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Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips

Scones, pie, pumpkin bread, acorn squash, quinoa salad with pears...

Thanksgiving. Nothing sends shivers of trepidation up a gluten-free dairy-free girl's spine like the mental image of Grandma's white bread dressing, or shimmying slabs of Aunt Ida's pumpkin pie. It's a butter and wheat flour gorge fest with danger at every turn- the gut-twisting threat of thirty-six hours chugging Pepto Bismol poised to strike on every holiday decorated plate. Jovial forkfuls of tradition and conviviality aside.

It can be a nightmare, Darling.

If you're lucky, your family is tuned in to the ins and outs of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and they are well aware of the angst and anxiety food centric holidays can trigger for those of us who need to be vigilant about each and every spoonful of food that enters our quirky gluten-free universe. 

If you are blessed, they are thoughtful and well schooled in where gluten might lurk (turkey broth, marinades, gravy, seasoning packets, spice blends, traditional stuffing, cornbread mixes, crackers, pie crusts, soy sauce). And they don't ask questions like, You can eat "whole" wheat crackers, right? with the emphasis on the word whole as if somehow, the word itself makes the wheat magically safe for gluten sensitive folks to consume (it doesn't). They won't sigh when you politely decline a slice of Aunt Ethel's pecan pie and say, Why don't you just eat the filling and not the crustThey won't hold up a pitcher of turkey gravy and whisper, A little bit won't kill you. Or my own personal favorite, Oh, go ahead... I have food allergies and I cheat.


If these persuasions are foreign to you, then you, Dear Reader, have much to be thankful for this holiday season. You are blessed with a clan that gets you, loves you without judging you, and honestly cares about every morsel that enters your fragile autoimmune universe.

So this post is for them...

The attentive Moms and Dads, compassionate Aunts and Uncles, smart-as-a-whip Grandmas and Bubbes, sisters, brothers and best buds who believe that if food is love, Thanksgiving should be fun and worry-free and delicious.

For everyone.  

No big whup.

Because after all- we know true love has great taste.

Key Tips for a Safe and Delicious

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free 

Holiday Season

If you're new to gluten-free living here's a Gluten-Free Diet Cheat Sheet to print out and keep handy. Because gluten is devious. Label reading is a must.

Marinades, broth, soy sauce, and bouillon may use wheat or barley in flavors and seasonings. Although I urge you to check your turkey for gluten-free status, most I've seen are safe- if you avoid the seasoning or gravy packet.

Bottom line?

Know your bird. Know your source. And know your ingredients, Dollface.

TIPS: For thickening gravy, whisk in a tablespoon or two of sweet rice flour. Or make an arrowroot starch slurry. {Potato flour is another choice- but be careful you don't add too much and end up with gelatinous, thick gravy you have to slice to serve}

For a non-dairy sub in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato recipes try using coconut milk- it's creamy and delicious (full fat tastes best). If you can't do coconut milk, soy milk or almond milk works beautifully. {Rice milk is rather thin. Hemp milk is an acquired taste and may be too grassy for the uninitiated.}

Another tasty non-dairy vegan choice is orange juice or apple cider. Cook carrots or cubes of winter squash with a splash of orange juice or apple cider for a lovely vegan flavor boost. Drizzle a touch of pure maple syrup.

For creamy mashed potatoes that are dairy-free I use a combo of light and fruity extra virgin olive oil and my favorite gluten-free vegan buttery spread. For creaminess, whip in some warm non-dairy milk- coconut, soy, and nut milks all work. A light gluten-free broth works, too. The trick is don't beat the potatoes to death until they're gluey (what did a potato ever do to you? Be kind).

For a dairy-free vegan butter sub in baking, my new favorite fat is organic coconut oil. I love the texture and subtle coconut flavor. 

Hate coconut oil? Try organic expeller pressed canola oil or grape seed oil (both have very neutral flavor). Any of these work well in muffins, quick breads, bread, cookie bars and cakes. When one half to one cup butter is called for in a recipe, these oils will usually work- though I typically start with a little less than the amount of butter called for and see how the batter looks.

For a vegan butter substitute in pastry and gluten-free pie crust recipes I'd choose Earth Balance sticks, Spectrum Organic Shortening or organic coconut oil.

