I always look forward to Thanksgiving even though I’m allergic to most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods. Actually, everyone in my family has food allergies except for my mom. Every year, Thanksgiving becomes a bit more challenging because we discover new food allergies and intolerances! However, that doesn’t deter us from enjoying this holiday. We have just had to get more creative by preparing recipes that are safe for everyone to eat. We think you’ll be surprised by how many wonderful Thanksgiving dishes you can safely enjoy even if you’re allergic to life!
You might find my next sentence odd, but I am truly thankful that God blessed me with food allergies so that I could develop a passion for cooking nutritious, allergy-free food to share with you. My dad, twin sister, little sister and I all have Celiac disease so we can not have gluten. My dad, twin sis and I are also allergic to corn, intolerant to milk, and have to avoid soy because it’s not good for our thyroids. My little sister can tolerate milk and corn but cannot have tree nuts! Now, this might make some people’s heads dizzy but not ours! We are all competitive people who love a challenge. So, when we prepare a delicious dish that we can all have, we get super excited.
My mom and I have made this allergen-free Thanksgiving for at least three years now, so we have it down! In fact, we were able to shop for ingredients, cook and bake everything in about 4.5 hours! Yes, we were proud. However, we want you to enjoy Thanksgiving Day, so we suggest doing most of the cooking a day or two before.
The cranberry sauce has to be made the day before and the stuffing, balsamic dressing, butternut squash soup can be made 1-2 days before. The potatoes and roasted garlic for mashed potatoes can be prepped the day before.
Also, don’t forget to feed your family lunch the day of Thanksgiving! It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re making for dinner that you forget to plan lunch. We suggest serving some creamy butternut squash soup topped with caramelized chicken and apple sausage alongside a vibrant salad made with pomegranate seeds and mandarin oranges. That should keep everyone from sneaking tastes of the pumpkin pie…at least until after dinner!
First, let’s talk decor. Isn’t this little center piece so darling? It’s super easy to make, too. Just carve out a small pumpkin, line it with plastic wrap (you can use scotch tape to secure it if you need to) and fill with water. Then, cut your peach carnations so they are just taller than the pumpkin and place inside. Make sure you cover the plastic wrap completely. Finally, take gold ribbon and glue it to the top of the pumpkin. Presto, you have the cutest center piece ever! The best part is that it will last much longer than your Thanksgiving leftovers because carnations are sturdy flowers.
Putting a special touch on your table decorations is a fun way to show your family and friends that you are thankful for their company. We chose to decorate with mini pumpkins, gorgeous peach flowers and a cheetah print table-cloth accented with gold cloth napkins. This look might be a little wild for some but it created the atmosphere we wanted: classy, sassy and fun! Which was just perfect for our “Friendsgiving”.
Also, since you will probably have some leftover carnations, you can add a special touch to your napkins as well to tie everything together.
Now, let’s talk food! If you have family and/or friends staying with you, it will be in your best interest to feed them a lunch that is hearty enough to keep them from sampling your food as you cook but not so filling that they won’t have room for dinner. Enter Butternut Squash Soup served with Pomegranate Citrus Salad. Serve the soup in individual acorn squash for extra points. Even your overly critical Great Aunt will give you kudos!
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (seeds removed)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 chicken and apple sausages
- 2 red apples, diced
- ½ yellow onion
- 8 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp. sage
- 6-8 acorn squash for serving.
- To prepare acorn squash, chop the top off (the end that is pointy), scoop out the seeds, and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 mins.
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil.
- Add onions and one diced chicken and apple sausage.
- When onion and sausage mixture has caramelized, add butternut squash. Cook until softened but not cooked through.
- Add 1 diced red apple and cook for about 2 more minutes.
- Add broth and cook until the butternut squash has softened.
- Remove the sausage.
- Allow soup to cool, then blend until smooth.
- Return to pot and heat through.
- In a small skillet, brown all sausages and 1 diced apple.
- Serve soup in individual acorn squash topped with sausage and apple mixture.
We love this salad and your guests will too! It’s composed of this season’s bounty including tangerines, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and beets. The lemon dressing adds just the right amount of sweet and tang. Plus, it will make everyone feel like they are starting the day off well.
- 6 cups spinach or spring mix
- 2 fresh mandarins or 1 can mandarins in water or pear juice
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 avocados
- 2 green onions
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup honey
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Dressing
- For dressing:
- Add all dressing ingredients together and shake well.
- To make small individual salads:
- Slice mandarins or drain can
- De-seed pomegranate by placing it in a large bowl full of water. Slice it in fourths, then gently brush the seeds away from the pith using your fingers. The pith will float to the top and your seeds will sink to the bottom. You should have about 2 cups of seeds.
- For each salad, add ¾-1 cup greens, ¼ mandarin, ¼ cup pomegranate seeds, 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds and 1-2 Tbsp. dressing.
We’re confident this wild rice stuffing will become a family favorite. The nuttiness of the wild rice pairs well with the roasted butternut squash, sweet craisins, savory herbs and crunchy vegetables. It’s full of colors meaning it’s packed with vitamins but you don’t have to tell people how good it is for them if you don’t want to.
- 2 cups Lundberg Wild Rice
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth (gluten-free)
- 1 butternut squash, cubed and roasted
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup white or yellow onion, diced
- ½ cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you don't have allergies, optional add-ons include: chopped pecans, mushrooms
- Cook wild rice according to package instructions.
