You guys, Thanksgiving is ONE week away! My plan for a colorful, gluten-free Thanksgiving that is both easy and delicious + the one secret weapon you need…
It probably comes as no surprise that after dealing with so many food-related health issues, Thanksgiving isn’t necessarily a holiday I look forward to. Last year, I wasn’t physically up for traveling and mentally and emotionally it was all just too overwhelming as we were still figuring things out, so we made brisket at home and then drove to Joshua Tree for a high desert picnic, me and my boo, just us two. But this year, I’m feeling much stronger, we know what we can and can’t eat (and where to find it), and Fred Baby’s family is able to come to us in Palm Springs, where we’re excited to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new house, poolside!
Since I have to eat gluten-free — and dairy-free and corn-free and sugar-free — for health reasons (Hashimoto’s & Celiac), and my sweet Fred Baby does the same because he’s a saint and it’s also solved many of his health issues like chronic bronchitis, and we have at least one other family member in the same boat, I thought I’d share our plan for a gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, sugar-free Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, it’s not as tragic as it sounds – in fact, I am looking forward to it!
We’ll simply be following the tenets of how we eat now everyday, which is basically Paleo/AIP: fresh, seasonal, whole, real foods. Crazy, right? 😉
If you’re in the same (gravy) boat, I hope this helps!
Our Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu:
Turkey – We always make our turkey in an electric roaster like this, my secret weapon that keeps your turkey moist, and keeps the rest of your oven available for any other dishes you might be preparing. It’s also SO easy. Set it and forget it. Tip: Don’t forget to plug it in AND turn it on. We’ll be getting an organic turkey, and drizzling it with olive oil, sea salt and lots of fresh lemon (stuff a lemon or apple in the end to keep your turkey moist). In the past we would fill the bottom of the roaster with chicken stock and drizzle melted butter on top on the turkey, but while you can find gluten-free stock, I never trust what else is in there and I react to so much that it’s just not worth the risk. The steam keeps everything moist, so you really don’t need it anyway. Sometimes Fred Baby will pull the turkey out after it has cooked and put in under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the outside, but that’s totally optional.
Cranberry sauce — I plan to make this Paleo version (minus the spices) the day before Thanksgiving.
Gravy – Fred Baby has been making the BEST sauce/gravy lately when he cooks filet mignon in a cast iron skillet. After the steaks finish cooking, he literally just removes them from the pan, and then adds almond milk, a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper. That’s it. Tip: Get a good quality almond milk that doesn’t have all the junk in it (we get New Barn original almond milk from Whole Foods). Since we won’t be cooking steak right beforehand, we’ll use the drippings/liquid at the bottom of the turkey pan once it’s cooked. We’ll simply add the liquid to a skillet, add in almond milk, salt and pepper and stir. Voila, gravy. No flour, cornstarch or butter needed.
Mashed potatoes – I live for my Mom’s mashed potatoes, and while for years she made them lactose-free and/or dairy-free by using lactose-free milk and/or chicken broth, we’ll simply be whipping them up with almond milk and olive oil. Peel the potatoes, boil them, add them to a mixer with some almond milk, olive oil and sea salt to taste. They’re SO good. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle a little fresh basil on top. (If you don’t eat potatoes, whip up some sweet potatoes instead!)
Cauliflower “stuffing” – My mother-in-law makes this insanely delicious (and easy) roasted cauliflower with turmeric. And it would make a nice replacement for stuffing. Rinse + chop the cauliflower, microwave it for 5-8 minutes until tender, and then add to a skillet with lots of turmeric and cook until it starts to brown. I plan to add celery + maybe apples to make it feel more like stuffing.
Green salad – I like my meals to be colorful, so a green salad is a nice break from the typical sea of white Thanksgiving foods. A simple butter lettuce with olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and sea salt adds a nice balance.
Brussel sprouts with cranberries – Speaking of green and adding some crunch, I love a good Brussels sprout. I look forward to adding cranberries to them this year, as done here. Speaking of, these bacon-wrapped Brussels spouts would make a great appetizer. Although I’m with Ina on that you don’t need an appetizer for Thanksgiving!
Roasted carrots — Add more color and vitamins with some simple roasted carrots like these.
Dessert – I’ve never been a pumpkin pie fan (or pie fan in general), but I do love a good cookie and these gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are insanely good. So good I’m eating one right now. *The chocolate chips do contain cane sugar, but if you can’t have sugar at all, may I suggest some fresh berries?
Do you have any gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes you love? I’d love to hear…
p.s. If you’re still pretty new to AIP/Paleo/gluten-free living and aren’t feeling up for Thanksgiving, I totally get it. I say give yourself a break, enjoy whatever you do or don’t do, get some extra rest, and look forward to next year because it does indeed get better xo.
PHOTO by FRED MOSER