Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Quinoa mushroom pilaf recipe
Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf

Need some gluten-free inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast? Have I got some side dishes for you. From Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf to Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans, from Sweet Potato Cornbread to Cranberry Applesauce and more, I've gathered together my favorite gluten-free side dish recipes. One glance at these offerings should convince even the most die hard skeptics that living gluten-free can be more than delicious.

It can be beautiful.

Acorn squash recipe
Acorn Squash with Green Chiles

The New England Pilgrims might have raised an eyebrow to this kicked up non-traditional recipe for acorn squash spiked with mild green chiles. But what did they know? As H.L. Mencken quipped, Puritanism was the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

Gluten free quinoa salad recipe with pears and chick peas
A quinoa salad side dish with pears, chick peas and maple.

If you're looking for a fresh idea to liven up your Thanksgiving table, Babycakes, this quinoa recipe is for you. Light, vegan, and packed with protein, this is no ordinary side dish. And did I mention, in a bowl licking maple vinaigrette? Studded with nutty, buttery chick peas and crunchy toasted pecans and succulent jewels of ripe, juicy pears, this is quinoa worthy of a holiday.

Roasted acorn squash with maple syrup
Maple roasted acorn squash. Classic.

My first Thanksgiving side dish way back when, in the old school days, cooking in my twenties, was this simple, easy roasted acorn squash. Pure maple syrup makes all the difference.

Red quinoa recipe with butternut squash and cranberries
Red quinoa side dish with butternut squash and cranberries.

This is the go to side dish recipe if you want to shake up tradition and wow your guests. It is drop dead stunning. Colorful. Flavorful. Different. Not your average Thanksgiving squash or stuffing offering. Make it ahead and taste test on the big day to adjust seasonings. Reheat the quinoa and squash in a covered casserole dish till warmed through. (Warning: Your vegan guests will fall in love with you.)

Gluten free cornbread stuffing recipe
Cornbread stuffing and maple roasted acorn squash.

In case you were snoozing and missed this cornbread stuffing recipe, I'm including it here. Make it as moist as you like. Serve it in roasted acorn squash halves, or pile it all into a casserole dish. It's all good.

Cranberry applesauce
Cranberry applesauce. Kid-friendly. Mighty tasty.

Add vivid ruby color and a sweet-tart kick to your Thanksgiving plate with this gently tangy and sweet applesauce. Very kid-friendly- it doesn't have the texture issue of those pesky whole cranberries.

Thanksgiving potato salad
Sweet Potato + Gold Potato Salad.

No doubt about it, people do like their mashed potatoes and gravy, but. You know me. I like to change things up. I crave potato salad for Thanksgiving. Especially this one, featuring sweet potatoes and Yukon golds. The red onion gives the sweet potato a kick in the pants (just say no to mini marshmallows). Serve it warm or chilled.

Sweet potato cornbread recipe that is gluten free
Sweet Potato Cornbread- Gluten-Free

Cornbread is a classic bread to serve with Thanksgiving fare. This one is special. Not only is it gluten-free, it is made with sweet potato puree, giving it a rich, tender texture that is moist and downright fabulous. They will ask you for the recipe.

 Pomegranate green beans side dish
Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans

This simple green bean side dish cozies up to a lot of Thanksgiving flavors. I used Trader Joe's pomegranate glaze as a base for the easy sauce. It's lip smacking good. So ditch the canned Cream of Mushroom Soup and shake things up a bit. These green beans are fresh, tart, and lively, with a tang that wakes up your taste buds.

Gluten free zucchini bread
Gluten-free zucchini bread. Yes, please.

Gotta have bread. Yeah, it's not technically a side dish, but. Who's keeping score? A slice of this tender zucchini bread makes a Thanksgiving plate just that much more special. And you get to show off a little bit. Because folks will ask you, incredulous, This is gluten-free? Really? And you get to say, Yep. Gluten-free, Baby.

Gluten free mac and cheese recipe
Gluten-free baked macaroni and cheese.

Baked mac and cheese. It's a Pilgrim tradition, right? This gluten-free macaroni and cheese recipe is based on my pre-celiac go-to cheesy mac favorite with cheddar cheese. I kicked it up with chopped jalapeños and crunchy gluten-free bread crumbs and dressed it up all pretty with halved sweet grape tomatoes.

New Mexico Succotash recipe
Calabasitas makes an easy, crowd pleasing side dish.

Feeding a lot of people can feel intimidating. Here's an easy side dish to help get you through. Zucchini and sweet corn and tomatoes co-mingle with green chiles. It's the New Mexico version of succotash. Make it as mild or as spicy as you like.

