Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Feast
Here's an easy, elegant menu everyone will enjoy.
[Updated Aug. 5, 2015]
Thanksgiving is a time of joyful reunions, aromatic kitchens and tables loaded with mouthwatering dishes. If your guest list includes those with special dietary needs, these crowd-pleasing recipes will make the holiday particularly memorable.
With these easy recipes and a short list of special ingredients, you can make Thanksgiving favorites that are gluten-free, dairy free, and allergy-friendly. Although these recipes are simple to make, they have a gourmet twist. We married the warm fall flavors of ginger and pears in many of these dishes to create an elegant holiday meal that’s truly delicious.
Moist and Tender
Gluten-Free Salt and Herb Rubbed Turkey
Apply this simple salt rub a day in advance for a succulent bird with crispy, brown skin. Don’t worry about the turkey becoming too salty—the rub is rinsed off before baking.
1 fresh free-range turkey
2 cups gluten-free chicken broth or pear juice
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
1½ tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
⅓ cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or dairy-free butter alternative or 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or sage, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
½ lemon, sliced thinly
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. To make Salt Rub, mix rosemary, sage, parsley, 2 teaspoons thyme, salt, pepper and lemon peel in a small bowl.
2. Wash and dry the turkey, removing heart, giblets and neck. Rub salt mixture inside both turkey cavities and over the entire outside of the bird.
3. Put turkey in an oven-roasting bag and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Place bird in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
5. To make Butter-Lemon Rub, combine butter, 2 teaspoons thyme or sage and lemon zest in a small bowl. Stir until ingredients are blended.
6. Remove turkey from refrigerator and rinse thoroughly to remove salt rub. Pat turkey dry inside and out and transfer to a roasting pan.
7. Gently lift the skin off the breast, careful not to tear it. Place ¾ of the butter-lemon rub and lemon slices under the skin. Spread remaining rub over the entire bird and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
8. Add 2 cups gluten-free chicken broth or pear juice to the roasting pan.
9. Place turkey, uncovered, in preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. This sears in the juices. Remove bird from oven. Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Tent turkey with foil and return to oven.
10. Baste turkey every 45 minutes with pan juices, adding more if needed. For the last 30 minutes, remove foil and let brown. When internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F, remove bird from the oven.
11. Replace foil tent and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing. This lets the juices return to the meat.
Each 3-ounce serving of plain roasted turkey (dark meat and skin) contains 186 calories, 10g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 75mg cholesterol, 64mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 23g protein.
Each 3-ounce serving of plain roasted turkey (white meat and skin) contains 165 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 64mg cholesterol, 53mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 24g protein.
Savory and Delicious
Gluten-Free Fresh Thyme and Pear Gravy
MAKES 4 CUPS
The flavors of herbs and pears meld deliciously in this tasty gluten-free gravy.
6 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative
4 tablespoons potato starch (not potato flour)
2 cups low-sodium gluten-free chicken broth
1 cup pan drippings or low-salt gluten-free chicken broth
1 cup pear juice
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
½ cup dark meat turkey, chopped finely
2 tablespoons dark rum, optional
-Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add potato starch and whisk 3 to 5 minutes until the roux is light brown and well combined. Set aside.
2. In a medium-size saucepan, bring to boil chicken broth, pan drippings (if any), pear juice, thyme and dark meat turkey. If you don’t have pan drippings, add 1 cup additional broth.
3. Add roux one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly 1 to 2 minutes between each addition until gravy is smooth and thickens slightly. Then simmer over low heat until gravy reduces to about 4 cups, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in rum, if desired, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.
Each ¼ cup serving contains 67 calories, 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 18mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g protein.
TIP Gravy is ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If your gravy becomes too thick, add more pan drippings or broth. If it’s too thin, continue to simmer or add additional roux.
A Family Favorite
Savory Sausage and Pear Stuffing
Italian sausage, fresh herbs and pears form a winning flavor combination in this gluten-free dressing, a must for Thanksgiving. It’s also great with roast pork, chicken, or wild game. If baked outside the turkey, it’s best when made the day before.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 pound gluten-free sausage (mild Italian, chicken apple or turkey), casing removed
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon pepper, more to taste
6-7 cups cubed gluten-free bread
1 cup gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth, pear juice or combination
2 Bosc pears, cored and chopped
1 egg, optional
1. Over medium heat in a large saucepan or stockpot, sauté olive oil and onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small, bite-size pieces, and cook until it browns. Add sage, thyme, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Add bread cubes to the pan. Then add chicken broth, pear juice or combination. Cook uncovered over low heat, stirring often until flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
4. Add chopped pears to the pan, stirring to combine with bread mixture. Remove from stove and let cool.
5. Transfer stuffing to a large baking dish, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
6. About 2 hours before serving, remove stuffing from refrigerator and stir in egg, if desired, until well combined.
7. Cover stuffing and bake in 325°F preheated oven for 2 hours (alongside the turkey if there’s room). Baste stuffing periodically with turkey drippings. Remove cover for the last hour and let brown.
Each serving contains 277 calories, 13g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 28mg cholesterol, 631mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 7g protein.
Bright Color, Bright Flavors
Pear Ginger Cranberry Relish
MAKES 2 CUPS
Cranberries, pears and warm spices make this dish memorable. It can be made three days in advance.
1 (10 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
⅓ cup packed brown sugar or honey
⅓ cup lemon juice or lime juice
12/3 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon or lime peel, finely grated
2 pears, cored and cubed
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger or ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium-size saucepan.
2. Heat pan uncovered over medium-low heat. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture thickens.
3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to heighten flavors.
Each ¼ cup serving contains 80 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 77mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 0g protein.
