'Tis [Almost!] the [Gluten Free] Holiday Season

Sweet Potato Black Bean Vegetarian Enchiladas Recipe for Thanksgiving

Who needs tofurky when you have Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas?

Getting through the holidays gluten-free can be tough. But then, the holidays were always a challenge for me because I was mostly vegetarian for decades (and some of those years were vegan), so, in truth, Gentle Reader, my holiday foods have forever tended to be a tad different from mainstream holiday fare. I learned early on how to tweak traditional recipes and reinvent old favorites- like using coconut milk as a delicious non-dairy sub in whipped sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin pie, and creamy butternut soups. I used broth and roasted garlic in smashed potatoes instead of cream and butter. I have always enjoyed thinking outside the box. And in my vegan years- not once- did I make a turkey out of tofu.

Other festive ideas are:

Try my favorite naturally gluten-free stuffing (baked as a casserole). It's so simple. Start with cubes of toasted cornbread and toss them with a skillet of sweet caramelized onions, crunchy celery, chopped apple and a handful of tart cranberries seasoned with a touch of curry; add a little light broth, toss and bake in a casserole dish till golden.

Instead of serving green beans swimming in canned mushroom soup (I never did quite get the appeal of that particular old school combination, actually) try this simple but elegant recipe with pomegranate glaze.

Spice things up with Mexican Pumpkin Soup, or go Italian with Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, or my Salmon Goat Cheese Strata.

Roasted Vegetable Kugel is always a hit, as are lacy, crispy Latkes and Homemade Applesauce. And you can always jazz up winter squash with roasted green chiles.

And don't forget those chocolaty coconut Nirvana Bars and Maple Frosted Pumpkin Cake. My Vegan Pumpkin Pie (a readers' favorite) is so creamy delicious you won't need to divulge its secret dairy-free status.

Here are some quick and easy gluten-free holiday tips:

For making gravy, use arrowroot starch; it thickens better than wheat flour, anyway. I like to add a dash of dry sherry, brandy or white wine as well.

For a non-dairy sub in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato recipes try coconut milk- it's delicious (full fat tastes best).

Cook carrots in orange juice for a non-dairy flavor boost. Drizzle with a touch of pure maple syrup.

Use agave nectar for adding just the right touch of sweetness to veggies and sauces.

For stuffing, simply follow your favorite recipe and substitute toasted cubes of gluten-free cornbread or a loaf of store-bought gluten-free white bread.

For a crunchy bread crumb topping, try my Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (process toasted GF waffles- they make perfect golden crumbs).

As an all-around basic flour substitute, I keep a bag of Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix in the fridge, and use it to thicken soup and chili, to coat and dredge pan fried cakes, and honestly, it works as a one to one sub in almost every baking recipe I've converted.

If you avoid dairy or nuts [Pamela's contains buttermilk and almond flour] try an all-purpose gluten free flour blend from Whole Foods, Arrowhead Mills, Bob's Red Mill or Gluten Free Pantry.

For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use Pamela's cookies [Lemon or Ginger or Chocolate, depending upon the filling] processed into crumbs; I use Joy of Cooking's classic cookie/cracker crumb recipe [simply substitute with gluten free cookies].

Add turkey leftovers to nachos, soup, chili pasta, and frittata recipes.

And one last holiday-kissed morsel- a few nut and crumb pie crust recipes from my baking file.


Almond Macaroon Crust Recipe

1 cup ground almond meal (processed almonds)
3/4 cup light brown or cane sugar
1 medium organic free-range egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
a dash of spice - cinnamon or nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and GF-flour a 9-inch glass pie plate; or use a greased and GF-floured tart pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the ground almonds, sugar, egg, extract, salt & spice. Spread the almond mixture into the pie plate and press lightly (with moist fingertips) to form a crust.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, check to see the shape of it, and using a silicone or vinyl spatula, lightly press down any high puffy areas; resume baking for another 2 to 5 minutes, until the crust is firm. Place on a wire rack and again press down the shape to flatten, if needed.

Cool before filling. The crust will get crisper as it cools.

Quick 'n Easy Almond Pie Crust Recipe

For one 9-inch tart pan:

1 cup almond meal (processed almonds - pecans also work well)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter or vegan margarine
1 1/2 tablespoons of cream or non-dairy cream

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until dough clumps together. Chill 15 minutes. Roll out the dough on wax paper dusted with either cornstarch or tapioca flour. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan and press in lightly. Chill again till firm, and fill. Bake as directed in your pie recipe; keeping an eye on the edges of the crust. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover the edges with strips of foil. Also make sure your oven rack is in the center of the oven, and not close to the top.

Karina's Note:

* To pre-bake for a no-bake filling, I would prick the crust, then bake it at 325 or 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until firm. Cool before filling.

Almond Pie Crust

I've used this crust for pumpkin pie and cheesecake.

