Thanksgiving is upon us and I couldn’t be happier. I tend to be a bit Grinchy once December rolls around, but I end November on a high note with all of my favorite foods, people, and holiday. Special occasions can be tricky when you’re gluten-free, but over the years we’ve put together a menu that is allergen-friendly yet not missing any old favorites or traditional dishes. Many Thanksgiving staples are naturally gluten-free—turkey, potatoes, roasted vegetables are all safe. Here are a few sides that will make your day easier, whether you’re bringing a dish to someone else’s home or hosting in your own.
Whether your cornbread stands alone or is turned into stuffing as in our kitchen, a slightly sweet, moist and light cornbread is a great place to begin.
2 large eggs
¼ c milk
¼ c applesauce
2 T* oil
¼ c brown sugar
½ c corn kernels, mashed slightly for texture
½ c coarsely ground cornmeal
½ c. gluten free all-purpose flour
½ t xanthan gum
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
*Note: “T” stands for tablespoon; “t” stands for teaspoon.
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 x 13 pan. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, and corn. In another bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and soda, and salt. Form a well in the dry ingredients and stir in wet ingredients. Pour into prepared pan, bake 20-22 minutes, or until just firm in center and slightly browned.
Gluten-free Cornmeal Herb Biscuits
For as long as I can remember, my mom made these special biscuits on Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving only. We looked forward to them all year-long. They were the first holiday recipe to get converted when we became gluten-free. Our first year’s attempt didn’t come out quite right, but I kept trying recipes and tweaking till I found the one. Two very important steps are chilling the uncooked biscuits and baking sheet in the freezer, and dusting the biscuits with flour before baking. Gluten free dough doesn’t act quite the same as traditional dough, and these extra additions to the process made the difference in the outcome. The recipe begins here; to make them into Thanksgiving biscuits, make the following adjustments: Substitute four ounces of shredded carrots for the cheese. Into the flour mix, add one teaspoon each of dried basil and parsley flakes.
Pie is another part of the menu needing some special attention. Very fortunately, an excellent pie crust recipe and even how-to-video for rolling it out await you. Once you have this lovely crust prepared (one recipe makes two balls of dough, so you can go all out with two pies! We always do) you can use it for any of your old favorites. Pumpkin, apple crumb, and pecan always grace our table.