For stuffing, simply follow your favorite recipe and substitute toasted cubes of gluten-free cornbread, corn muffins, or a loaf of store-bought gluten-free white bread. Or try my personal favorite stuffing recipe- Cornbread Stuffing with Curried Apples and Cranberries.

For a crunchy bread crumb topping, try my Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (process toasted gluten-free waffles into perfect golden crumbs- they make a delicious topping that can be quite the conversation starter- waffles? Really?). And no, a (true) waffle is not sweet.

For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use Pamela's or Midel's Gluten-Free Gingersnaps or 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 and simply substitute with gluten-free cookies. For a butter replacement, try organic coconut oil, a good tasting vegan spread like Earth Balance.

Read on for more tips and my Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Thanksgiving worthy recipes ...

My gluten-free vegan pumpkin praline pie with a fabulous crust.
I'm currently working on a traditional pie crust recipe... but until I get something I'm happy with (happy enough to share), check out a gluten-free pie crust folks rave about- Rebecca Reilly's Gluten-Free Pie Crust recipe with sorghum flour.

Browse my  Gluten-Free Casein-Free Holiday Tips for more inspiration and ideas.

Gluten-Free Diet Recipes


Thanksgiving Menu Ideas


Butternut Pecan Scones

Eggs Diablo on Soft Polenta

Hot Buckwheat Cereal with Cinnamon Apples


Pumpkin Bread- a big loaf

Pumpkin Donuts with cinnamon sugar

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pie Bread

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

Appetizers and Snacks

Baked Grape Tomatoes with Basil Cornbread Crumbs

Crispy Potato Sticks with Roasted Tomato Salsa

Fried Zucchini Chips in Lime-Mint Dipping Sauce

JalapeƱo and Lime Hummus

Pecan Crackers

Raw Cashew Hummus

Roasted Eggplant Tapenade

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


Karina's Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Pueblo Bread- with green chiles

Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pie Bread

Savory Scones with Rosemary

Skillet Cornbread with Green Chiles

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Vanilla Cornbread

Zucchini Bread

Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Cranberries in Baked Acorn Squash

Lasagna Vegetariana

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

Pumpkin Polenta with Salsa Fresca

Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, Chick Peas and Maple Vinaigrette

Quinoa with Butternut Squash + Cranberries

Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts, Raisins + Pecans

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie


African Coconut Chick Pea Soup

Butternut Chili

Celery Soup with Fennel

Curried Butternut Soup

New Mexican Stew with Ground Turkey and Green Chiles

Purple Cabbage and Sweet Potato Soup

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup

Roasted Hatch Chile Stew with Sweet Potato

Roasted Vegetable Chowder

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

Turkey Soup

Thanksgiving Sides

Acorn Squash with green chiles

Calabasitas (Santa Fe Style Succotash)

Cider Roasted Vegetables

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Cranberries + Baked Acorn Squash

Crunchy Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs for Topping

Dijon Roasted Vegetables

Karina's Kicked Up Colcannon

Pinon Rice Bake with Artichokes, Goat Cheese

Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans and Portobellos

Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach, Apples or Pears in Maple Vinaigrette

Quinoa with Butternut Squash + Cranberries

Roasted Winter Vegetable Ragout with Shaved Parmesan

Ruby Applesauce with Cranberries

Santa Fe Brown Rice Bake

Two Potato Salad with Sweet Potatoes

Zucchini Gratin

Omnivore Recipes for Thanksgiving Weekend

Autumn Rice Bake with Beef and Cranberries

Baked Mac and Cheese

Beef in Pomegranate Sauce

Beef + Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Garlic Chicken Lasagna

Holiday Turkey Enchiladas with Sweet Potato

Jazzed Up Turkey Tetrazzini

Pineapple Salsa Chicken Enchiladas

Pork Roast with Brown Sugar Apricot Sauce

Stuffed Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Sausage

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie with Black Angus Beef

Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Turkey Nachos


Apple Crisp with quinoa flakes

Apple Cake with Cranberries

Applesauce Crumb Cake

Coconut Flour Apple Cake

Cranberry Crumble

Pie Crust Recipes

Pumpkin Bars- the best! 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Pie- easy

Pumpkin Praline Pie with Coconut-Pecan Crust (Dairy-free and Vegan!)

Sweet Potato Pie

Happy Cooking and Baking!