2 cups (heaping) almond meal
1/2 cup butter/vegan stick margarine, melted, or 1/2 cup light olive oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Dash of pie spice or cinnamon, if desired

Combine all of the ingredients to form a sticky dough. With moist fingertips, press the dough into a greased 9x12-inch baking pan or 2 8-inch glass pie plates. Bake the crust at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling.

I've done the same with pecans; I've processed them into meal - pecans make a wonderful nut crust. Some cooks add a little rice flour to the mix. Experiment.

Coconut Crust

If you like coconut here is a simple crust for pies and cookie bars. I haven't tried this, but it looks intriguing. I adapted it from several recipes I've come across.

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
2 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter or stick vegan margarine, cut into pieces

Pour the coconut into a food processor and add the butter. Pulse on and off until the mixture resembles moist crumbs.

Press into a 9-inch glass pie dish [or 8x8-inch baking dish, if making bars] and bake the crust for about 15 to 20 minutes or so, at 325 degrees F. until golden. Cool before adding filling.


I think a combo of Pamela's lemon cookie crumbs and coconut would make an awesome crust. I might try combining the two and follow a classic crumb crust recipe.

For a beautiful pie crust made with gluten-free oatmeal, check out Susan's Oatmeal Cookie Crust at FatFree Vegan Kitchen.


elizabeth said...

I have used your Van's waffle bread crumb tip opften- they work great. I toast up a whole box of them at a time and store the crumbs in the freezer.

Thanks for the crust recipes, time to go make a pie!

Carol said...

Hi Karina,

I haven't tried the bread crumbs made from Van's waffles, but I did make some from Whole Foods Prairie Bread*. They turned out very nicely. I put half a loaf of the bread in my food processor and whirled them into crumbs. I used some mixed with melted butter as a topping for a batch of GF tuna casserole (yes, good old fall comfort food) and froze the rest. My non-gf daughter loved them so I tried coating fish with them and that worked well, too.

Thanks for everything. I love the new look of your web site and am so glad to be able to read of your cooking adventures. Thanks for the many suggestions and recipes; they've all been successful.

*Whole Foods GF Bakery Prairie Bread: It's expensive but the best GF bread I've eaten especially if you can get it before it's been frozen.


Kathy said...

Excellent tips, Karina. Especially the one about keeping Pamela's GF Mix in the refrigerator. I never considered that, but it certainly makes sense.

I bought new Arrowroot today in prep for the upcoming feast. Can't wait to try out our Van's waffle bread crumb recipe. :)

tracey said...

Wow, you've got it sorted out ;) Thanks for the new recipes!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this list. As a mom of a recently diagnosed 13 year old, your blog has become "my celiac bible" This will make the holidays so much easier. It is appreciated !!

Michelle said...

I really like Karina's suggestion for using Van waffles bread crumbs for a crunchy coating. For a softer coating, I put a GF rice krispies type cereal (I use Erewhon GF) in the food processor until barely coarse and that's good for something like schnitzel or meatloaf.

Also, I recently made these chicken tenders for kids for kids (and my boyfriend - the kid at heart), to rave reviews: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_34475,00.html?rsrc=search
For the cereals, I chose the same Erewhon rice one and Gorilla Munch for the corn one (instead of Capt. Crunch). They turned out great, and I usually hate fried food! I served it with a grated carrot/apple/lemon juice/EVOO salad and it was a great fall meal.

I also wanted to recommend Enjoylife original bagels - which taste like soft pretzels to me when I add Smart Balance with Flax Oil and crushed sea salt - and Namaste muffin mix. I just baked my first batch of muffins yesterday - mini muffins, actually - with this very allergen-friendly mix, subbing half of the water with orange juice and adding dried cranberries. The boyfriend must have eaten 9 in less than 6 hours - so I don't know how quickly they go stale but they sure are light and tasty :P Namaste products are great for sufferers of multiple allergies as they are wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, potato and soy free but are SUPER easy to make.

Michelle said...

In my previous post, I forgot to ask,: Which crust do you recommend for what type of cake/pies? Is there a specific one you'd recommend for pumpkin pie (or would you suggest a ginger cookie crust - if so, a recipe is always welcome)? Thanks!

ilva said...

Have a nice Holiday karina!

Karina said...

Thanks, Elizabeth, Carol, Kathy, Tracey, Anon and Michelle!

As for the question about the crusts: I added some info into the post. Basically, I've used nut and crumb crusts for pumpkin pies and cheesecakes. For crumb crusts I use processed Pamela's cookies and follow any classic recipe.


Karina said...

Thanks, Ilva! I just visited your blog - your photographs are gorgeous!

sher said...

I think all your recipes are fabulous--for anyone. It's wonderful that people have your site to go to for gluten free recipes and advice. I just referred a friend to your site and she's so grateful.

Karina said...

Thanks, Sher! I really appreciate that!

Shannon said...

Hey Karina,

Thanks for the recipes! I am so excited. My mother has put me in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving, so I will definitely be using this info. I wanted to ask, though, when you use the Pamela's cookies for the crust do you proces them fresh out of the box or let them dry out a bit first? (The Ginger cookies are super moist! Oooh! and would be amazing as a crust for cheesecake...)

