Celebrating Thanksgiving completely gluten-free can seem intimidating, especially if you haven't been eating gluten-free for very long. Picturing the array of gluten-filled stuffing, rolls, gravy and desserts at the typical Thanksgiving dinner can bring on a severe attack of fear, envy or both, especially if you've recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
But in recent years, gluten-free food manufacturers have made it simpler to follow a gluten-free diet during Thanksgiving by recreating many crucial ingredients, such as stuffing and gravy mixes, in a gluten-free form.
You can still choose to cook your gluten-free Thanksgiving meal from scratch following these tips to make a traditional gluten-free Thanksgiving menu, and by using these great gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes from About.com's Expert on Gluten-Free Cooking.
But if you're interested in shortcuts (or, like me, simply run out of time around the holidays!), you might want to incorporate some of these gluten-free ingredients into your Thanksgiving feast:
- Gluten-free gravy mix. Maxwell's Kitchen, a specialty gluten-free food manufacturer, makes four different types of gravy mixes, including turkey, chicken, pork and brown gravy flavors. All you need to do is add water, whisk the mixture in a saucepan for a few minutes, and you have gravy for your turkey.
Bouillon cubes. Several of my pre-gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes call for bouillon cubes — to add extra flavor to stuffing, for example, or as part of a casserole. Maplegrove Gluten-Free Foods, another specialty gluten-free foods manufacturer, makes vegan-approved gluten-free bouillon cubes in three flavors: French onion vegetable medley, vegetarian chicken and vegetarian beef.
Or, you can choose a mainstream option: Herb-Ox Bouillon Cubes in beef, chicken and vegetable appear on Hormel Foods' gluten-free products list, which means they're gluten-free to below 20 parts per million, or GF-20 levels.
Stuffing. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same holiday without stuffing for your turkey. For gluten-free safety reasons you never should cook gluten-containing stuffing in a turkey you plan to eat. But if you make gluten-free stuffing for your turkey, people may not be able to tell the difference. The Gluten Free Trading Company offers stuffing cubes and unseasoned bread cubes you can use to make your gluten-free turkey stuffing. The stuffing cubes include poultry seasoning, while you can add your own seasoning blend to the plain cubes. Just add some broth or bouillon, a little oil and whatever chopped vegetables you want to create your gluten-free stuffing.
Aleia's Gluten-Free Foods also makes stuffing mixes in both plain and savory flavors. These stuffing mix options might come in handy if you're stuffing a turkey at a relative's house, since they already contain safe gluten-free spices. Here's my guide to making gluten-free stuffing for Thanksgiving.
Dinner rolls. Most families want dinner rolls at Thanksgiving, and they're arguably the most difficult menu item to re-create gluten-free — some of my family members just won't touch gluten-free bread. There's no question that fresh-baked gluten-free bread beats the store-bought variety hands-down, and if you have the time, this gluten-free rolls recipe would likely be a hit.
But if you're pressed for time and need gluten-free rolls you can simply pop in the oven, Ener-G tapioca dinner rolls (free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts) might do the trick. Barkat Home Fresh Bread Rolls also are available by mail-order in the United States.
Pies. Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without pumpkin pie. If you live near a Whole Foods store with Gluten-Free Bakehouse products (not all Whole Foods have them), the store likely will have various ready-made gluten-free pies, including pumpkin pie and Southern pecan pie for the holidays.
Of course, you always can bake your own pie using a ready-made gluten-free pie crust - I list where to find them in my Gluten-Free Pie Crusts Galore! article. Or, if you can find the time, make your own gluten-free pie crust and fill it yourself with fresh pumpkin or apples.