80+ Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes
Paprika-Rubbed Sheet-Tray Chicken
Roman also uses this paprika rub to smear on pork roasts or to marinate chicken. It’s her go-to seasoning that makes everything taste like really great sausage. The low and slow oven heat ensures none of the spices or bits of garlic burns, while giving the chicken fat plenty of time to render out slowly and evenly.
Garlic-Caper Roasted Mushrooms
Roasted mushrooms are a revelation—intensely savory yet still tender and juicy. The mushrooms transform again once tossed with garlic butter, briny capers, and fresh lemon. Use cremini or baby bella mushrooms here—white button mushrooms are too mild. Dress the mushrooms right after roasting so the mixture stays vibrant. Both earthy and bright, this dish pairs well with any combination of fall dishes.
Autumn Glow Salad
This plant-powered salad delivers over 50% of your daily fiber and one-third of your daily potassium goal. Butternut squash is an excellent source of eye-healthy vitamin A and a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C and blood pressure–supporting potassium.
A simple side of perfectly roasted carrots is the breather a crowded Thanksgiving table needs—a bit of palate relief (and ease for the cook) that still looks elegant. Sweet, slightly firm, and tossed with fresh parsley and cilantro, these carrots would fit here and all season long. Use any remaining cilantro in leftover turkey tacos or chili. For an extra-pretty presentation, cut the carrot pieces at a 45° angle before roasting.
Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad
This salad of lentils with roasted butternut squash, carrots, and onions gets plated over a bed of creamy, lemon-scented Greek yogurt—so with each bite, you get the flavors of sweet caramelized veggies, earthy-nutty legumes, and tangy yogurt. We love the firm texture of French green lentils, but you can also use standard brown lentils. You’re not likely to find a whole butternut squash that’s only 1 pound; just buy the smallest one you can find, and use 1 pound of it.
Maple-Caraway Brussels Sprouts
Layer upon layer of bold flavor earned these Brussels sprouts our test kitchen’s highest rating. The sprouts get deeply caramelized in toasted caraway and browned butter, then are quickly finished with a sweet and pungent mixture of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. Caraway has an anise-like flavor similar to fennel seed. Add to roasted carrots or parsnips, or sprinkle over whole-grain rolls or crackers. Start the caraway and thyme in a cold pan so they can infuse the butter as it browns.
Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
This salad is a feast for the eyes, and a welcome relief from the brown and gold tones on the Thanksgiving table. Sweet-tart blood oranges and a honey vinaigrette offset the bitter edge of the endive and radicchio (you can also use milder romaine lettuce hearts). If you can’t find blood oranges, try ruby red grapefruit or pretty pink Cara Cara oranges.
Ginger-Chile Roasted Acorn Squash
Fresh ginger, red Fresno chile, and pomegranate don’t usually appear on the Thanksgiving table, but we love how they transform simply roasted squash into a dish with tingly heat and pops of color. Leave the sheet pan in the oven as it preheats to jump-start browning, saving roasting time in the oven.
Honey-Bourbon Spatchcocked Turkey
The brine is all the seasoning you need for this fantastic bird. While the amount of bourbon used in the brine may seem generous, it will impart a very subtle flavor to the meat once all the water is added, diluting it slightly. If you want a more intense smoke flavor, add a handful of soaked applewood chips to the grill. For a deeply bronzed, almost mahogany look, brush the skin with a mixture of water and honey each time you go to rotate the bird.
Grapefruit, Endive, and Arugula Salad
Give yourself the gift of one worry-free dish this holiday season. This 15-minute, no-cook, citrus-flecked salad tastes best when it sits at least 10 minutes. No guest will be able to resist our lemony homemade vinaigrette, which adds sweet flavor without lots of fat, calories, or carbs. Tossing the endive leaves in the vinaigrette first softens their bitter edge. You could also sub thinly sliced fennel or chopped Romaine hearts. Top with chopped walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, and grapefruit slices.
Spinach and Feta Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
The simple, scalloped shell made from thinly sliced rounds of sweet potatoes makes this version of a popular brunch (or supper) dish gluten-free. Choose potatoes with comparable diameters to create uniform slices for the easy-to-make crust. A mandoline makes slicing quick and precise, but a sharp chef's knife will work too. You can also slice the potatoes in the food processor using the slicing blade.
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.
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.
Warm Spiced Cashews
Chinese five-spice powder lends a distinct toastiness to these sweet and savory nuts. They're perfect to whip-up as a quick make-ahead, crowd-pleasing appetizer for holiday entertaining.
Sherry-Cava Citrus Fizz
Simplify the liquor shopping list: Skip setting up a full bar and instead offer a signature cocktail featuring just one or two types of spirits or wine. Make this punch up to 4 hours ahead, but wait to add the cava until just before serving.
