No gluten? No problem.
Hosting Thanksgiving (or even bringing a dish or two) can be a tricky task if you’re cooking for a group with various dietary requests or restrictions. We’ve got vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes a plenty, but what about the gluten-free crew? Since people who can't (or choose not to) have gluten don't eat the gluten protein that's found in wheat, barley, and rye, finding gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas isn’t always easy. Popular foods like bread, pasta, and baked goods are typically off limits unless they are made with specialty flours, but traditional Thanksgiving dishes like turkey, cranberry sauce, and even mashed potatoes are often fine for those who avoid gluten to consume.
Whether you don’t eat gluten, or are hosting someone this Thanksgiving who is gluten free, we’ve got you covered with nearly two dozen gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes!
Carrot and Red Lentil Soup
Vegetable-based soups are often safe for those who follow a gluten-free diet, because they don’t typically call for flour or bouillon cubes. This soup is packed with carrots, dried lentils, and fragrant spices, and uses coconut milk to deliver a thick and creamy final product.
Superfood Lentil Salad
Speaking of lentils, they’re also the star of this salad. Inside you’ll also find other superfoods, such as sunflower seeds and apple cider vinegar, and elsewhere there is quickly-charred zucchini, golden raisins, and a punchy sunflower seed vinaigrette. Serve this as a salad course or a side and enjoy!
Creamy Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
Though this soup looks like it took hours to prepare, it requires just 20 minutes of hands-on work. The leeks are flavored with bacon fat, and then sweet potato and chicken broth are added to the mix. To add richness, you’ll spoon in nearly a whole cup of cream. Garnish each bowl with chopped chives, bacon bits, and crushed red pepper flakes, and watch this course disappear.
Brussels Sprouts Salad
Sure, Brussels sprouts work as a Thanksgiving side, but if you’re all set on the side front try using the cruciferous vegetables in a salad instead, This one has it all, including colorful strips of bitter radicchio, pecans, dried cranberries, and a tart apple cider vinegar dressing that ties the whole thing together. If your group likes cheese, add light shavings of aged provolone for those sharp, salty notes.
If you’re not planning on making an entire turkey for Thanksgiving but are still yearning for some of those holiday flavors, give this autumnal chili a whirl. Made with lean ground turkey, this dish brings out the savory side of the pumpkin, while cannellini beans add body to each hearty bowl. If you want a fresh herb to sprinkle on top, try cilantro, which infuses the base of the soup.
Smoky Maple Turkey
Plain turkey is obviously gluten free, but when you start adding gravy, stuffing, and the like, things can get a bit dicey. Luckily, this turkey recipe is simple yet delicious, and calls for just a handful of spices and other ingredients to get the job done. Just be careful when you’re shopping for chicken broth to use here, as some store-bought varieties may include gluten-containing flavorings and preservatives.
Dry-Brined Lemon-Sage Turkey
For a turkey that’s juicy, beautifully golden and fragrant, this is the one to make. Here, a dry brine made with dried sage, lemon zest, salt, and freshly ground black pepper coats the meat and infuses it with flavor. As long as you allow enough time for the brine to work its magic, this bird will taste delicious.
Rosemary Roasted Turkey Legs
Sometimes you don’t need to make a whole turkey for Thanksgiving. Case in point: These roasted turkey legs that are cooked in an herby and zingy butter mixture and flavored with rosemary, thyme, and lemon. This turkey dish takes just over an hour to make, and is easy to scale up for a larger crowd if needed.
Maple Roasted Vegetables
While vegetables might not be the most talked about part of a holiday spread, no Thanksgiving table is complete without them. These roasted veggies are ready in just 25 minutes, and are flavored with a simple combination of maple syrup, olive oil, and salt.
Maple Sweet Potatoes With Spicy Pecan Praline
These sweet potatoes, which are in keeping with the maple theme, are also joined by caramelized shallots and cayenne- and lime-flecked candied pecans. The result is a sweet and spicy side that pairs well with turkey and other proteins. When shopping for your spuds, look for long, skinny sweet potatoes so the wedges aren't too thick.
