Last year Riley and I took on the challenge of making Thanksgiving gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free. We had been eating that way and feeling great so we thought we would try to continue it into the holidays. We were both so surprised at how well everything turned out, it wasn’t any type of “sacrifice” and so we decided to share some of our recipes that we found helpful from other bloggers, as well as some that we have developed ourselves.
Thanksgiving is also when I am officially “allowed” to use my Christmas dishes. Don’t worry, I’ll wait on the tree ;) but the dishes are a special tradition. There is something so sweet about those details; they always bring me joy.
I made the pumpkin pie, cranberries, and prepped the green bean casserole early morning. This was a huge help to have done while the turkey was baking in the oven.
Pumpkin Pie: I chose to follow a recipe for a paleo pumpkin pie since I love paleo desserts so much. I appreciate the simple, real food ingredients and I never feel the sugar crash (even though they can contain sugar) that classic desserts give me.
We followed this recipe for the crust, and if you scroll down you will see her pie filling recipe as well. I only modified it slightly by adding a 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract and extra pumpkin pie spice (roughly 1/2 a tablespoon). The crust was the easiest I have ever made. I followed the simple directions and it turned out perfectly!
I had recently purchased the “So delicious” brand of dairy free whipped cream for my pumpkin spice lattes and it was absolutely perfect on the pie! I will definitely be buying it again!
Place 2 8oz bags of cranberries in medium sized saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1tbsp of ground cinnamon) and 1 cup of coconut sugar on low heat for 10 minutes until the cranberries begin to break down. Stir occasionally. Turn up to medium heat for further breakdown of the cranberries (another 5 minutes). Optional: save 1/2 cup of the cranberries and add for the last 5 minutes to have whole berries in your sauce for presentation. Remove from heat.
Once the cranberries are cooled add 1 drop of lemon vitality essential oil, and 3 drops of orange vitality essential oil. If you do not have these you could substitute in orange or lemon zest to your liking. These flavors mixed with the cinnamon makes these such a delicious holiday treat. We love ours to be tart but if it needs to be sweetened for your palate, add honey or maple syrup to taste.
Green bean casserole:
With 2 16 oz bags of green beans: cut ends off, steam, and place in a 9x13 inch pan.
Chop 6-8 crimini mushrooms (I love the pieces to be small and cook down easily) , mix into green beans.
Cashew cream sauce: We love this recipe with the cloves of garlic. You could also add bonus ingredients like nutritional yeast but we left it as is. I love that this dish is getting a health boost with the cashews, green bean casserole has always been my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner! If you were more of a semi homemade type of cook, check out a vegan alfredo sauce at your local health food store. Many of them are made out of similar ingredients and would save you time!
I found gluten free fried onions at our grocery store: sprouts. Mix 1 cup of the onions into your dish, with 1/2 tbsp of pepper, 1 tsp of salt, and 2 cups of the cream sauce until all of the ingredients are coated with the delicious mixture.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling. Add 1 cup of the onions to the top and bake for another 5 minutes.
Turkey & gravy:
We cooked the turkey traditionally, in our oven, basting it every two hours. Depending on the size and weight you may want to search for cooking instructions. Riley made a ghee, salt, pepper, and thyme coating for the turkey. We used about 1/4 of a cup of ghee for this, making sure the entire turkey was coated. We also had it stuffed with gluten free stuffing for the entire cooking process.
Once the turkey was finished, and carved, we poured the juice from the pan into a small saucepan, for us it was roughly 2 cups of liquid.
Place the saucepan on medium heat, for about 5 minutes. Slowly add in 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch while stirring, until the liquid turns into a gravy like consistency.
This was where we chose to cut a corner - we purchased the trader joes gluten free stuffing mix and made it before cooking the turkey. We liked it but will be making our own next time. Here is a recipe that I would try if you wanted a homemade gf stuffing.
Clean 8-10 medium sized red skin potatoes. Peel half (we love some of the skins in there). Cut into quarters and place in a large pot filled with about 4 cups of boiling water. Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the water. Boil potatoes until tender, easily pierced by a fork. This takes about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop or press 3-4 cloves of garlic, add to small saucepan with olive oil to coat the bottom. Cook the garlic on low heat until fragrant. Just a minute or two will do. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk, and 2 tablespoons of ghee to the saucepan.
Once potatoes are ready, drain water in the pot or transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add saucepan mixture, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. We added 1/2 teaspoon of thyme as well to continue the same flavor from the turkey. Use a hand held blender to mix until potatoes are smooth and creamy.
The whole meal came together quite easily. I keep the details as simple as possible so that I can spend more time with loved ones, which is what the Holidays are all about.