Karina said...

Hi Shannon! Hmmm... I've always used them right out of the box. If they seem too moist, I suppose you could let them dry out - but I wouldn't want the crumbs to taste stale, you know?

And yeah, her cookies are awesome for cheesecake. I've used the lemon for straight cheesecake, and the ginger for pumpkin cheesecake.

Have fun!


michelle said...

Mmm...all of those sound perfect for lots of different kinds of bars, pies and treats. I'm glad that you're out there to help all the people with gluten allegies who love delicious foods, and to open the eyes of the rest of us to the possibilities!!

Kelly said...

Hey Karina!
You'll be happy to know that today, (here in NYC)at the International Symposium on Celiac Disease there was a woman wearing one of your Cafe Press Gluten Free Goddess sweatshirts!

Paul said...


What a joy it was to find your web-site. I’m newly diagnosed with celiac and spend quite a bit of time browsing the web for info, recipes, etc. I found your site through a link from a blog in Massachusetts. I live in central New Hampshire (originally from New Jersey…..(will never be a New Englander…will always be a Jersey boy!)…..I’m Italian/Hungarian and love to cook and am looking forward to trying your recipes.

Best of life to you and yours…


Karina said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks! Funny, I first saw an almond crust made on a cooking show, years ago. Little did I know... ;-)

Hey Kelly! So you are reporting from the trenches, eh? ;-) How cool is that?

Hi Paul! Thanks for your message! I hope you have a *fabulous* first gluten free holiday season!

Jill said...

Dear Karina,

I accidentally happened upon your gluten free goddess website this morning, looking for a gluten free dressing for Thanksgiving. I have to say THANK YOU!!! I was diagnosed in January, 2004 and learned more from your website than I did from the nutritionist my doctor sent me to. Who, by the way, only left website print outs at the local hospital's front desk.

You're in my favorites and I will refer to you often.

Thank you,


Karina said...

Hi Jill! I'm glad you found Gluten Free Goddess. Welcome and enjoy!

And Happy First GF Holidays! ;-)

Kalyn said...

Thanks for the crust recipes. I'm going to venture into the baking arena sometime in my future, LOL. I just found out a friend of mine was diagnosed with celiac, so I sent her to your blog.

Karina said...

Hey Kalyn! I was thinking about you today and wondering if these crusts could be easily converted to low carb using nuts, butter and a little Splenda or Stevia?

Thanks for giving your newly dx'ed friend the blog link. I can't believe how many new people are being dx'ed! Oh wait. Yes I can. ;-)

Rob said...

I can't wait to pass this along to my wife, she'll be blown away by teh creativity and the celiac cooking tips.



Karina said...

Rob, Thanks! Enjoy!

Catherine said...

Hi Karina,

Did you pre-bake the crusts when using them for cheesecake?


Karina said...

Hi Catherine! No, I didn't. But you know what? I was thinking about pre-baking them a little bit, to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy. If I do, I'll protect the edges with some foil wrapped around [to keep it from getting too browned around the edges].

Michelle said...

I hear that you can freeze crumb/nut crusts to 20 minutes or so before putting in fillings instead of baking them if you're worried that they might dry out. I can't wait to make my first crumb crust!

Michelle said...

I've never baked a pie before so I have lots of questions: How long would you bake the crusts for? Can you explain how to cover the edges? And would you cover them during pre-baking and also during the time (50 minutes) it's cooking with the cheesecake filling in it?


Karina said...

Hi Michelle! True, you don't have to pre-bake a simple butter and crumb crust for a no-bake filling. Freezing sounds like a fab idea.

If you are pre-baking, bake only ten minutes or so. Fill, then bake according to your pie recipe's instructions.

To be safe, cover the edges gently with strips of foil to prevent over-browning; and make sure the pie is in the center of the oven, not near the top.

I don't know why GF crumb crusts tend to brown fast, but they often do.

Have fun!

~M said...

With passover coming up, I remembered you mentioned a Macaroon Crust, but today, I realized that it was an Almond Macaroon Crust, and that it actually contains no macaroons. :( I do like, however, that it calls for no butter or margarine, since most Passover-kosher-nondairy varieties are nasty and unhealthy. Do you have suggestions for modifying any of your crust recipes to work with coconut macaroons? I was planning on filling the crust with a lemon or lime vegan filling from Fat Free Vegan. Thanks, Karina! Chag Sameach (Happy holidays) to all!

Karina said...

Hi ~M,

Would the coconut crust recipe above work? I would think, also, that using macaroons processed into crumbs would make a fabulous pie crust. Why not?

Chag Sameach!

Rachel said...

Hi Karina!

I'm trying out two new projects - a GF tart and a GF Crostada - and I can't seem to find a good recipe for either type of dough. Do you think any of these would work?


Diana said...

This is an amazing site! Thanks!

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