- Peel, seed and dice the butternut squash.
- Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Dice the onion, carrots, and celery.
- Saute in olive oil until translucent.
- Place the rice, roasted squash, and sauteed vegetables into a large serving dish.
- Season with sage, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the craisins and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme, if desired.
- Optional: add ½ cup of toasted pecans and/or sauteed mushrooms for extra flavor.
Simplicity is sometimes best and it couldn’t be truer with this oh-so-easy side-dish. Green beans and balsamic dressing are a match made in heaven. With the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, this dish is a winner. The best part is that it can be served two ways. If you prefer green beans on the crunchier side, forego the steamer and marinate raw green beans in the dressing overnight. You’ll love the crunch, we promise!
- 3 lbs. french green beans
- ½ lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
- Balsamic Dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.
- Wash green beans and slice the ends off. Steam until tender.
- Halve tomatoes.
- Place cooked green beans and tomatoes in a container and pour dressing over until beans are covered.
- Serve warm or chilled.
- *If you prefer your green beans to be crunchy, leave the green beans raw and marinate overnight. Add ¼ thinly sliced red onion if desired.
These mashed potatoes are completely vegan which is great if one of your guests is too. This recipe calls for olive oil and vegetable broth instead of butter and milk. Don’t omit the roasted garlic, that’s what gives these taters their rich taste. With a recipe like this, everyone wins. People who can’t tolerate milk can enjoy them and butter-lovers can add all the butter and gravy they desire.
- 5 lb of red potatoes
- 1 bulb garlic, roasted
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ¾-1 cup vegetable broth, warmed
- salt and pepper
- Wrap garlic bulb in foil and roast at 400 degrees until the center clove is soft when pierced with a knife.
- Boil red potatoes in a large pot until tender.
- Using a pairing knife, gently peel the skin off and slice into cubes.
- Place potatoes in a mixing bowl.
- Attach the mixing paddle and whip, drizzling in olive oil in a steady stream until incorporated.
- Add warm vegetable broth ¼ cup at a time.
- Mix in the roasted garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.
The first time I ever cooked a turkey, I accidentally cooked it upside down! I was so mad when I took it out of the oven because I thought I bought a bag of bones. Turns out I had the turkey upside down and I was trying to slice the ribs, thinking it was the breast. However, when I figured out what I had done, we got a huge laugh out of it and it turned out to be the juiciest turkey we had ever tasted! The secret is that all the juices go back into the breast section of the turkey instead of falling into the pan. Don’t worry though, you will still have enough drippings to make some delicious gravy. Moral of the story, it’s good to make mistakes because sometimes you discover better ways to do things.
- 1 turkey
- Citrus: lemons, oranges, limes
- Fresh herbs: sage, thyme
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Rinse inside and outside; discard the gizzards
- Rub cavity with a generous amount of salt and stuff with citrus and herbs.
- Rub outside of turkey in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook upside down for ½ the time, turn over to brown for last ½.
- *The timing for this step will depend on the size of your turkey.
Cranberry sauce from the can? No, no! Impress people with this zesty cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries. We have made it with honey and agave before and it turns out good but if you want the best consistency, use sugar.
- Zest one orange
- Juice of one orange + enough water to equal one cup
- 1 bag of fresh, whole cranberries (12 oz)
- 1 cup of sugar
- Bring orange juice-water mixture and sugar to a boil in medium size sauce pan.
- Add cranberries and return to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you have kids, it's fun to let them watch the cranberries pop as they cook.)
- Pour sauce into a glass bowl, cover and cool completely at room temperature.
- Refrigerate until serving time.
- *You can use honey or agave in this recipe instead of the sugar but it will not set as well.
Everyone loves gravy and let's face it, it would be hard to watch people drown their turkey and mashed potatoes in it if you couldn't do the same. If you're not in charge of cooking the turkey, you can ask your local health food store to save some drippings from their rotisserie chickens. I've made gravy this way before and I might actually prefer it this way.
- Drippings from Turkey
- 4 Tbsp gluten-free flour
- 1 cup rice milk (original flavor, NOT vanilla)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Pour all the drippings from the turkey into a fat separater through a striner. Then, pour the drippings minus the fat into a sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil.
- Shake gluten-free flour and rice milk together until it's combined and no lumps are visible.
- Add gluten-free flour and rice milk mixture. Do this by pouring through a strainer while whisking so that no lumps form.
- Whisk until it thickens.
- Add three cups of chicken broth.
- Season with ¼ tsp of garlic powder and ¼ tsp of pepper.
Cranberry Margaritas are super fun and add an element of surprise. I mean who suspected tequila to make an appearance this holiday? We’re loving this Cranberry Margarita on the rocks from Gimme Some Oven as well as Bobby Flay’s Blended Cranberry Margarita. You can choose to serve one or be super classy and offer both. Maybe we can get grandma to dance on the table this year!
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 12 oz. condensed rice milk (link for recipe in post) or 1 can condensed goat milk
- 1 9-inch gluten-free pie shell (We like Wholly Wholesome Brand)
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, and ginger in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
- Pour into pie shell.
- Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with coconut whipped cream before serving if you're not allergic to tree nuts.
For instructions for condensing rice milk click here.
We wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Sending you LOVE and PEACE without grease, The Glisten Girls