check ingredient lists to ensure that there are no wheat ingredients.
- Gluten-free stuffing: Traditional stuffing uses bread or bread crumbs. To make a gluten-free stuffing, simply toast gluten-free bread in the oven. Another alternative is using brown rice or wild rice.
- Gravy: Corn starch is the easiest gluten-free way to thicken gravy.
- Fruits are naturally gluten-free. Serve a chocolate fondue with cut-up fresh fruit. But be aware when choosing the chocolate for your fondue; make sure it contains no barley malt as an ingredient.
- For pie crust, go with crushed gluten-free graham crackers, or go crustless and pour the filling directly into a ramekin dish.
- Gluten-free flour works in many bakery products. But if you only bake gluten-free occasionally, it’s easier to go with commercial gluten-free cake mixes, such as those from Kinnikinnick, Bob’s Red Mills, or King Arthur, so you don’t have a bunch of leftover flour. Alternately, Bob’s Red Mills has gluten-free oats that you can use to make fruit crisp.
The Bottom Line
By using practical tips from the list above, you can create a gluten-free Thanksgiving that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of whether they have a gluten allergy. If you still decide to serve gluten-containing dishes, be sure to have separate sets of serving utensils to avoid contaminating the gluten-free items.
Sofia believes in bringing back fun and pleasure into everyday eating. She loves cooking, and is constantly experimenting with ingredients, creating recipes and trying them out on family and friends. Her latest interest lies in finding realistic and practical ways of environmentally-friendly food/eating habits.