Gluten-Free Holiday Menu
Slow-Roasted Turkey with Cream Gravy
Turn these traditional recipes into those that are safe for the gluten-intolerant with a few easy tips and tricks. Just look for • • at the bottom of each slide for gluten-free substitutes and recipe changes.
First up, the centerpiece. Take the cheffy route to perfection: Cut the bird into parts and slow roast them, basting with a touch of cream, which gives you fantastically moist, rich meat, white and dark alike. If breaking down the turkey seems too advanced, have your butcher do it for you.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Our gravy is thickened with cornstarch, which is gluten-free.
Perfect Beef Tenderloin
Inspired by J. Kenji López-Alt, author of The Food Lab and managing culinary director of Serious Eats, we take a 3-step, 5-ingredient approach to the best holiday roast: First, season, chill, and air-dry the beef overnight to create a flavorful crust; second, slow roast in a low oven to keep it extra juicy; and third, broil a few minutes to brown it. Serve with Board Dressing, Classic Horseradish Cream Sauce, or both. You can build the sauce on the cutting board where you'll carve your roast. Chop, stir, and mound the ingredients. Then rest the cooked roast on the dressing, roll it, and carve it so the roast's juices and the dressing marry.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Like other dairy products, be sure your butter doesn't contain additives with gluten.
Caramelized Leek and Spinach Dip
Beautifully caramelized leeks and onions cannot be rushed; resist the urge to crank up the heat. Leeks become especially silky and sweet when left to cook awhile. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water, and stir (the liquid will evaporate during cooking). Instead of bread or crackers, serve the dip with an array of vegetables, such as baby carrots, endive leaves, radishes, diagonally sliced cucumber, and mini sweet bell peppers for a bit of freshness, color, and crunch. You'll also save calories and room for the rest of the meal.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Many dairy products are gluten free, but some contain additives with gluten. Read the labels carefully. When in doubt, seek out products that are specifically labeled gluten free.
Old-Fashioned Cranberry Sauce
Good, fresh cranberry sauce is incredibly easy and rewarding to make. The berries quickly pop under heat and release lots of pectin for beautiful texture and a bit of crunch. This basic recipe, spiked with lush port wine and brightened by citrus, takes all of 15 minutes to prepare.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Make as is: This recipe contains no gluten as written.
Potato and Leek Gratin
This rustic potato side has it all – contrasting flavors, appeasing texture, and a melty, golden crust. The protein and fat present in the milk and cheese balance out the carbohydrates in the potatoes to create a satiating, diabetic-friendly side. Bonus: you can reheat the leftovers in the oven to serve with eggs and fruit the next morning for breakfast.
Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans
Wild rice stuffing flecked with pecans and dried cherries offers another whole-grain medium. Be sure to cook the rice to al dente first before assembling the stuffing to bake—this way, the grain cooks to the right consistency. If you're worried about mushiness, start with a pilaf method: Sauté the grains in a few teaspoons of oil for a minute or two. The oil coating helps prevent overabsorption.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Use a gluten-free chicken broth, such as Pacific Natural Foods or Kitchen Basics, or water.
Roasted Parsnips with Lemon and Herbs
If you’re not familiar with parsnips, try these quick recipes to acquaint yourself with them. The root veggies look like white carrots and have a decidedly sweet, earthy flavor. Shop for medium to small parsnips, as larger ones tend to have tough, woody cores. In the main recipe here, a hit of fresh lemon juice and sprinkling of fresh herbs make the whole dish taste fresh and bright. If you don’t have parsley on hand, you can leave it out, but do seek out the dill.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Crunchy Oat Topping
This classic casserole often straddles the line between side and dessert (indeed, we've enjoyed the leftovers both ways). We dial down the sugar to steer the dish back to savory territory, and add a crunchy oat and nut topper for texture. A final drizzle of maple syrup just before serving gives the casserole a lovely sheen. While we call for a ricer in our master mashed potatoes, a potato masher is perfectly acceptable here since the spuds will be bound with an egg, topped, and baked. Chopped almonds or walnuts would be a delicious sub for the pecans.
Chorizo and Roasted Poblano Wild Rice Stuffing
Hot cooked wild rice is incredibly nutty and fragrant, a perfect counter to smoky paprika, quick roasted poblano peppers, and spicy fresh chorizo. Look for ground, raw Mexican chorizo rather than Spanish chorizo (cured, cased sausage). The rice will absorb the drippings from the sausage as the two bake together in the casserole dish. If you can’t find Mexican chorizo, try hot Italian pork or turkey sausage. We treat the rice the same as a bread stuffing—binding it with a mixture of stock, eggs, and butter—for a richer, more cohesive stuffing that will brown beautifully in the pan.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Avoid distilled white vinegar and swap for a gluten-free alternative like rice vinegar. Stick with gluten-free unsalted chicken stock and gluten-free unsalted butter.
