Giving Thanks Without Gluten
By Melissa Diane Smith
There's no need to feel deprived with these delicious gluten-free holiday foods—great even if you aren't on a gluten-free diet

Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on all the foods you’ve given up by going gluten free—especially during the holidays. But the good news is that the foods that most epitomize Thanksgiving are either naturally gluten free or can easily be made gluten free. Here’s the delicious rundown.

Roast turkey and gravy. The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals, roast turkey is naturally gluten free, of course. The gravy, typically thickened with white flour, can be easily made gluten free by making a roux with butter and sorghum flour or sweet rice flour—or by whisking 3 teaspoons of arrowroot powder into ⅓ cup of water—and slowly whisking the mixture into boiling broth and drippings. To make a giblet gravy, simmer the giblets and the neck (parts that are usually in a little bag inside your turkey) in some water while the turkey is roasting. Save the homemade stock to make the gravy, bring it to a boil, add chopped meat from the giblets and neck meat, and turn to a simmer. Dissolve arrowroot powder in cold chicken broth, and slowly pour in some of the dissolved arrowroot, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.

  • Cranberries. Festively ruby-red in color, rich in antioxidants, and tangy in taste, the cranberry is an indispensable part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Commercial cranberry sauce is almost always gluten free, and dried cranberries, also gluten free, can be used to add holiday sparkle to everything from salads to wild rice dishes.
  • Mashed potatoes, yams, and other root vegetables. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the autumn harvest, and the traditional vegetables of fall are root vegetables that grow in the ground, including potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and yams. Baked sweet potatoes or yams are easy, popular, gluten-free Thanksgiving foods, and so are mashed potatoes. For a more nutritious twist on mashed potatoes, try making mashed root vegetables with carrots, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, etc. to give the mashed mixture a pale orange to yellow color (see recipe, p. 48).
  • Stuffing or dressing. Stuffing or dressing can be made with herbs, celery, onions, and gluten-free bread of course, but it also can be made with brown rice by itself or in combination with wild rice, or with no grain at all, such as with chestnuts and vegetables; mushrooms, vegetables and nuts; or nuts, seeds, apples, and celery. Skipping the grain creates much lower-carb choices.
  • Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts. At least one of these non-starchy vegetables is found on most Thanksgiving tables. For easy, yet special, gluten-free takes, try green beans almondine, roasted asparagus spears, or roasted broccoli florets with garlic, and grilled Brussels sprouts marinated in olive oil and herbs.
  • Wild rice. Naturally gluten-free wild rice is a true North American food, having been prized by Native Americans for many centuries. It has a distinctive earthy flavor that’s a natural for creating dishes—especially rice pilaf—that taste more gourmet than those made out of brown or white rice.
  • Pumpkin. Perhaps nothing symbolizes autumn quite like pumpkins. Right after we carve Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns, our thoughts turn to the delicious holiday dishes we can enjoy that are made with pumpkin. For Thanksgiving, you can make traditional pumpkin pie filling and pour it into a gluten-free pie crust, or a far simpler choice is to grease a pie plate well and pour in the filling with no crust at all. If you want a bit of texture in the pie filling, try adding chopped pecans into the batter before baking. To enjoy the autumn-like goodness of pumpkin in a non-sweet way, try making pumpkin soup. It’s a great starter for a Thanksgiving feast.

The good news is that the foods that most epitomize Thanksgiving are either naturally gluten free or can easily be made gluten free.

Melissa Diane Smith, a holistic nutritionist who specializes in personalizing the gluten-free diet, offers long-distance telephone counseling and coaching services to clients internationally. She is the author of Going Against the Grain and Gluten Free Throughout the Year: A Two-Year, Month-to-Month Guide for Healthy Eating. To learn about her online “Going Against the Grain Group” or her free newsletter, visit againstthegrainnutrition.com. For information about her books, long-distance consultations, nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit melissadianesmith.com.

Organic Mashed Root VegetablesOrganic Mashed Root Vegetables*
Serves 6

A colorful and nutritious twist on traditional mashed potatoes.

1½ lbs. organic rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces

2 large organic carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ small organic yellow onion, chopped

1 bay leaf (optional)

1½ lbs. organic Russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

5 Tbs. organic unsalted butter

4 Tbs. organic gluten-free chicken broth

  1. Cook rutabagas, carrots, onion, and bay leaf in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes, and continue cooking 15 minutes more, until vegetables are very tender. Drain, and discard bay leaf.
  2. Return vegetables to pot. Stir over medium heat to allow excess water to evaporate, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and chicken broth. Mash vegetables until the orange color from carrots is well blended and the vegetables are almost smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.

*Recipe reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2012.

PER SERVING: 222 cal; 4g pro; 10g total fat (6g sat fat); 31g carb; 26mg chol; 279mg sod; 5g fiber; 8g sugar

Copyright ©2012 Melissa Diane Smith. This article and recipe may not be reprinted on other sites without written approval and permission from the author. For more information, please email reprints@againstthegrainnutrition.com.

 

Melissa Diane Smith, a holistic nutritionist who specializes in personalizing the gluten-free diet, offers long-distance telephone counseling and coaching services to clients internationally. She is the author of Going Against the Grain and Gluten Free Throughout the Year: A Two-Year, Month-to-Month Guide for Healthy Eating. To learn about her online “Going Against the Grain Group” or her free newsletter, visit againstthegrainnutrition.com. For information about her books, long-distance consultations, nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit melissadianesmith.com.




Related Articles: