Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gluten Free Thanksgiving and Fall Favorites

Just let me start off by saying that I love Thanksgiving, and I love the fall.  I always get a little homesick for my hometown in September, as my Facebook friends from Pittsburgh start to post pictures of changing leaves, while I am waiting for 90 degree days to go away.  I look forward to my Thanksgiving dinner more than any meal my family prepares.  When I was diagnosed with celiac, I didn't have to worry about what I was going to eat on Thanksgiving.  That first year, we traveled to Pittsburgh to my aunt and uncle's house, and all my favorites were prepared gluten free for me.  There were no worries with the kosher turkey and mashed potatoes, and my aunt made the stuffing and creamy pumpkin pie with gluten free cornbread, bread, and pie crust.  My family rocks! 

My husband and I have now taken over the duty of preparing my family's Thanksgiving feast.  We have stuck with the family tradition of buying a kosher turkey, which we purchase from Whole Foods.  They are already pre-brined, and they never disappoint.  

My husband smokes our turkey on his Big Green Egg.  We either rub a mix of extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and coarse ground black pepper on top of the skin, or use herb butter on top of and underneath the skin.  

Our smoked turkies are not pretty to look at when they are done, but they are always delicious!  

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without stuffing.  I make a gluten free version of the cornbread stuffing that I grew up with, though we don't put it in the bird, because that is a big no-no when you are smoking your turkey.  You can view the recipe here

On Thanksgiving, I make garlic mashed potatoes.  We peel and cut 5 pounds of organic Yukon Gold potatoes into cubes, and boil them until fork tender.  When they are done cooking, I put them in our stand mixer with a bulb and a half of roasted garlic, 1 stick of salted butter, warm lowfat milk to taste, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  

To roast the garlic, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, cut off the tops, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, wrap them up in aluminum foil, and cook until tender/mashable, for about 50 minutes.  

All the ladies in my family are Williams-Sonoma addicts.  They have been buying Williams-Sonoma Gravy Base and Apple-Orange Cranberry Relish for probably as long as they have been available.  Neither product contains any gluten ingredients, but the labels clearly state that these products are prepared and packaged using machines that may come in contact with wheat/gluten.  I don't eat gravy, so this is no big deal to me.  This year, I made a homemade Cranberry Relish that has similar ingredients to the relish my family buys from Williams-Sonoma.  You can view the recipe here.  I chose this recipe because of its ingredients and all the positive reviews.  

This cranberry relish recipe was a huge hit with the adults in my family, and only contains four ingredients - 2 cups of fresh cranberries, 2 organic Granny Smith apples, 1 large organic navel orange, and 1 cup of sugar.  I prepared it in my food processor, pulsing each ingredient separately. 

November 2017 Update - Last year, I made Merlot Apple-Orange Cranberry Relish, the first cranberry relish dish that my daughters have ever liked.  You can view the recipe here

For most of my life, I ate apple pie on Thanksgiving because I didn't like pumpkin pie, but then my aunt made a pumpkin pie recipe with cream cheese.  For years, this was the only dessert I made on Thanksgiving.  You can view this amazingly light and delicious recipe for Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie here.  

I recently made Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars, using my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie filling and Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Piecrust Mix.  My family really loved this version, and I didn't have to worry about my crust browning too much.  The recipe is at the end of my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie blog post.  You can view it here

This year, I made my aunt an apple crostata for dessert.  This free form pie is one of our favorite fall recipes.

The third pie I made is this Chocolate Chess Pie.  It is easy to make, and so incredibly delicious.  I use a Whole Foods Bakehouse GlutenFree Pie Crust, or I make mini chocolate chess pies with Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Piecrust Mix.  You can view these recipes here.  

Another great dessert option is gluten free pumpkin cupcakes.  They are moist and delicious, and so easy to make.  

For Thanksgiving breakfast, I might make gluten free Spiced Pumpkin Scones.  They are heavenly! You can view the recipe here.

November 2017 Update - We recently started making apple scones, which my husband said rival my pumpkin scones. 

Another easy breakfast option is my pumpkin waffles made with Cup4Cup Pancake & Waffle Mix.

We have also been loving pumpkin pancakes made with Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix.  They are so delicious with some cinnamon honey butter.

If I wasn't so obsessed with Spiced Pumpkin Scones this fall, I would probably be making Apple-Raspberry Puffed Pancake on Thanksgiving for breakfast.  This recipe has been a family favorite of our for years.  Make sure you use a high quality gluten free flour.  Cup4Cup makes this oven pancake puff up much better than any other gluten free all-purpose flour that I have tried.  It can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma, The Fresh Market, or select Whole Foods.

About a month ago, I made Nicole Hunn's Apple Breakfast Cookies recipe.  I froze all the leftovers so we would have some quick breakfast options during the work and school week.  I made this Gluten Free on a Shoestring recipe with Better Batter Gluten Free Flour.  The combination of apples, cinnamon, and oats is perfect on a Fall morning.  You can view her recipe here.  

Acorn Squash with Apples & Cranberries would be a great dish to serve on Thanksgiving, but I already have too much going on, so I make them for my aunt and uncle earlier in the week.  They fly in from Pittsburgh to stay with us now, instead of us going to them.  You can view the recipe here

Sweet Potato Pineapple Casserole would be another great choice for Thanksgiving, but in my quest to keep my sanity, I limit the number of dishes I make.  You can view this recipe here

Just this week, I made a recipe for Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls by Shauna Ahern, also known as Gluten-Free Girl.  The yeasty smell and taste reminded me of Mitch's grandmother's bread. They were so good!  You can see all my baking tips and a link to the recipe here

For the day after Thanksgiving, when you are recovering from your food hangover, I recommend making one of my favorite fall smoothies, like the Blueberry Pomegranate.  

Another great option is my Persimmon Orange Smoothie.  

My Cranberry, Orange, Banana Smoothie is amazing too!  

If you want to take your Thanksgiving leftovers to an all new level, buy a panini press.  I like cranberry relish, stuffing, and turkey on my panini.  Family members have been known to pile on leftover mashed potatoes and gravy too.  You could use store-bought bread, but I made two flat 8" rounds using Gluten-Free Girl's Dinner Rolls Recipe.  You can see how I made the bread here.  

I like to heat my cranberry relish, stuffing, and leftover turkey to room temp before added them to my bread.  A couple minutes in the panini press, and you can see the results above.  It was so incredibly delicious!  My daughters enjoyed their panini with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. 

November 30, 2014 Update - This year, we made panini on Friday, and turkey noodle soup on Saturday with the rest of our leftover turkey.  The slight smokiness of the turkey was the key reason I liked this soup better than any chicken noodle soup I have ever had.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes to make on Thanksgiving?  


  1. Wondered if you ever got around to doing the mini pumpkin pies yet. I would love to try them but I haven't got a clue about timing. Any ideas?

    1. I haven't made them yet. Check this out for cooking time. Let me know if you make them.