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small—we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Some mustards don't contain gluten, however avoid those that aren't labeled "gluten free" because there is a concern for cross-contamination.
Beet Salad with White Beans and Orange
Braised Leeks with Parmesan
Wash leeks after they’re halved by dunking them in a bowl of cold water and vigorously swishing to dislodge dirt and grit trapped between the layers. You may need to repeat the process once or twice, depending on the level of grit. We love the simplicity of this dish. White wine provides a little tangy acid to the leeks, while Parmesan cheese packs an umami whallop, making for a supremely satisfying side.
Blood Orange and Radicchio Salad
This salad is a beautiful addition to any table spread with its vibrant orange and deep magenta hues. Hearty radicchio and fennel have real staying power—even after they've been tossed with dressing—which makes this ideal for times when you need a make-ahead salad for a buffet or to take to a potluck. We love the color of blood oranges, but you can use all naval or Cara Cara oranges.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Although agave doesn't contain gluten, it's a highly-processed sugar alternative that's considerably sweeter than sugar. Sub with raw honey if this bothers you and check for potential gluten-containing additives.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Keep mashed potatoes warm by placing in a heatproof bowl, covering with plastic wrap, and setting over a saucepan of gently simmering water. This will keep them moist and warm without scorching. A ricer finely breaks up the cooked potatoes without activating the potato starches, which could make the consistency gluey. It also allows the butter and liquid, such as milk or buttermilk, to quickly incorporate so the mash is smooth and free of lumps. If you don't have a ricer, use a potato masher, being careful not to overwork the potatoes. Our Butternut-Swirled Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes variations require a little extra time but are well worth the effort.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots
When did the lowly sprout become a side dish superstar? This was a happy turn of events: It's a flavor-packed veggie that is both meaty and pleasingly bitter when sautéed or roasted, perfect for pairing with smoky bacon.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Use a gluten-free chicken broth, such as Pacific Natural Foods or Kitchen Basics.
Truffled Pommes Anna
Put out white truffle-scented pommes Anna and sit back for the oohs and aahs. A small amount of truffle oil infuses the whole dish with loads of earthy essence. If you don't have truffle oil, you can use olive oil for a more subtle flavor.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Make as is: This recipe contains no gluten as written.
Sweet Potato Stacks with Sage Browned Butter
Holiday sweet potato sides can lean toward too-sweet territory; a dose of salty, nutty Parmesan balances the flavor in these adorable, delicious stacks. Get the kids to help by having them stack the slices and cheese in muffin cups as you follow behind with the browned butter. Use small potatoes so the slices will fit into the muffin cups. Make sure to slice the potatoes on the thin side, about 1⁄4-inch thick, so they’ll cook through (insert a toothpick in the center of each stack to test for doneness). You can also alternate with slices of baking potato or parsnip for pretty white and orange layers.
Beet Salad with Bacon and Onion
If you love the sweet, earthy flavor of beets but think you don't have time to cook them on a weeknight, you'll appreciate this fast microwave method. Wrapping peeled beet wedges in parchment paper allows them to steam to tender perfection in less than half the time it would take to roast them.
You might have to marry the miller if you want to grind a large batch of nuts into a pure powdery flour. Commercial producers have equipment designed to finely mill nuts without adding extra ingredients. In smaller quantities, though, you can make flours from less-oily nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios) with a small electric coffee grinder. Work in 1/4-cup increments, and add 1 teaspoon flour with each 1/4 cup of nuts to prevent clumping; pulse to prevent making nut butter. For oilier nuts like macadamias (used in the cake below), you can process whole nuts with purchased almond flour. Nut flours work well in cakes and cookies, as sauce thickeners, and as binders for meatballs or crab cakes. There's no difference between nut meals, nut flours, and nut powders. Some people say meal contains the skins of nuts or the grind is finer or coarser depending on the name. But the names are used interchangeably, and they all mean the same thing: pure milled or pulverized nuts.
Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Coconut
Ginger and coconut add warm, flavorful accents to this Thanksgiving classic. If you'd like a dollop of something creamy, top with fat-free whipped topping.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Forget the crust; just make the filling. Divide it and bake in individual ramekins.