Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Planner
An RN for 14 years, I have been following a strict gluten-free diet for six years of improving health! Now I help others as a Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance Educator. I work one on one with people on meal planning, shopping, cooking and dining out gluten-free. I will also work with children who have behavioral issues related to gluten or other food sensitivities.Â My book "Gluten-Free PORTLAND" is a comprehensive resource guide to the gluten-free diet and is available on my website www.glutenfreechoice.com. My other websites are: www.WellBladder.com and www.neighborhoodnurse.net.View all articles by Wendy Cohan
Celiac.com 11/12/2008 - It's not as hard as you might think! It's easy to start with the big items—a gluten-free turkey, gluten-free stuffing, gluten-free pumpkin pie, and of course, gluten-free gravy. All are easily achievable by the average home cook, and no one will be able to tell anything is different or unusual—just a lovingly prepared meal full of flavor.
Order an organic turkey from New Seasons or Whole Foods in plenty of time, or choose a less expensive option such as Norbest, Riverside, or Honeysuckle White (my favorite). Some commercially produced turkeys contain gluten in the broth used to inject them full of flavorings, salt, and fat. It is important to avoid eating gluten with your conscientiously prepared meal by choosing a gluten-free turkey as your centerpiece. Check the label and it should say no MSG and no gluten on the front or under the nutrition label on the back. Season turkey with high quality herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary, or go Latin with cumin, chilies, and lime, but forgo additional salt. Most turkeys are pre-salted—some excessively so. The turkeys I surveyed at my discount grocer ranged in Sodium Content/Serving from 160 mg. to 325 mg. Honeysuckle White, which I cooked at my Thanksgiving Prep class, had 200 mg. and I did not need to add any salt when cooking. It was moist, flavorful, and delicious.
Gluten-free stuffing is easy, just buy or make the best gluten-free bread, cube it and dry in a low temperature oven. Angeline's bread, available locally here in the Pacific Northwest, makes excellent stuffing (it does contain milk powder). You can also make a wild rice/brown rice and dried cranberry pilaf style stuffing, which can be cooked separately, or used to stuff the bird. You can make terrific stuffing using my recipe for focaccia bread, available in my Thanksgiving Planner (see below).
Use sweet rice flour to replace the traditional wheat flour in thickening gravy. If it's not quite thick enough you can add a little tapioca or potato starch.
I’ll inject a note of caution here, for those folks with gluten-related bladder problems. If you still have a sensitive bladder, take it easy on the cranberry sauce. I know, it’s recommended to prevent bladder problems, but in reality, it is quite harsh on the bladders of those who already have them. You may be able to tolerate a little apple cider, though, and herb tea is a good option, especially some nettle leaf tea before you have dinner, whether it’s one you’re preparing or not—nettle leaf can help to minimize any food sensitivity reactions you may have, although it can’t prevent a reaction to gluten, so do maintain your gluten-free diet, and don’t be afraid to ask your host or hostess about ingredients. It’s best to do it before-hand rather than at the dinner table. Think about how relaxed you’ll be if you already have your game plan when you get to the table, and know exactly what you can eat, and which dishes you’ll need to politely pass on to the next guest.
For pumpkin pie, all you really need to do is make a killer pie crust and make sure your filling is dairy free if necessary. You can substitute Earth Balance for regular margarine—it's gluten-free and dairy-free, or if you tolerate dairy products, use butter. Or, you can use oil to make pie crust. I’ll include recipes for both crusts, and the pies, here. To replace milk in your pumpkin custard for the pie, there are many options to choose from: rice, soy, almond, hazelnut, or hemp, but for extra richness, try coconut milk—it has a very mild taste and won't overwhelm the pumpkin flavor. I'm very happy with the recipe I included in my Thanksgiving Planner & Recipe Guide.
Poached pears or other fruit make a lovely alternative to pie, especially when prepared with the finest ingredients and served in an attractive dessert bowl. I use my Mom’s retro 1940’s curvy glass bowl, which always brings back happy memories. No, I wasn’t actually around yet when she got the bowl!
