So, precisely two weeks before Thanksgiving and a person finds herself in the position of host or that of a guest responsible for contributing a dish or two integral to the completeness of the meal (thanks to the advice of rule #2). This person is riddled with confusion over what one might serve in the absence of the two ingredients previously deemed essential to her livelihood. She considers her options.
It might come as a shock, but Thanksgiving could perhaps be the easiest food-centric fete to adapt for gluten-free and dairy-free life. While of course there are the classics that need to bid adieu if one wants more local flavor and less food science on the table, the options are indeed plentiful.
Consider the season’s bounty in the Northeast: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, squashes, greens, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears…on and on the list goes! These ingredients, so perfectly balanced in their just-ripe flavor, need a simple preparation to be fit for the Thanksgiving table. Here are a few ideas for each coarse.
A Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu
Simple bites to tide the group over for the last minute preparations. Always served with wine.
- A Tasting Platter: dried Calabrese figs, Marcona almonds, Prosciutto, olives, etc.
- Homemade Roasted Nuts (Note: The recipe calls for vegetable oil, but I would use light olive oil or avocado oil.
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates (Note: Omit the goat cheese for dairy-free, or else do half and half for other guests)
Main Dish: Roasts
Here are a few ideas I thought looked divine—for everyone from the traditionalist, to the francophile— but a simple alternative for your favorite roast recipe is to simply use olive oil or duck or goose fat in substitution for butter. Or, depending on your specific needs, you could try ghee.
- Very simple Spatchcocked Turkey (Ask your butcher to do this for you when you order your turkey.)
- Roast Capon (Omit canola oil and bread)
- Roast Duck with Apples (Omit butter in sauce and replace flour with gluten-free blend or cornstarch)
Side Dishes: Starches
By now you know I’m obsessed with roasted squash: kobucha, butternut, acorn, any will do. So if you want to keep it simple, you can just roast any squash or root vegetable in olive oil, add fresh herbs like rosemary or sage, and be done with it. But these recipes (both from Plenty More) shine.
- Butternut Squash with Cardamom and Nigella Seeds (This recipe is insane! And not just because we went to four stores looking for nigella seeds (they’re at Head Nut in Reading Terminal Market). Use olive oil for butter as needed, and omit yogurt.)
- Ottolenghi’s Root Mash with Caramelized Leeks
- Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
Side Dishes: Something Green
Believe it or not, the salad always gets devoured. I usually have a salad in addition to a roasted or sauteed green vegetable like some of those below.
- Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish and Pomegranate (or something a little simpler)
- Pear and Fennel Salad (Hold the Pecorino.)
- French Beans with Shitake Mushrooms and Nutmeg
Ah dessert. Probably the most challenging part of creating a gluten- and dairy- free meal (not to mention free of eggs and coconut milk in my case, as well). However, here are three ideas I know you and your family will love. Recipes coming soon!
- Vegan and Gluten-Free Apple Tarte Tartin Remember that beautiful apple sauce? The base layer for this intensely addictive take on apple pie made with my favorite gluten- and dairy-free crust (similar to this pecan crust).
- Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie My sweet husband searched far and wide to find a recipe that didn’t use coconut milk. And he found it here! We substituted the crust with our favorite like the one above).
- Vegan Baked Apples Cored, filled with pecans and raisins, drizzled with olive oil, sugar and cinnamon and baked for an hour, these are my new favorites.
What’s on your menu this Thanksgiving? I’m always on the prowl for new ideas. And if you missed it, my five tips for surviving and thriving with food restrictions this holiday season