The Complete Guide for How to Have a Stress-Free and Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Dr. Doni Wilson has prepared a complete guide for a gluten-free Thanksgiving, including 5 stress-free holiday tips, a gluten-free Thanksgiving meal plan, a complete set of recipes, and a handy shopping list!

Talking with patients this week, it became clear that it can be overwhelming to think of turning Thanksgiving into a gluten-free event. Once you are on a path towards improving your health by avoiding food allergens, it is disruptive to be re-exposed to those foods that are all-to-often present on a holiday. At the same time, it can be a stretch to expect that everyone at the table will have the same health goals, all of which can add to the stress of the holiday.

That’s why I decided to create this quick guide for a gluten-free Thanksgiving. My hope is that it will not only help you stick to your gluten-free regimen, but also minimize your stress and optimize your enjoyment of the day.

In this guide, I’m going to share 5 tips on how to plan the big meal, and to share the workload, and help you choose the recipes and resources to help you along the way. I’ve also included a sample meal plan along with recipes with a pumpkin pie recipe with coconut whipped cream and a soup for the day after. By implementing these tips, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a Thanksgiving Day that is good for your health. gluten-free, recipes, holidays, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner, shopping list, gluten free diet, eating well

If you want a more comprehensive version, download Dr. Doni’s Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner Guide – it’s free, and filled with holiday recipes and a convenient shopping list to make your dinner plans simple and healthy.

Five Tips for a Stress-free, Gluten-free Thanksgiving:

  1. Plan in Advance. Have a planning session and help each other out. Get on the phone or in-person with the other people who will be attending Thanksgiving, and talk about who is going to do what. Offer to split up the to-do list and each take on a couple tasks. Those who like to cook can each choose a dish or two, and those who prefer to stay out of the kitchen can help with other tasks, such as setting the table, running to the store, and cleaning. If you are gluten-free but not everyone is, then you can offer to bring a gluten-free dish. By working together in this way there is less replication of dishes, less stress and confusion about who is doing what, and an increased feeling of cooperation and togetherness.
  1. Get Inspired. Turn to experts for inspiration. Don’t feel like you have to come up with all the ideas yourself. There are several wonderful resources that provide a plan for an entire gluten-free meal. Page through them to get ideas and for recipes that you think will work well for your meal. Another option is to search the Internet for blogs and articles about recipes that are gluten-free. There are a wealth of recipes online that are not only gluten-free, but also dairy, egg, and sugar free. If you are wondering whether or not it exists—it probably does! Here are 2 expert resources that I recommend:
  1. Keep it Simple. Simplify by choosing favorite dishes that are tasty but not too time intensive. While it can be tempting to pick several new recipes, or to start from scratch, diving in too deep can backfire and leave you without enough time to finish them all. As you can probably tell, this comes from personal experience! Instead, if you get inspired by new recipes, I encourage you to simplify. Perhaps you can choose one new recipe—one that can be completed in a relatively short amount of time, and without too many steps involved. There’s much less stress that way.
  1. Don’t Overdo It. Don’t try to make everything from scratch. I know that it’s the way our grandmothers always did it (mine did!), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn to some great pre-made solutions that can simplify your day. For example, instead of making a gluten-free pie crust (which my daughter Ella says is a lot of work), look in the freezer section at the store for pre-made gluten-free pie crust, such as this one by Gillian’s. You’ll also find gluten-free dinner rolls in the freezer section of stores that sell gluten-free products, or in online bakeries that will ship them right to you. Voila! If your local grocery store doesn’t stock these items, you may want to check out one of these online stores:
    • WellAmy, where you can shop for allergen-free products.
    • Sami’s Bakery, where you can order gluten-free bread products.
    • Mariposa Bakery, where you can order a “Thanksgiving kit,” including gluten-free rolls, stuffing, and a pie.
  1. Work Out the Kinks. Do a practice run of the recipe before Thanksgiving. You don’t have to do this with every recipe, just the ones that you’re worried about. For instance, when replacing an old favorite recipe with a new, gluten-free version, try out the recipe before the big day. This way you can work out the kinks and determine any adaptations that you may want to make to the recipe. You may also find that you don’t like the finished product! Better to find that out before Thanksgiving Day, so you have a chance to choose another option.

Your Basic Thanksgiving Meal Plan:

Turkey, lamb or Cornish game hen—or your preferred vegetarian option.

Vegetables—Could be roasted brussels sprouts (and other vegetables), steamed broccoli, sautéed green beans, or your favorite veggie.

Gluten-free Stuffing—Choose between rice or gluten-free bread crumbs to make traditional stuffing gluten-free. Another option is to make grain-free stuffing, which can be done with cauliflower, along with bacon or sausage, onions, celery, and herbs.

Potatoes—Potatoes are already gluten-free, so that’s easy. If you want to make mashed potatoes dairy-free, just use a different “milk” product such as coconut or almond milk, and olive oil instead of butter. Another fun alternative is to make mashed cauliflower instead!

Sweet Potatoes—Already gluten-free, so your favorite recipe will do. I’ve shared Ella’s favorite recipe below.

