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If you’re among the growing number of people who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, or if you’ve recently been told you have GSE (gluten-sensitive enteropathy), this may be the first holiday you’re searching for recipes and tips for having a safe, gluten-free Thanksgiving.

And as it turns out, Thanksgiving is a particularly challenging one to start with, because unlike most other holidays, tradition calls for stuffing, rolls, pies and many other dishes that use wheat and have gluten.

The Turkey

Thankfully, turkey is gluten-free, unless for some reason you season it with something that does contain gluten. Salt, pepper, all herbs and spices are naturally gluten-free. The only exception would be if you buy a commercially produced blend or rub of some kind that contains wheat, but even that is somewhat rare. Get a fresh Amish turkey at Nino’s, and go for it.

The Stuffing

On the surface, you might think this is going to be one of the real issues, but with so many new (and tasty) gluten-free breads on the market (and at Nino’s), you need only substitute a gluten-free bread in your stuffing recipe. From there, most broths (Kitchen Basics® brand is one) are gluten-free, as are onions, celery, butter and your herbs. Not a real issue here. Enjoy.

So far we have the turkey and stuffing covered.

Again, generally speaking, all vegetables are gluten-free, unless you flour or bread them, and that includes potatoes. Milk and butter are also gluten-free, as are salt and pepper. Go ahead and make a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes and enjoy them too. Sautéed corn? Good. Ocean Spray® Cranberry Sauce? Also gluten-free. One traditional Thanksgiving dish you’ll need to make an adjustment to is the ever-popular green bean casserole since Campbell’s® Cream of Mushroom soup DOES have gluten in it. Here’s what you can do:

  • Saute ¼ cup chopped sweet onions and 2 cups of chopped mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter until tender.
  • Then add 1 cup of chicken broth and slowly simmer 15 minutes.
  • Dissolve 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in ½ cup cream or half & half, and slowly pour into the simmering mushroom mixture until it thickens to a pudding-like consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Use this in place of the Campbell’s® Mushroom Soup in your recipe.

As far as the crispy onions are concerned, you’ll have to make those, too. To do so, thinly slice a sweet onion and soak it in a little buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk and dredge the onion in a mixture of potato flour that has been seasoned with some granulated garlic, salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika. Simply fry these floured onions in 350 F vegetable oil, and drain on absorbent paper towels before sprinkling on your baked green bean casserole.


If you thought THIS was going to be the greatest challenge, you were wrong. While it’s true that the standard pumpkin pie is an issue, it’s not the pumpkin that’s the culprit, it’s the crust. And for most, it’s not the crust but the filling they love so much. Pumpkin, even Libby’s® canned one, is naturally gluten-free. Here are two awesome solutions, recipes I love. In my opinion, they are even better than pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

(Makes approximately 8 – ½ Cup Portions)

  • 2 ½ Cups                  Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup                       Milk
  • ¾ Cup                      Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp                        Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TBSP                     Unflavored Gelatin
  • ¼ Cup                      Cold Water
  • 1 Cup                       Cooked Pumpkin Puree

1.     Pre-arrange your chosen Panna Cotta cups on a flat cookie sheet that can be placed in your refrigerator afterwards.
2.     In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream, milk and sugar together until completely dissolved. Do not simmer.
3.     Meanwhile, while that liquid is heating, stir the unflavored gelatin into the cold water, let stand 3 minutes to hydrate, and then gently heat in the microwave approximately 15 to 20 seconds, until the solution is melted and clear. Do not let simmer.
4.     Remove the hot cream mixture from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture, vanilla and pureed pumpkin until all is well incorporated.
5.     Portion the mixture into your cups and refrigerate approximately 3 to 4 hours before serving. The finished texture will be less firm than a custard.
6.     Enjoy with sweetened whipped cream as a garnish.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

(Makes approximately 4 – 6 ounce Brulee Ramekin Dish Portions)

  • 2 Cups                      Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp                         Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ Cup                      Egg Yolks (Approximately 8)
  • 2 TBSP                     Brown Sugar
  • 6 TBSP                     Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp                        Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
  • Pinch                        Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup                      Cooked Pumpkin Puree
  • As Needed                Granulated Sugar (to brown on finished pumpkin brulee–approximately ¼ cup)

1.     Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
2.     Place your chosen brulee ramekins (or cups) on a cookie or baking sheet to which you can also add a bit of water in the pan to create a water bath.
3.     In a medium-size bowl, beat together egg yolks, sugars, the pumpkin seasonings and pumpkin puree.
4.     In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and vanilla together to a simmer. Then, while stirring, slowly add to the pumpkin mixture.
5.     Return the entire mixture to the heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute.
6.     Remove the mixture from the heat and portion into the ramekin dishes. Each portion should be at least ½” deep within the dishes.
7.     Add some water to the baking pan (1 cup or so) to create humidity in the oven and help the brulee to bake evenly.
8.     Bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes OR until the mixture is just jelly-like firm.
9.     Remove ramekins from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature 30 minutes before refrigerating.
10.   Refrigerate until cool. Then sprinkle approximately 1 ½ tsp. evenly over each ramekin’s surface, and place directly under your oven’s broiler to caramelize the sugar to a bubbly brown. Alternately, you can use a blow torch to do this equally well.
11.   Serve immediately.

Enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving gluten-free with these great tips and recipes. You may even find that your gluten-tolerant family and friends want you to share these ideas and have you repeat your successes for years to come.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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