Turkey pros swear by brining for tender, succulent meat. Line a disposable roasting pan with the brining bag before adding liquid and turkey. If it won't fit in your fridge, nestle in a cooler with ice—the temperature will stay in the safe zone until you're ready to roast. Make sure to pat the bird very dry after brining so the extra liquid doesn’t slow down the roast.
Broiled Shrimp with Buttermilk Rémoulade
If preboiled shrimp and cocktail sauce is a standard starter at your holiday gathering, try these quick broiled shrimp with a spicy rémoulade dipping sauce—a homemade alternative that takes minutes, tastes much better, and is much lower in sodium. Like cocktail sauce, the rémoulade gets a pungent kick from prepared horseradish, though you could also try Creole mustard. We leave the tails on the shrimp for easy handling. Keep a small bowl next to the serving plate for discarded shrimp tails.
Smoked and Spiced Pecans
If you look up a recipe for DIY smokehouse nuts, you'll find that a good chunk of them involve dousing nuts with liquid smoke and baking them in the oven. Our method gives you real woodsmoke flavor instead. Settle in: It takes about 45 minutes for smoky flavor to infuse the firm, dense nuts—but patience gives a bacon(ish)-flavored reward. Your outdoor grill or smoker takes care of the heavy lifting; all you have to do is prepare the wood as specified for your smoker (try hickory or mesquite) and position the nuts over an area with indirect heat. You can give them a stir once or twice, but it's not necessary. For the best flavor and texture, let them cool completely before eating.
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Opt for simply roasted veggies in place of rich and creamy casseroles and loaded potato dishes brimming with fat and calories. This 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. A simple mixture of olive oil, whole-grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper dresses these vegetables up for the occasion.
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.
Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
What makes this sauce extraordinary isn’t the orange liqueur, though it rounds out the tart and sweet flavors beautifully. It’s the whole fresh cranberries reserved before cooking and stirred in just before serving. You might think the fresh berries would be too tart without simmering—we did too—but the result is simply outstanding. This jammy sauce is punctuated by pops of whole cranberries. You can sub fresh orange juice for the orange liqueur if you like. Double the batch and use as a breakfast jam or sandwich spread, or spoon warm sauce over frozen yogurt.
Hibiscus Poached Pears
The rosy hue of the hibiscus syrup is a holiday showstopper. Drizzle over spiced poached pears for a dessert that's a bit lighter, gluten-free, and still feels holiday-special. The key to beautifully poached pears is to cook them in just enough liquid to submerge the fruit—any more and the flavor from the spices may be lost. A parchment paper topper and a plate will keep liquid from evaporating too quickly. Reduce additional poaching liquid and reserve as the base for holiday cocktails, the sweet component of a salad dressing, or a drizzle for your cheese board.
For a vegan version, leave out the 1/2 cup of crème fraîche.
Creamy Butternut-Leek Bisque
Whole-grain quinoa simmers in the soup and then gets blended into the mix—resulting in a thick, creamy, luscious texture. Don’t be afraid to let the blender go for a couple of minutes; that’s the path to super-smooth results. We call for precut-prepped butternut squash because it’s a real time-saver, slashing up to 20 minutes of prep time; you’ll find bags of the peeled, cubed squash in the produce section with the bags of broccoli florets and other prepared-prepped veggies. For the prettiest appearance, go with beige-colored quinoa and skip red or tricolored varieties. Greek yogurt goes into the soup to brighten the taste, and another dollop goes on top as a finishing touch along with crunchy almonds.
Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne
We use the term “Champagne” loosely: Feel free to use a less expensive bubbly such as prosecco, cava, or crémant. The sparkling wine lends a little razzle-dazzle to the retro-chic combo of ham and pineapple. If you’re using maple syrup, try Grade B—it has more intense maple flavor than Grade A.
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.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Chef Jonathan Waxman taught Cooking Light Editor Hunter Lewis how to make this fall salad many years ago. Riff with the ingredients to find the flavor balance you prefer. For a vegan version, omit the Parmesan cheese.
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.
White Balsamic and Rosemary Cranberry Sauce
If you’re looking for a way to amp up your traditional sauce, this is it. Fresh rosemary gives the sauce a light herbal flavor (the berries are robust enough to stand up to the piny herb). White balsamic vinegar balances the sweet and adds a dimension of fruity tang to the tart cranberries. If you don’t have white balsamic, use white wine vinegar or cider vinegar—regular balsamic is a bit too strong and would darken the finished sauce. Beyond your holiday plate (and inevitable holiday leftovers), add to a cheese plate or sandwich buffet. Omit the orange liqueur from the master recipe. Simmer cranberries with rosemary sprigs, sugar, water, and cranberries. Stir in balsamic vinegar.