Gluten free vegan cole slaw with peanut dressing
Cole slaw worthy of Thanksgiving.

Traditional cole slaw is heavy with mayo and in truth, a tad old school. Ho-hum. So why not dress it up with a fresh peanut dressing? You don't even have to mention the change to your guests. Just serve it. Their taste buds will thank you. And thanks is what Thanksgiving is all about, right?

Gluten free rice casserole recipe
This Pinon Rice Bake is gluten-free delicious.

Rice is often considered yawn worthy. We celiacs get served rice more than other dish, after all. Next to potatoes. It's safe. It's easy. And it's bland. So why am I including a rice recipe for your holiday menu? Because, Darling Baby, this is not yawn worthy. Or bland. It's full of subtle flavor and texture and goes perfectly with Thanksgiving squashes and gravies and the ubiquitous roasted bird. Unless you're vegan. Then forget I mentioned the dead bird. {We don't eat bird, either.}


Alanna Kellogg said...

Just thought I'd stop by and 'make your day' :-). Just came from Trader Joe's, their in-house gluten-free consultant was talking to a couple, she's just been diagnosed and is reeling from the shock. The consultant had a prepared list of tips and resources -- two websites, one yours. Afterward, I took her aside and told her we'd met and she said, "I LOVE her website, I tell people ALL the time to go there, they won't need another, EVER." (My caps, her emphasis.) She says she makes your gluten-free pumpkin pie every year and that when it's side by side with a regular pumpkin pie, people only take hers. You make a difference in people's lives in such a meaningful way. Happy Thanksgiving, be well ...

aurorafedora said...

as this will be my first GF thanksgiving, i am very grateful for these delicious looking recipes!
now...which ones to choose??!

Ruth said...

So glad that your happy self is back! Whatever was that struggle of last week it looks like you stared it down and won. Yippee! Thanks for such a bountiful roundup of goodies.

Carol B said...

Thank you a million times! These all look delicious. Now to pick which ones...

~M said...

We make your green beans and portobellas with pomegranate molasses regularly (it's great as a side for fish, turkey, roasted chicken, your meatloaf, pumpkin lasagna, etc.) -- and it's part of our "regular Thanksgiving menu" too! With compliments to you, Karina, of course! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

PS- Trader Joes and Costco both sell pre-trimmed, pre-washed green beans! Woo hoo!

Elsa said...

Everything looks great, especially the quinoa dishes. I am always looking for new ways to cook quinoa.

Meagan said...

That acorn squash with green chilis looks like something I would make. Looks spicy but traditional.

I Am Gluten Free said...

Karina - this is wonderful! What a great resource. Only problem is I don't know which ones to pick - they all look fantastic. Have a great T-giving!

Siri said...

Just wanted you to know that I am thankful for YOU this Thanksgiving. Your recipes and writings have helped me through the terrible allergy transition and onto great food. Best wishes to you and yours.

Jeanette said...

Wow, such amazing photos and recipes. I love your blog. May I ask what camera and lens you use for your photos? They are absolutely amazing. Also, would love to connect with you. I have a healthy living blog.

Pat @ said...

Calabasitas looks wonderful. I wonder if New Mexico adopted it from a regional specialty in Mexico? I also loooove green chiles, (and New Mexico!) so the acorn squash and green chiles is really intriguing. Thanksgiving will never be the same Karina...



The InTolerant Chef said...

How can you possibly miss gluten with food like this? I feel sorry for those people who think gluten free is boring!

Anonymous said...

Karina, I tried your Maple Roasted Acorn Squash recipe yesterday, and it is the first time I really enjoyed acorn squash. So simple but so yummy. A keeper. Thank you for your generosity and creativity. Your blog is the first GF resource I gave a friend who just learned she is gluten-intolerant. Your are definitely one of the "things" I am most thankful for this year.

Parisa said...

I'm so grateful for your site! I was a little worried about the holidays since having Celiac is still new for me. Thanks so much for your recipes! One or two of them will probably be appearing on my family's table come Thanksgiving day.

Susan on the beach said...

Just had to drop you a note. I have so enjoyed reading your blog and cooking from your recipe files! When a friend had a houseguest coming who was both GF and a vegan (gasp!) she begged me to give her some help. I pointed her to your blog and gave her a couple of my favorite quinoa recipes from your collection. The weekend went smoothly and the houseguest was impressed. Your pumpkin pie recipe is a hit at our family table and has even my gluten gobbling brother in law always reaching for "just one more piece'!

Thank you for helping me celebrate the holidays with family and food that we all can eat!

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