Here’s the menu for my 2008 Thanksgiving dinner:
- Sangria with Cranberries
- Yeasted Pumpkin Bread
- Traditional Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
- Traditional Tukey-Sage Stuffing (Made with Focaccia Bread)
- Traditional Turkey Gravy
- Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Yam Gratin with Spiced Pecans
- Green Salad with Satsumas, Avocados, And Lime Dressing
- Wild-Rice-Cranberry-Pecan Pilaf (Alternate Stuffing)
- Oven Roasted Green Beans or Asparagus
- Cranberry Pineapple Salsa
- Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream (Optional)
TWO GLUTEN-FREE PIE CRUSTS
Tender Gluten-Free Pie Crust
(Adapted from Karen Robertson)
1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend (+ up to 1 tablespoon more as needed)
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup potato starch
1 ½ teaspoon guar gum or 1 ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum, not both
2 teaspoons fructose
9 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan margarine or shortening*
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar or cold water
(if using shortening, add ½ teaspoon salt)
- Mix together dry ingredients, then cut in margarine or shortening carefully until there are no lumps larger than pea-size.
- Beat together the eggs, and water or vinegar.
- Make a well in dry ingredients and add egg and liquid mixture, stirring carefully with fork to combine.
- When dough is just barely beginning to hold together, turn out onto a floured surface and flatten and fold, and flatten and fold again. Do not overwork dough.
- Roll out carefully between wax paper.
- Remove top sheet of wax paper, and invert crust into pan. Using wax paper, press crust into pan and form, then remove wax paper. Use a similar technique for top crust if using.
SOY-FREE, EGG-FREE OIL-BASED PIE CRUST
(Adapted from Betty Hagman’s recipe)
1 cup gluten-free flour blend
½ cup potato starch
½ cup sweet rice flour
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fructose
3 tablespoons cold rice milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
- Mix together all dry ingredients, then mix together rice milk and oil.
- Make well in dry ingredients and add rice milk/oil mixture, stirring gently with fork to combine.
- Proceed as directed in previous recipe.
PUMKIN PIE (Gluten-Free)
Choose either one of the pie crust dough and make as directed. Place in pie plate, and carefully cover inside of crust with foil. Fill pie crust with dried beans or rice, and pre-bake crust about 10 minutes at 350. When edges are set, remove foil and beans, and bake another 5 minutes, or until bottom crust is beginning to crisp slightly.
Here’s the filling:
This makes enough for two 8 inch pies, so if you’re only doing one, cut it in half.
2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, or 1 29-ounce can of pumpkin
4 whole eggs
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
1 teasoon sea salt
1 teasoon cinnamon
¼ teasoon cloves
½ teasoon allspice
1 teasoon ginger
½ cup fructose
1/3 cup dark agave syrup
2 teasoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup full fat (not light) coconut milk
2/3 cup unsweetened rice or almond milk
If making only half the recipe, you can make this in the blender, which is very quick and easy, and also makes it easier to pour into the crust. The full recipe will exceed the capacity of most blenders.
- Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, in approximately the order they are listed. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour into pre-baked pie shell, and bake for fifty minutes at 325. Remember to reduce oven temperature after pre-baking the pie shells. Check for doneness every 5 minutes thereafter, by inserting a paring knife into the pie; it should come out clean.
FOCACCIA BREAD WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
Prepare liquid ingredients in a small bowl:
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fructose
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (light tasting olive oil works well)
- 2 eggs + 1 egg white at room temperature, or equivalent egg substitute (Ener-G foods, or flax seed & boiling water – beaten with fork until foamy)
- 1 ¾ cups warm milk substitute (rice milk etc.) (110-115 degrees)
- 1 package active dry yeast (equiv. to 1 tablespoon) + 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon fructose
- 3 ¼ cups all purpose baking mix (2 parts brown rice flour, 1 part sorghum flour, 1 part tapioca starch, ½ part potato starch)
- ¼ cup teff flour
- ¾ cup amaranth flour
- 4 teaspoons guar gum
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- Combine all wet ingredients and beat together with whisk. Add flour mixture all at once, stirring on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 full minutes. Let dough rest in bowl, covered with towel for 10 minutes, and it will firm up slightly.
- Wash and dry hands, then coat with gluten-free cooking spray. Scoop 2 equal portions of dough onto prepared pizza pans, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Pat dough into smooth round, and begin to work dough out into a round about ½” thick and about 10 inches in diameter. When dough begins to stick to hands, rinse hands in warm water, shake it off, then continue to spread dough. When dough reaches desired shape and size, use fingers to lightly dimple dough, and sprinkle lightly with granulated garlic. Cover with towel, and place in warm, draft-free place to rise for 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove bread from oven and brush with olive oil - add caramelized* onions and return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).