Gluten-free Gravy—Instead of using wheat flour in your gravy, you can use cornstarch, arrowroot, or a gluten-free flour such as rice flour. You will also find gluten-free gravy packets at many grocery stores.

Cranberry Sauce—Purchase it already made, or make your own with fresh cranberries. I included a recipe below that I’ve used many times with success.

Ella’s Gluten-free Cornbread—Ella encouraged me to share her own cornbread recipe that she tried out last week. It’s scrumptious! Find it below.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie—Whether you make your own gluten-free pie crust, or buy one at the store, gluten-free pumpkin pie is a breeze— and delicious too. Find two different variations in the recipe section that follows, plus a recipe for pumpkin coconut whipping cream!

Don’t forget “the day after” turkey soup! Inevitably there will be leftovers and what better than to use them in a delicious soup. This will make your “day after Thanksgiving” even more relaxing and restoring.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s head to the grocery store!

Your Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes (Serves 6-8 people):

Oven-Roasted (Free Range if possible) Turkey, Lamb or Cornish Game Hen

From The Stress Remedy book.

Ingredients:
6-8 pound turkey or game hen(s) OR 3 pound turkey breast or leg of lamb
3 Tbsp mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine mustard, oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread marinade on the meat and place in a marinade bag or other container, and then into the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for turkey, 325 degrees F for lamb. Remove meat from fridge 30 minutes prior to putting it into the oven.

Remove meat from marinade bag and place it into a roasting pan. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Place the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven (may place the meat directly on the rack and put the roasting pan on the lower shelf; keep in mind that the meat will cook faster that way).

Bake for 30–40 minutes, then add water to the baking dish and bake for another 30–45 minutes until the roast is brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees for turkey (125 to 145 degrees for lamb). Remove from oven and cover for 10 minutes before carving.

 

Savory Gluten-Free Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, or (if you are dairy intolerant) replace with grapeseed oil or avocado oil
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound pork sausage, ground turkey or bacon (optional)
  • 1 pound or 1 package gluten-free stuffing mix, or 8 ounces of cauliflower or Portobello mushrooms, cut in ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (raw, unsalted)
  • 1 cup diced dried apricots (sulfite-free)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (12 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme and/or sage
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat or use 1/2 cup preferred oil. Add the celery and onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cook the pork sausage or ground turkey in the same skillet, crumbling with a fork, until it is no longer pink. Remove from the heat and add the celery mixture.
  3. Add the stuffing mix, apricots, and almonds. Stir to combine.
  4. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the stock in a small saucepan just until the butter melts. Pour over the stuffing mixture. Stir well to moisten the stuffing. Season with the thyme and/or sage and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bake the stuffing in a pan at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetables

From The Stress Remedy book.

Ingredients:
1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, sliced and diced
1 zucchini, sliced and diced
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1–2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh or dried herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley
3–4 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pile cut vegetables into a baking dish. Season with sea salt and pepper, and pour oil over the vegetables, then mix thoroughly.

Bake for 45 minutes, mixing the vegetables half-way through the cooking time.

 

Dr. Doni’s Sweet Potato Souffle

Ingredients:
3 cups sweet potatoes (about 5 large potatoes), peeled and baked or boiled
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (or 10 drops liquid stevia)
2 large eggs, beaten (or substitute with EnerG egg replacer)
1/2 cup coconut oil, unsalted butter or ghee, melted
1/2 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream)
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Place sweet potatoes, honey, eggs, butter, coconut milk, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl or food processor. Mash potatoes and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour into a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. May sprinkle pecans on top.

 

Gluten-Free Gravy

From GlutenFreeGirl.com, author of Gluten-Free Girl Every Day.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch or 2 tsp. arrowroot
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 quart turkey stock (chicken stock or vegetable stock will work fine too)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, pour in the stock, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. While you are waiting for the stock to boil, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the butter has melted fully, add the gluten-free flour and cornstarch or arrowroot, and stir until all the lumps of flour are smooth.
  4. Continue to stir until the flour is fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently, to avoid burning.
  5. By now, you stock should have come to a boil. When it does, pour in the roux (the butter/flour paste), a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  6. Whisk the roux into the gravy. Whisk continuously
  7. When the gravy starts to thicken, pour in a little more roux, and whisk again.
  8. Continue adding the roux and whisking until the gravy is a nice, smooth consistency.
  9. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

  1. Wash the cranberries and discard any soft ones.
  2. In a 1-1/2-quart sauce pot, combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger and cinnamon.
  3. Bring to a boil over a medium to high heat.
  4. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and bring to a simmer.
  5. After 5 minutes, add the cranberries, and cook for a further 15 minutes. The cranberries should burst and the sauce will thicken.
  6. Remove from heat as soon as you see cranberries breaking open.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a dish or storage jar.
  8. Serve immediately or chill before serving, as preferred.

 

Ella’s Gluten-Free Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of gluten-free cornbread mix – such as Glutino Cornbread Mix
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or maple syrup, or 5-10 drops of stevia)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 and 1/3 cups almond milk (or other preferred milk)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten (or use an egg substitute, such as EnerG egg replacer)
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  3. Combine the cornbread mix and palm sugar (or another sweetener).
  4. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until moistened.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden.
  6. Serve warm.

