Thanksgiving: a holiday centered around gratitude, family, and impressively vast spreads of food. It’s hard to argue that this holiday is all about tradition. When so many of the traditionally prepared and consumed dishes of Thanksgiving contain gluten, how are gluten-free eaters and cooks expected to navigate the kitchen and/or table? Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of gluten-free options and easy tweaks that make Thanksgiving favorites safe. If you’re a gluten-free guest at Thanksgiving, don’t forget to let your host know your dietary needs far in advance and pack your Nima and extra capsules in case you need to discreetly test items before dinner.
If you want to guarantee your turkey is gluten-free, pick out a fresh, plain turkey, and season and cook it yourself. Birds without added broth, spices, or other ingredients typically don’t contain gluten. If your turkey comes with a gravy packet, don’t use it! These gravys often contain gluten. Lastly, if you happen to be a guest instead of a host this Thanksgiving, always double check to make sure the turkey you’re going to eat has not been filled with a gluten-containing stuffing!
There are several creative ways to adapt this seasonal favorite. Look for gluten-free labeled stuffing mixes in your local grocery store or try making your own stuffing with safe carbs like gluten-free cornbread or other clearly labeled gluten-free breads. Stuffing is all about the spices and textures, so make sure your seasonings are gluten-free and consider adding flavor-boosters like mushrooms or gluten-free sausage to amp up the yum. Also, be sure to read labels on broths (they often contain sneaky traces of gluten) or make your own for good measure.
Gluten-free gravy is just as easy as traditional gravy made from turkey drippings whisked with wheat flour: instead of flour, just use corn starch. If you’re short on time, have no fear. Store-bought gluten-free gravies, such as the one made by Mccormick, aren’t hard to find on grocery shelves.
Whether you’re a fan of the can of the Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce or you opt for the homemade route, the risk of consuming gluten in cranberry sauce is slim. If you’re dining at someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, be wary of cross-contamination–even the sharing of stir spoons for certain dishes might introduce gluten into otherwise gluten-free dishes. Don’t hesitate to use your Nima if in doubt!
Traditional mashed potato recipes are relatively simple: potatoes, butter, and perhaps a splash of milk or heavy cream, if you’re feeling decadent. Like cranberry sauce, there shouldn’t be any reason why gluten hides in this dish unless cross-contamination occurs on the stove or cutting boards used to prep the potatoes. If you’re looking to branch out and prepare potatoes a different way, check out this comprehensive guide to make sure your spuds, no matter how you make them, remain gluten-free.
It’s not a true Thanksgiving dinner without dinner rolls to sponge up extra gravy on your plate. Instead of wheat varieties, check out the reliably gluten-free bread brand, Udi’s–they make delicious classic French dinner rolls perfect for sharing with a packed table of guests. Or, if you have extra time on your hands, consider making gluten-free pull-apart dinner rolls from scratch.
Green Bean Casserole
What makes the classic green bean casserole non-gluten-free is its traditional canned soup base which, more often than not, contains high quantities of glutinous thickening agents. Instead, opt for a homemade gluten-free rendition, using corn starch used to thicken the casserole base instead of soup. Frying your own onion strings will ensure the delicious crispy topping is safe, too.
Whether you’re a fan of pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie, all three varieties can easily be made gluten-free with safe pie crusts. Gluten-free mixes are available at most grocery stores or can be purchased online. If you’re not a fan of pies, consider making another seasonally appropriate dessert, like this brown butter-polenta cake with maple caramel or perhaps purchasing treats at your favorite gluten-free bakery to save yourself time and worry about whether your sweets will be safe.
With any meal that’s prepared in large quantities and served family style, be extra cautious about cross-contamination on Thanksgiving. Even sharing cutting boards and serving utensils can potentially ruin a holiday for gluten-free eaters. If possible, serve yourself first in the kitchen and ask if gluten-free items can be kept separate from gluten-containing dishes on the table.
Here at Nima, we are so grateful for our community and readers like you. We hope you have a wonderfully delicious and food safe holiday!