Thanksgiving is one particular holiday where there is always plenty of food on the table. However, hosts may find themselves stumped when preparing a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner. What should be avoided? How can families create a meal that everyone will be able to enjoy? Dr. Kristen Bobik, founder of Balance Chiropractic and Wellness Practitioners, offers tips on identifying small changes that can be made to ensure Thanksgiving staples remain delicious and most importantly, safe.

Follow these easy tips for turning your Thanksgiving meal into a gluten-free feast.

The turkey^

Turkeys don't have any bread or pasta in them but not all turkeys are created equal. Some turkeys are injected with flavorings or preservatives containing gluten so make sure to read the label or contact the company in advance.

The cranberry sauce^

Instead of using a sugar-filled, preservative-full fruit sauce that comes from a can, make homemade raw cranberry sauce to ensure no contaminants.

The Stuffing^

The core ingredient in stuffing is dried bread, so this will need some gluten-free modifications. Purchase a gluten-free mix from a local gluten-free bakery such as Apple Gluten-Free Kitchen. Check for gluten in the stuffing's sausage and get gluten-free turkey stock — Kitchen Basic Gluten Free Turkey Stock is available at Jewel stores.

The Gravy^

Make the gravy from turkey drippings using cornstarch or gluten-free flour as the thickener.

THe side dishes^

The more fresh, colorful veggies the better! A green bean casserole contains soup (not gluten-free) and onion toppings. To make gluten-free, substitute crumbled "funions" for the onion topping and purchase a gluten-free soup from a local food store. In the Chicagoland area, Fruitful Yield stores will have a complete green bean casserole mix. If serving bread or rolls, gluten-free options are available at practically any store.

The Pumpkin Pie^

Pie crust is not gluten-free, so modifications are necessary. Use crumbled gluten-free graham crackers (or gluten-free gingerbread cookies) as a substitute in a pie crust recipe. Or, premade gluten-free pie crusts are available at Whole Foods.

Make sure to look out for ingredients that could have been processed in a plant containing wheat and remember to read all labels carefully.

cranberry sauce

Homemade raw cranberry sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange, peel and seeds removed
  • 1 lemon, peel and seeds removed
  • 4 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine the orange, lemon and dates.
  2. Slowly add the fresh cranberries and process until coarsely chopped.
  3. To make less tart, add more dates.

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
  2. Place one half face down in a small glass baking dish with 1 inch of water.
  3. Microwave on high for about 6 minutes, to slightly soften the squash.
  4. Remove and cool.
  5. Remove the outer skin of squash, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  6. Add the coconut oil to a pan, heat on medium.
  7. Add the squash, cinnamon and honey.
  8. Cook until mostly soft and serve.

Thanksgiving Green Beans

Thanksgiving green beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped

Directions:

  1. Steam fresh green beans for about 8 minutes, until about half-done.
  2. Combine the coconut oil, sea salt, hazelnuts, lemon zest and rosemary in the skillet.
  3. Cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the green beans, coat, and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Kale

Gluten-free kale and cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches of kale
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Steam the kale until bright green.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts until they are golden brown.
  3. Allow both to cool, then mix together in a large serving bowl.
  4. Add the cranberries and olive oil, then serve.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (or 1-3/4 cup fresh homemade pumpkin puree)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Crust:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Process the nuts in a food processor until flour-like consistency.
  3. In a bowl, mix the nuts, salt and coconut oil.
  4. Spread the crust mixture into a pie pan.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix all of the filling ingredients in a bowl.
  7. Fill evenly into the baked crust.
  8. Bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Kristen Bobek headshotDr. Kristen Bobik is the founder of Balance Chiropractic and Wellness Practitioners. She was first introduced to chiropractic as a teenager after suffering injuries in a car accident. She was astonished by her speedy recovery and the resolution of many other health issues. Her interest blossomed as she worked in a chiropractic office doing marketing and assisting with rehab. It seemed only natural that she take the next step and pursue a career in a field that fascinated her. In addition to being a Chiropractor she is also board certified and licensed in acupuncture.

More gluten-free articles

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Gluten-free diet: Hype or health?
4 Gluten-free dishes for your holiday celebrations

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