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.
Kale, Jicama, and Orange Salad
Bland veggie trays tend to lose out over sugary treats; serve this dish instead. This salad pops with color and texture from juicy citrus, creamy avocado, and crisp jicama. Dark, bumpy kale fits the mood, but you can substitute any lettuce you like. We love the pink hue of Cara Cara oranges in the salad, but regular navel or even blood oranges (in keeping with the spooky theme) would also work. Sturdy lacinato kale will become perfectly tender when dressed and left to stand at room temperature. Coating the avocado in the dressing first will keep it from browning while you're out having fun.
If you love hummus for its smooth creaminess, garlicky punch, and lemon tang, then get ready for your new favorite soup. That’s right—we turned the dip of the decade into a soup that’s savory, silky, and garlicky good. A portion of the chickpeas are reserved and toasted in a skillet to offer some chew—a nice textural contrast to the creaminess of the pureed soup. If the soup feels a little too thick, adjust by blending in more water, 1⁄/4 cup at a time. You can make the soup a day or two ahead, but you’ll definitely need to adjust the texture, as it will overthicken upon standing. Make the toasted chickpea topping up to a day ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. For the sake of your sanity, purchase tahini in a jar with a wide mouth; narrow tops make it difficult to stir and spoon out what you need.
Ginger-Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Sherry vinegar has more depth and less tang and sharpness than other vinegars. It rounds out the sweet honey and pungent ginger. Since the thin glaze would burn on the grill if added too early, grill the pork most of the way through, then brush with the glaze and turn continuously for the final 6 minutes or until done. A fresh, crisp salad is a welcome change of pace from the usual fall side of roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. We love the look of watermelon radishes in this fresh, crisp salad, but any radish will work. You can also round out this meal with Chili-Spiced Potatoes for a comforting side. If you don't have sherry vinegar, sub red wine vinegar or cider vinegar.
Side: Savory Sweet Potato Mash
Get your daily dose of vitamin A with this nutritious side. In addition to providing you with 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement, you'll receive a boost of vitamin C and fiber. So grab your thyme, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and start mashing.
Gram's Clam Dip
Your guests can snack on this dip, while you put the final touches on your inspiring dishes. There's plenty for a crowd as this recipe serves 18. This lower-fat version uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt and cream cheese for a creamy result that does this dish justice. Precut crudités will hold up well if you'd like to prep them the day before. Wrap trimmed and cut veggies in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a zip-top plastic bag for the crispiest texture.
Honey Cider Cocktails
The cider-honey base of this fall beverage makes enough for both adult and kid twists: one with pale ale, the other with sparkling cider. Beer and cider are refreshing and lower in sugar and alcohol than stronger potions, which tend to go down a bit too easily.
Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Fried Walnuts
This side dish gets a sprinkling of nutty flavor from walnuts that are lightly dusted with powdered sugar and fried. The sweetness of the nuts plays off the bitter personality of the broccoli rabe. If you prefer a less bitter taste, substitute Broccolini. This hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale has big, almost fluffy florets and thinner stalks than broccoli. Whichever vegetable you use, blanching will soften the firm stalks to get them ready for a quick sauté to pick up flavor from pungent garlic and lemon zest. Make sure not to skip the instructions to rinse the broccoli rabe after it is blanched to stop the vegetable from overcooking.
Cran-Blueberry Sauce with Candied Ginger
Make this sauce a couple of days ahead, and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, adding water—a tablespoon or two—to thin it.
Radicchio, Frisée, Apple, and Manchego Salad
Pleasantly bitter radicchio and frisée balance sweet notes from honey and fresh apple, while rich, salty Manchego rounds out the flavors.
Braised Brussels Sprouts with Cider and Bacon
The sweetness of the cider complements the saltiness of bacon bits. One bite will leave you craving more (and more, and more).
Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey
Grill a spatchcocked turkey for a smoky, robust bird that's ready in half the time. We remove the backbone and roast the turkey flat so that every part has access to the heat at the same time. The turkey won't have grill marks (it cooks flesh side up over indirect heat) but will absorb that chargrilled flavor. A smoky spice rub of paprika and ancho chile powder seems fitting for the grill, but you could use any spice combo or minced fresh herbs combined with a couple of tablespoons oil.
Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine butternut squash, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes from master recipe in a large bowl, then follow remaining steps.
Potato and Leek Gratin
A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust. The result is a rich, rustic potato side with contrasting flavors and textures—a bit of crunch to round out the stuffing, sauces, and mashes on the plate. Reheat leftovers in the oven until crisped and warmed through, and then serve with eggs and a side of fruit for breakfast.
Pork Chops with Thyme Pan Sauce
Deglazing: The process of using a liquid to lift the browned bits left after cooking meat or vegetables in a pan to incorporate their flavorful essence back into the dish.