Ultimate Nut Pie Crust with Pumpkin Filling

To make the Nut Crust
Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups walnuts or hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted (can substitute with ghee, coconut oil, or Earth’s Balance vegan butter)

Instructions:

  1. Blend nuts, baking soda, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
  2. Add the butter to the mixture, and pulse until butter is mixed in.
  3. Scrape the batter into a 9-inch tar or pie pan.
  4. Use a spatula and/or your fingers to smooth the batter over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. It works better to spread the batter thinner across the bottom of the pan and thicker around the edges of the crust.
  5. Place the pan on a cookie sheet (to keep the bottom from burning) and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove promptly from oven, so it doesn’t get too dark.
  6. While crust is baking, make the pumpkin pie filling.

To make the Pumpkin Filling
Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 3 eggs, whisked – For those with egg reactions, replace with EnerG egg replacer or gelatin

IInstructions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients, and blend with cake beater or whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into the pre-baked crust.
  3. Be careful not to overfill the crust. You might have a little bit of the pumpkin mixture left over.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  5. You will know the pie is ready to be taken out of the oven when the center is almost firm, and jiggles only a tiny bit if you shake the pan.
  6. Let the pie cool completely before cutting into it.
  7. Serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream

Pumpkin Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk. TIP: Put the can upside down in refrigerator the night before.
  • 1/4 cup freshly roasted pumpkin or pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 12 drops vanilla crème stevia

Directions:

  1. Open the can of coconut milk and pour the liquid out – you could save this and use it in a smoothie.
  2. Scoop the solid cream out of the bottom of the can of coconut milk.
  3. Place the coconut cream in a food processor.
  4. Add pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, and stevia to blender.
  5. Puree on highest setting. Mixture will be thick, so turn off blender and scrape down sides if necessary.
  6. Puree until smooth and serve.

 

Turkey or Lamb Soup with Potatoes/Rice and Veggies

From The Stress Remedy book.

Ingredients:
5–6 lamb shanks or 6–8 ounces of turkey
8 oz low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
4 to 8 oz water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot or onion
1 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots (2 carrots), sliced or minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup celery (2 celery stalks), sliced or minced
1 cup brown rice or 4 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen baby peas or green beans

Optional:
6–8 ounces tomato paste, or diced tomotoes (omit if you avoid nightshades)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano, rosemary, cumin and/or thyme
Sea salt and pepper, if desired

Directions:
Roast the turkey or lamb, or use left overs.

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, and sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently until tender. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add carrots, celery, turkey or lamb, and broth plus water. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low, add, salt, pepper and herbs.

Simmer 30 minutes (or longer if desired), until turkey/lamb is tender. Add brown rice or diced potatoes, and if desired, add tomato paste and vinegar; simmer 15 minutes, or until potatoes/vegetables are tender. Add frozen peas 5–10 minutes prior to serving.

Your Gluten-Free Shopping List (Serves 6-8 people):

Here’s a grocery list for you to take with you to the store. It contains everything you need to make all the recipes* above. Be sure to look for “Gluten-free” on all packages. If you’d like to make your Thanksgiving organic, which will also make your meal even healthier, then choose organic options when at the store.

*Note: This shopping list includes all the recipes above except for the GlutenFreeGoddess vegan pumpkin pie, so if you’d like to make that pie, be sure to purchase those ingredients in addition to what is listed here.

Produce:
2 large onions (or 3 large onions)
6-8 cloves garlic
1 fresh ginger root (or use ground ginger)
3 stalks celery
8 ounces button mushrooms OR 2 large portobello mushrooms OR Cauliflower (for grain-free stuffing)
3 carrots
1 zucchini
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
6 sweet potatoes
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 lemon
4-8 white or red potatoes (if desired mashed or in soup)
1 package fresh sage leaves
1 package fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh parsley

Packaged items:
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Ground nutmeg
Ground ginger
Ground cardamom (optional)
Vanilla extract
Chopped nuts, 3 cups (for pie crust)
Gluten-free chicken broth, 32 oz (get 2 if you’ll be making soup)
Whole grain GF mustard
Honey or maple syrup, 14 ounces (or sugar if you prefer)
Liquid vanilla stevia (if you’ll use it)
12 oz almond milk (or other preferred milk)
Canned coconut milk, 2 cans (3 if making whipped cream)
15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
Gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
Cornbread mix
GF Cornstarch
Arrowroot powder
Baking soda
Olive oil
Sea salt
Pepper

Refrigerated:
1 dozen large eggs (or box of EnerG egg replacer)
Unsalted butter or ghee, 13 ounces
6-8 pound turkey or game hen(s) OR 3 pound turkey breast or leg of lamb

Hope this is helpful to you and your family. And again, if you want the more comprehensive version that you can download, please grab your free copy of Dr. Doni’s Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner Guide.

From Ella and me, wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

–Dr Doni
22nd November 2014