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8 Gluten-Free Recipes for a More Enjoyable Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. There was the time away from school and work, I’d always get to see extended family, and of course there was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that I watched religiously every year.

My favorite about Thanksgiving though, was the food. When you have a big family, there’s bound to be a little of everything. And there certainly was! Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, three different kinds of gravy, potato salad, steamed vegetables, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, fresh dinner rolls, and let’s not forget the several different varieties of pies and other desserts. There were a few years when there was barely enough space for all of the food, and, of course, those were my favorite years. I love food. I always have.

Cue the summer of 2010.
I had been sick for months, unable to eat much of anything. I had even lost over 30 pounds. My doctors had done many tests, and they were about to do one more–a simple blood test. When the results came back, I found out that I had Celiac Disease. Nothing puts a dent in a love for food like Celiac Disease. At the time, Thanksgiving was still five months away, but it didn’t matter.

There’d be no dinner rolls. No pie. No stuffing. I wouldn’t even be able to have turkey because of the ingredients in the seasoned rub that was usually put on it.

I’ll be honest here. I cried. What would I do on Thanksgiving (or any other holiday, for that matter) if I couldn’t eat? After I spent some time grieving for my lost love of food, I really gave it a thought, and the answer was simple.

Thanksgiving would have to be gluten-free.

That can be tough. It was. Sometimes, it still is. However, you don’t need to fret too much about having to come up with delicious dishes for Thanksgiving this year. Some of my favorites are below.

8 Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

1. Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Curried Apples and Cranberries

Photo Credit: Gluten-Free Goddess
Photo Credit: Gluten-Free Goddess

Plain old cornbread stuffing can be pretty boring, don’t you think? This recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess takes that boring cornbread and gives it some major flavor by mixing in curried apples and cranberries. It might seem a little weird to have Thanksgiving stuffing with fruit, but you’ll love this dish after you try it! The best part is that this recipe works with regular gluten-free bread, too!

2. Goat Cheese Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Photo Credit: Tasty Yummies
Photo Credit: Tasty Yummies

I absolutely loved mashed potatoes. What’s Thanksgiving without them? While potatoes are generally gluten-free, this recipe from Tasty Yummies builds on that in simple way–by adding more flavor! Beth takes delicious baby red potatoes, smashes them up, and adds chives, garlic, and goat cheese for an amazing twist on the classic holiday staple.

3. Cranberry Raspberry Relish

Photo Credit: Fork and Beans

Cranberry relish seems to be hit-or-miss with many families. It goes about 50-50 in my house, and I think it’s because of this great-tasting relish recipe from Fork and Beans. Cara uses fresh cranberries, adding green apple and raspberry. It’s the perfect mix of flavors, especially for those who aren’t a fan of the sometimes bitter (and overwhelming) cranberry taste in other recipes. If you’re in the mood for a new relish this year, definitely give this one a try.

4. Gluten-Free Gravy

Photo Credit: Simply Gluten-Free
Photo Credit: Simply Gluten-Free

Gravy is one of my favorite holiday staples. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find gluten-free gravy that tastes good. This recipe from Simply Gluten-Free changes that. Carol’s gravy–complete with a dash of brandy (or wine)–adds delicious flavor to, well, everything you put it on! Don’t settle for packaged gravy mixes and gamble on flavor this Thanksgiving. Try this easy recipe instead.

5. Gluten & Grain-Free Apple Pear Crisp

Photo Credit: So Let's Hang Out
Photo Credit: So Let’s Hang Out

Who doesn’t look forward to dessert on Thanksgiving? I know I certainly do. While pumpkin pie is a staple for most people–and my family is no different–I like something a little different, too. This apple and pear crisp from So Let’s Hang Out is the perfect alternative to traditional pies. Light and packed with taste from the fruit, you’ll also get cinnamon in the mix. Finish it off with homemade whipped cream (if you so choose), and you’ve got a real winner.

6. Massaged Kale & Blood Orange Winter Salad

Photo Credit: With Food and Love
Photo Credit: With Food and Love

Is salad a part of your Thanksgiving meal? Some people love it and others don’t. I never gave it a thought until a few years ago when I found this recipe from With Food and Love. Kale can be hard for many people to love, but in this salad, it’s delicious. Blood oranges give it an even better flavor, and when you top it all off with a poppy seed vinaigrette dressing, you’ve got a new addition to your Thanksgiving meal tradition.

7. Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Photo Credit: Food 52
Photo Credit: Food 52

What would Thanksgiving be without dinner rolls? That was on my first thoughts back in 2010 when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I went with store-bought gluten-free rolls until I found this recipe last year. I’ll never go with store-bought rolls again! This recipe from Food 52 makes absolutely delicious rolls that the whole family will enjoy. Simple, soft, and moist, they go great with everything from cranberry relish to gravy. Give them a try this year and see the difference homemade rolls can make.

8. Balsamic Roast Turkey (with Apple Stuffing)

Photo Credit: Elana's Pantry
Photo Credit: Elana’s Pantry

Turkey–the most important part of the meal, right? Right. If you’re not one for the traditional oven-roasted bird and want a bit more flavor (that’s gluten-free), you need to try this recipe from Elana’s Pantry. Its simple balsamic and olive oil flavors offer a slightly different flavor–and a lot of it! The apple stuffing adds even more to it. Try these two together this year for a truly delicious taste.

How’s that for some great gluten-free Thanksgiving dishes? I hope you’ll love these as much as I have over the past few years. If you give them a try, please leave a comment below and let us know how you liked them!