I remember the fear I felt going into my first gluten-free holiday season convinced none of my favorite dishes could be converted to gluten-free. To my surprise, even many years ago, gluten-free holiday cooking is not only possible but can be absolutely delicious!
One of the biggest things to remember with gluten-free cooking is where gluten can hide. One of the more surprising ingredients it can hide in is broth and stock. When making your dishes, be sure to grab a gluten-free broth! Many of the organic brands are gluten-free (GF). Shopping at Kroger and Giant Eagle makes it easy for you, as the price tag will have a GF symbol if the product is in fact, GF.
Many staples for Thanksgiving are already gluten-free like the turkey, potatoes, and vegetables. Now the stuffing, pies, and casseroles- well not so much. That does not mean, however, that having a delicious GF version isn’t impossible!
Be sure to purchase 2-3 loaves of gluten-free bread the week before the holiday. Let them sit out and become slightly stale. The day of, proceed with cooking by breaking up the bread, mixing in some broth, seasoning, and eggs before baking. I like to include some shredded celery in my stuffing, which incorporates some liquid to help the stuffing not dry out. The eggs can do the same thing, though, so definitely not required! Gluten-free stuffing is significantly tastier when using a “white” gluten-free bread as opposed to a grain bread.
Pies can be easily converted to gluten-free by using a gluten-free pie crust and using GF filler. Pillsbury makes a pie dough ready-made, or of course, making it from scratch is an option too. When baking gluten-free, the key is your flour mix. Be sure to use one with xantham gum (or add it separately). Typically fruit pie filler is naturally gluten-free, especially if making it yourself. Apple pie is a favorite around here. I like to use the Pillsbury pie dough, fill it with cut up apples mixed with cinnamon and a hefty dose of brown sugar, and topped with a GF oatmeal topping. I have also made pumpkin pie and chocolate pie, but my family is more of a cake family- so I usually do a carrot cake for Thanksgiving!
While casseroles are not a huge hit in my family, the biggest thing to be mindful of is recipes that call for cream of chicken (or cream of mushroom). Most soups like this use flour as a thickener, but don’t clearly label the cans as NOT being gluten-free. Pacific Foods is a great brand of cream soups that are gluten-free and work wonderfully in recipes.
Bread and rolls used to be the one thing I’d make two of. Not anymore! Gluten-free Bisquick is fantastic and makes delicious biscuits! It’s always nice when I find a delicious GF option that keeps me from having to make both a GF and a normal option. Serve with a fall jelly or honey butter and no one will ever know the difference!
We are a baking household come Christmas time! And everyone enjoys our delicious GF goodies, often not even knowing it’s GF.
If you like cakes, like my family, the GF cake doctor cookbook is a must have. You can make dozens of desserts from a GF boxed cake mix “doctored up” according to the cookbook. It makes for effortless perfection every time! Our favorites so far are the carrot cake, pumpkin spice cake, and the cinnamon breakfast cake. Delicious!
You must use xantham gum, I repeat, MUST. Often times people think it’s only needed for cakes but it’s essential for cookies, too. Some GF flour mixes have it already mixed in. If not, purchase and mix in separately. My favorite cookies to make are sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and 7 layer magic bars. For the magic bars, I usually buy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and blend them with butter for the “crust” in place of the graham crackers. While delicious, I make no claims regarding the healthiness of these cookies! 🙂
For sugar cookies, be sure to add your flour slowly. GF flour can absorb differently so sometimes the recipe will need to be adjusted in the moment depending on how the wet ingredients are mixing with the flour. I convert my late mothers infamous sour cream sugar cookie recipe to be GF every year, and while they always turn out perfectly, being flexible with adding a little extra flour is essential!