Butternut Squash Bake With Wild Rice
Yes, you can make gluten-free stuffing with gluten-free bread, but if you want a GF stuffing option that’s rich, creamy, and satisfying, this is the one. Here, wild rice and butternut squash chunks mingle with mushrooms and onions in a velvety sauce made with heavy whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Worried about not having enough space in your oven on Turkey Day? Go ahead and prepare this recipe in advance and store it for later.
Garlicky Herb-Butter Layered Potatoes
Potato fans will be thrilled to see this gluten-free side on the table, as it’s made with thinly sliced Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes. The potato slices are layered in a garlicky herb-butter, and the whole thing is topped with thyme leaves. Chances are there will be nothing left of this dish once the night is done.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Coconut
If you prefer a sweet side over a savory one, give this hearty dish a whirl. It’s made with sweet potatoes that are studded with chopped pecans and shredded coconut, while whole milk and butter add plenty of creaminess. We’re willing to bet your guests will be coming back for seconds!
Believe it or not, this veggie side is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. It’s packed with greens—kale, chard, and spinach—that are bathed in a combination of creamy coconut milk, shallot and garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. Top with pomegranate arils for a pop of color and fruity flavor.
Roasted Artichokes and Potatoes
This side pulls double-duty in that it stars artichokes (a vegetable) and potatoes. The roasted spuds pair well with the tangy artichokes and a dash of smoked paprika. Roasting concentrates the artichokes' bright, lemony flavors, while the paprika highlights their citrusy notes. When cooking this dish, arrange the potatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet so they get evenly golden brown and crispy.
Citrus Spice Cranberry Sauce
Love it or hate it, it’s not Thanksgiving without some form of cranberry sauce on the table. This version of the festive condiment starts with canned cranberry sauce and enhances it with cloves, star anise, and cinnamon, as well as naval orange slices. Easy-to-make and delicious? We consider that a win-win.
Double Cranberry and Apple Sauce
Not a fan of spices? Try this cranberry sauce recipe instead. Here, you’ll use frozen and dried cranberries and upgrade them with maple syrup and some chopped apple pieces. Plus, when your guests ask, you can tell them you made this Thanksgiving staple from scratch!
Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf With Cranberries
You don’t need much to enhance wild rice, which is actually the seed of an aquatic grass and not a grain. Here, the pantry staple is paired with dried cranberries and seasoned mushroom mixture. The result is an earthy side dish with pops of sweetness that comes together in under an hour.
Creamy One-Pot Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes you can make in one pot? Yes, please! For this recipe you’ll use Yukon Gold potatoes, which helps avoid a gummy final product. Then, you’ll cook the spuds together with half-and-half and put the pieces in a potato ricer in order to achieve a light, fluffy texture. Folding in butter and sour cream adds richness without making the dish dense.
Chia Pilaf With Pesto
Chia seeds add protein and crunch to this simple rice pilaf, and they also happen to be naturally gluten free. Stir in some chicken broth and store-bought pesto for even more flavor, just make sure the pesto you use is also made without gluten.
Flourless Spiced Hot Chocolate Cake
Though it might be hard to believe, we swear that this chocolate-filled dessert is absolutely gluten free. If you like Mexican hot chocolate, this is the Thanksgiving treat for you since it’s made with cinnamon and cayenne. You'll need a springform pan for the best results, but a deep 9-inch cake pan will work if that's what you have on hand.
For a Thanksgiving dessert that will feed a crowd, we suggest these lemon-pistachio bars which just so happen to be gluten-free. The “crust” is actually pistachios pulsed with sugar, butter, and cornstarch, while an egg-based custard spiked with sweetened condensed milk comprises the top layer of this dessert. If you plan to serve these bars after Thanksgiving, make sure you give them plenty of time to set for the best results.
In the market for an easy gluten-free cake to make? This is the one. It calls for just a few simple ingredients, like bittersweet chocolate, almonds, and pure vanilla extract, and mostly comes together in a food processor. The final result is like a dense, rich, and delicately chocolatey souffle with a crispy, crunchy top. Serve with whipped cream and dig in!
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