In case hosting my very first Thanksgiving doesn’t seem daunting enough, I have the added challenge of having to make it gluten-friendly to accommodate my husband’s allergy, while keeping it palatable for everyone else. There will be five people total: the two of us, my mother-in-law, my husband’s best friend and his husband. That seems doable, right? I’ve hosted dinners for more people than that. This dinner in particular consists of far more dishes, including one giant bird that is apparently difficult to get just right…but no worries, I’m sure that with a carefully timed list of what to cook when, and a lot of wine, it will all turn out just fine.
I was going to order an entire pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal – I had the whole thing in my cart on FreshDirect. But then I realized that since my husband is gluten-free, I’d have to make him a special stuffing dish…and gravy…and mashed potatoes…and by that point, I might as well just cook the whole meal from scratch. The pre-cooked meal already came with two different kinds of stuffing, and it seemed like it might be more work to juggle warming up three different stuffing dishes than cooking just one.
Fortunately, with my #1 gluten-free cooking tip, it’s pretty easy to make a gluten-free Thanksgiving that everyone will like. I would even bet that no one would know it was gluten-free if I didn’t tell them. Since I’m not actually betting anyone, let’s make it a million dollars!
In addition to the turkey (which I did cheat on a little and ordered a raw but prepared bird that I literally just have to take out of a bag and put in the oven), here are the side dishes I’ll be making, along with the substitutions that will make them gluten-free:
Stuffing with Sausage
I’m a big fan of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa (the more butter, the better!), so I found this stuffing recipe of hers that looked great. There is only one substitution needed: instead of regular white bread, I’m using Against the Grain Baguettes, which are buttery and eggy and delicious. We have the rosemary ones on hand, so I’ll try those for an even herbier stuffing. In fact, they *might* even make the recipe taste better gluten-free. (Ok, maybe not as good as if I were using sourdough, but still pretty good.)
I found another Ina Garten recipe that is already naturally gluten-free, but you could make any favorite mashed potato recipe, and if it calls for flour, just substitute one of the gluten-free flour blends like Cup 4 Cup or Pamela’s. Or you could even just leave the flour out entirely (it’s only added to thicken slightly).
Yet another Ina Garten recipe, and all I need to do is substitute the flour for a gluten-free blend. I’m going to try to make it ahead with 1.5 cups of chicken broth, since I don’t want to be trying to whipping up the gravy in the eleventh hour when everyone is just ready to eat, and then add some turkey drippings at the very end.
Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash
This veggie dish is already gluten-free. Who needs a green bean casserole?! I was never much of a fan anyway (so mushy).
This one is naturally gluten-free, and so much better than the gelatinous canned kind. And easy – make it ahead and refrigerate it!
I searched for a regular old pumpkin bread recipe, picked the best looking one I found, and I’m just going to substitute the flour with my gluten-free blend on hand. Voila! Magic.
I’ve never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, and since I decided to make the pumpkin bread, I’m going with my mom’s apple crisp recipe for dessert, which was always a favorite of mine (similar to this Epicurious recipe). Again, the only substitution is the flour for the crumble on the top – swapping regular for a gluten-free blend. Serve with vanilla ice cream, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
So there you have it: a gluten-free Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday, and don’t forget your elastic waist pants.