Side: Lemony White Bean-and-Arugula Salad
An quick side salad with cannellini beans lends healthy plant-based protein to your meal, and a simple DIY dressing keeps sodium low by using less salt than bottled versions you'll find in the grocery store.
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Olive oil is beautifully complex in flavor—a characteristic that gets muted in cooking—so we love it best when the flavor can really shine: drizzled over greens, roasted veggies, or velvety mashed potatoes. We skip the butter in this classic dish and add richness and depth with full-bodied extra-virgin olive oil. The oil saves a hefty 5.4g sat fat per serving over butter and adds a burst of full, fruity flavor when drizzled on top.
Mini Cheese Balls
Save 108 calories, 7g sat fat, and 69mg sodium per serving over a traditional cheese ball. Almond milk cream cheese is delicately nutty, with a buttery-rich texture and zero grams of sat fat. Find it at Whole Foods stores nationwide. You can substitute 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese, which adds 1.6g sat fat to each serving.
Supersavory Wild Rice Pilaf
The fluffy pilaf will soak in all the delicious juices from your plate making it the perfect side dish.
Forget dry, tasteless turkey. A rub of roasted garlic and fresh sage permeates every ounce of the bird, while a Dijon and white wine baste locks in moisture for juicy, tender meat. Save the giblets for our Classic Turkey Gravy. If your turkey starts to overbrown after the first hour in the oven, cover loosely with foil, and continue roasting. Remember to let the turkey rest so juices can redistribute and the bird can cool enough to carve.
The easiest way to candy nuts is to toss them with an egg white-sugar mixture, then gently bake them until the sugar melts and the egg whites dry out, forming a crispy candy shell around each nut. The whites serve as an adhesive so the sugar and any flavorings can cling to the nuts. There are other, trickier methods, but this one gives you sure fire results. You can play with spices and sweeteners; try maple sugar or granulated honey. The choice of nut is up to you. A crunchy sugar coating goes hand in hand with any nut, but pecans and walnuts really rise to the occasion: Their craggy surfaces are perfect for catching the egg mixture. Candied nuts are pretty durable, so make a big batch, and store them in a cool, dry place for up to one week.
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.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Gastrique
The gastrique, a tangy-sweet glaze, is Thanksgiving worthy but also simple enough to pull off on a weekday.
Warm Spiced (and Spiked) Cabernet
Garnish this punch with a cinnamon stick or orange slices.
Pork Chops Scottadito
Inspired by the late Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan, Smillie simply flattens bone-in chops, rubs them with a pungent paste, and grills them until crispy.
Savory Harvest Vegetable Tart with Toasted Quinoa Crust
The brilliant use of whole-grain quinoa for a press-in-the-pan tart shell hits all the right marks. Toasting the grain adds nutty crunch to the foolproof crust. Peppered goat cheese and a colorful crown of caramelized veggies make this dish simply spectacular.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Pear and Walnut Spinach Salad
Wild salmon has less saturated fat, fewer calories, and 5 to 10 times fewer contaminants and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) than farm-raised (in early studies, POPs have been linked to impaired brain development, type 2 diabetes, and obesity). There’s no need to give up all farmed salmon, and eating some is always better than none. Aim to eat at least 1 to 2 servings of omega-3 rich fatty fish weekly.
Roasted Parsnips with Walnuts, Maple, and Thyme
If you're not familiar with parsnips, they look like white carrots and have a decidedly sweet, earthy flavor. Avoid larger parsnips, which tend to have tough, woody cores.
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.
This recipe with just 11.6g of carbs comes to us from the kitchen of longtime Cooking Light Contributor David Bonom who says, "For one of my birthdays, all of my friends chipped in and gave me the smoker of my dreams, knowing that they would benefit from it. Ever since then, my suburban New Jersey neighbors have gotten to enjoy the smells of my Thanksgiving turkey as it smokes in the backyard." Applewood chips lend a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the meat. You can also try smoking the turkey with cherry or alder wood chips for more delicate smoked flavor.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
This staff favorite adds color and texture to your buffet and makes a splash on the Thanksgiving table. For a bit of showmanship, bring the whole cauliflower to the table, and then "carve" and dress with the vinaigrette, pomegranate arils, pine nuts, and parsley. While most holiday dishes are designed to be delicious warm or at room temperature, this is one dish that's worth saving until the end of your prep and serving straight out of the oven.
Nutty Carrot Flatbread
We were so inspired by the vegetable flatbread made by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of greenkitchenstories.com, we decided to create our own hearty, seed- and nut-packed version. The gluten-free slices are perfect for sandwiches. Pop slices into the toaster oven for crispy edges. Or wrap in foil for soft, warm slices.