No matter what holiday you celebrate during this festive season, one thing’s for sure: there’s going to be a lot of food involved. For many people, this is the time of year when culinary indulgence is an important part of celebration. However, for gluten-free eaters, frequently carbohydrate-heavy holiday feasts can pose anxiety and fear: will there be something I can eat? What about cross-contamination? How will I politely decline all these beautifully decorated cookies? Well, have no fear. Keep on reading for a list of gluten-free alternatives to traditional foods commonly eaten during Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.
Hannukah may have just ended this year; however, we’ve still got latkes on our minds! Many traditional latke recipes contain a small amount of flour to help solidify the shredded potato pancakes as they fry in hot oil. Check out a flourless recipe or follow a gluten-free latke recipe, substituting rice flour in place of wheat to make these crispy Hannukah staples safe for you and your loved ones.
A common accoutrement eaten alongside potato latkes, applesauce almost always contains zero gluten, aside from the potential trace amounts from cross-contamination. If you choose to make your own applesauce, double-check that your cooking utensils and pans are properly sanitized, particularly if you’re whipping up other gluten-containing items in your kitchen at the same time.
Deliciously tender and aromatic, a beef brisket is the perfect protein for a Hannukah celebration with family and friends. If you’re the one preparing the brisket, it’s important that any packaged items on your ingredient list, such as store-bought broth or specific spices and herbs, are labeled gluten-free. Check out this traditional recipe for a holiday brisket that’s perfect to celebrate any Jewish holiday, especially the festival of lights.
If you’re opting to make a glazed ham the centerpiece of your Christmas dinner table, make sure that ham you carefully read the ingredients listed on the meat before you purchase it, as some spices and flavorings can contain gluten. In general, avoid using the glaze packets that come with the ham, as they often contain trace levels of gluten and don’t forget to check out this list of gluten-free hams, safe to enjoy during your holiday feast!
Feast of the Seven Fishes
A popular tradition among Italian-American families is to celebrate Christmas Eve with a feast of many fishes. Typical items include baccala (salt cod), baked cod, clams casino, and a variety of deep-fried items, such as calamari, shrimp, or cod. Clams casino usually include breadcrumbs, which can be easily substituted for gluten-free breadcrumbs. Similarly, deep-fried seafood, will usually have wheat flour in the batter, which can simply be replaced with rice flour.
With the rise of gluten-free baking flour mixes, Christmas cookies can be easily made gluten-free, especially decorating favorites like gingerbread cookies. Be careful about cross-contamination during a baking session, especially if you’re making a variety of gluten-containing and gluten-free treats. Always use separate cutting boards, mixing utensils, and baking sheets to ensure your cookies are safe to eat.
This classic Southern dish, perfect for a Kwanzaa feast, is typically gluten-free. Often cooked with bacon, ham, and other salted or smoked meats, you’ll want to double check that these don’t contain any gluten. Any canned or pre-spiced greens could also contain gluten, so if you go this route, make sure to check these labels as well. Cornbread is great with collard greens and is typically gluten-free! This is a recipe we love.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Great for all sorts of holidays, this is another dish that is, at its heart, gluten-free. While delicious with just some butter and salt, many recipes add different toppings to make the dish a tad more interesting. Some call for bacon or pecans or other nuts, and you’ll want to check the packages on these items for any possibility of cross-contamination.
While black-eyed peas and other legumes don’t contain gluten, be wary of cross-contact. Avoid bulk bins and only purchase sealed packages. Always check labels because some packages will contain trace amounts of grain, rye, or barley. A growing number of beans are certified gluten-free, available online and in some grocery stores.
Remember that it’s always important to let your host know about your dietary needs prior to a gathering. And don’t forget to pack your Nima Sensor before you head off to a delicious meal! Having more information about what’s on your plate before you eat it can make or break or a celebration.
What are some of your favorite gluten-free foods to eat during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!