Crisp and Custardy
Dairy-Free Crusty Herb Popovers
MAKES 12 POPOVERS
This recipe is a great substitution for bread at any meal and is easy and rewarding to make. Adding fresh herbs compliments your Thanksgiving menu. For best results, do not replace the eggs in this recipe.
1 cup milk or dairy-free milk of choice
⅓ cup tapioca starch/flour
⅔ cup white rice flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, rosemary or sage, chopped finely
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a 12-cup muffin tin in the oven to preheat. (A warm muffin tin helps the batter rise. Keep the tin in the oven until you’re ready to pour in the batter.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until blended. Add tapioca starch/flour, white rice flour, herbs and salt. Whisk until combined and smooth.
3. Carefully remove the hot baking tin from the oven. Lightly grease it with cooking spray.
4. Pour in the batter, filling each muffin cup three-quarters full. (Fill any empty muffin cups with water to ensure even baking.)
5. Place popovers in preheated oven and bake 25 minutes or until popovers are puffed high and turn a rich, golden brown. (For puffiest popovers, do not open the oven door before 25 minutes.) Serve immediately.
Each popover contains 78 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 73mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g protein.
Our Magazine Cover Soup
Dairy-Free Coconut Pumpkin Soup
Any orange-fleshed squash can replace pumpkin in this recipe, which would make the taste slightly more delicate. Don’t omit straining the soup at the end if you like a creamy-silky texture. Lite coconut milk can be used for lower fat content and a more subtle coconut taste.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or dairy-free margarine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds pumpkin, cubed
1 pound sweet potato, cubed
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 leek, cleaned and coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
-Juice of 1 to 2 limes
1-2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 (4 -inch) piece fresh lemon grass, smashed with the back of a knife, more for garnish
6 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Put butter and oil in a roasting pan and melt butter in the oven. Put pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions, leek, and garlic in the pan and toss, coating everything with butter and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Cook in preheated oven until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
3. Put cooked vegetables, their cooking juices, ginger, lime juice, red curry paste, lemon grass, vegetable broth, and coconut milk into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove lemon grass. Puree soup and strain. If soup is too thick, use more vegetable broth. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with strips of lemon grass and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.
Each serving contains 192 calories, 12g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3mg cholesterol, 153mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g protein.
Crowd-Pleasing Side Dish
Sweet Potato Torte
MAKES ONE 9-INCH TORTE
This recipe combines a lovely sweet potato filling with a flaky gluten-free pie crust. It rivals any side dish as the star of the Thanksgiving table. For best results, do not replace the eggs in this recipe.
2½ pounds sweet potatoes or garnet yams (about 3 medium-size potatoes)
1¾ cups sweetened condensed milk (2 14-ounce cans) or 13/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk or dairy- free milk of choice + 1/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter alternative, melted
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 recipe Pastry Crust
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch or larger springform pan.
2. Bake sweet potatoes until tender or easily pieced by a fork. Cut in half lengthwise and scrap potatoes out of their skins into a large bowl.
3. With a hand mixer or food processor, beat potatoes until smooth.
4. Add all remaining ingredients to potatoes and blend until ingredients are well combined.
5. Roll out Pastry Crust dough to fit prepared springform pan, pressing dough over the bottom and up the sides about 1 to 1½ inches. If dough tears in pan, press cracks together with wet fingers to repair.
6. Add filling to crust and bake in preheated oven until center is set and sides begin to brown, about 1 to 1¼ hours. Cool before slicing. Serve at room temperature.
Each serving contains 328 calories, 14g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 79mg cholesterol, 340mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 6g protein.
Light and Flaky
MAKES ONE 9-INCH CRUST
This easy crust can be made sweet or savory, the perfect companion to any filling. Use flax gel* as an egg replacement.
1 cup Mary’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour or tapioca starch/flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar (for a savory crust, eliminate sugar)
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter alternative, well chilled
1 large egg or flax gel*
1 tablespoon ice water, more as needed
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass pie plate.
2. In a food processor, mix together flour blend, sweet rice flour or tapioca flour, brown sugar (for a savory crust, do not add sugar) and salt. Pulse to blend. If using a bowl, whisk ingredients together until combined.
3. Cut in butter just until mixture resembles coarse meal. If using a bowl, cut butter in with a pastry knife.
4. Add egg (or flax gel) and water, and mix just until dough forms a ball.
5. Flatten dough into a 6-inch disk and place between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
6. To make a piecrust, remove dough from the refrigerator and roll it out between paper sheets to an 11-inch round. Place in pie plate, crimp border, add filling and bake according to pie recipe. To make Sweet Potato Torte, roll dough to fit a 9-inch springform pan and follow instructions of Sweet Potato Torte recipe.
A Scrumptious Dessert
Gluten-Free Honey Ginger Pumpkin Pie Filling
MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE (8 SLICES)
This pumpkin pie will amaze your family and friends. Fresh ginger brightens the flavor. Top with a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. For best results, do not replace the eggs in this recipe.
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
½ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
1¼ cups whipping cream or dairy-free unsweetened milk of choice, such as coconut milk
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 recipe Pastry Crust
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix together pumpkin, sugar and honey in a large bowl.
3. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Then whisk in whipping cream, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
4. Pour batter into uncooked piecrust and bake in preheated oven until set, about 60 minutes. If crust gets too brown before pie is done, carefully cover it with foil.
Each slice contains 387 calories, 18g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 154mg cholesterol, 198mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein.
MAKES 6 CUPS
2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
1⅓ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca starch/flour
1. Mix ingredients together. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.
Each cup contains 564 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 127 g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g protein.
Mary Capone is author of The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook and creator of Bella Gluten-Free (bellaglutenfree.com) allergy-friendly baking mixes.