Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Gluten Free Thanksgiving November 25, 2009

I find Thanksgiving to be a relatively easy holiday to do gluten-free, since the foods are pretty basic in general.

turkeys are the staple of the holiday, and you should make sure that the turkey you choose is gluten-free, and there are many to choose from. the following list pertains only to whole turkeys. Jennie-O lists both their Premium-Basted Young Turkey and Fresh Young Turkeys to be gluten-free. however, the gravy packets DO have gluten in them, so do not use those. Honeysuckle White is a Cargill brand, and they list their All Natural Whole Turkey, Extra Tender and Juicy Young Turkey, Frozen Whole Turkey, Oven Roasted Whole Turkey, Hickory Smoked Whole Turkey, and the Deep Fried Cajun-Style Whole Turkey are all gluten-free (again, throw out any gravy packets that it comes with). Butterball turkeys list would list “wheat” on the ingredients list, but not gluten, so you may want to contact the company first. but oddly enough, while some of their accompanying gravy packets do contain wheat, they have some out there that are gluten-free! be sure to check which one you have before using it though. Shelton’s turkeys are free-range, antibiotic-free, and gluten-free. all of Pilgrim’s Pride and Perdue brand turkeys are also gluten-free. Empire Kosher whole frozen turkeys are also gluten-free. ***whatever turkey you choose, do not cook them in those bags that speed up cooking time! they usually contain gluten.

vegetables (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, etc) are pretty easy~ any plain veggies steamed, baked, or grilled are fine to eat. all fresh cranberries are naturally GF. if you use cream corn, make sure you know if it’s gluten free or not, because I’ve food that most store brands use a modified starch. HyVee is GF, as are Del Monte‘s and Walmart’s Great Value brands. otherwise just stick with regular corn. for mashed potatoes, if you use something other than plain butter, make sure that it’s GF of course.

as far as the gravy is concerned, corn starch is a great substitute for wheat flour. any GF flour or starch can probably be used effectively though. if you use broth as a base, make sure that’s gluten-free. Whole Foods and Trader Joes brands have good labels to see whter they’re GF. Walmart’s Great Value brand of chicken and beef broth (in boxes ONLY, not the cans) are both gluten-free as well. many of the Pacific Natural Foods, Imagine, and Health Valley broths are gluten free. all of Swanson’s Natural Goodness 33% Less Sodium broths are GF, as is their vegetable broth (in the 14oz can ONLY). a grocery guide would also be helpful in the search.

another major concern is the stuffing. if you’re lucky and have a small family, maybe it’ll be feasible to do all the stuffing gluten-free. but if not, make sure they don’t put the regular stuffing inside the turkey!! you can get gluten-free stuffing cubes from Cooqi Bakery, who now does them in bulk so you can buy the exact amounts you’d like. they have about 5 types of stuffing, including an egg-free sourdough option. Bittersweet Bakery sells stuffing cubs in lots of 4 cups. you could also just dry out and cut up any gluten free bread, whether bought or homemade.

one of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie. most pumpkin pie recipes (for the pie filling itself) are GF, if not they’re easily substitutable with GF ingredients. you can buy gluten-free pie crusts, pre-made or from a box mixture. you could also try and make your own with a GF pie recipe. if you want to make it as easy as possible, you could always crush some GF cookies, and mash some butter into it and spread that around the pan, and use that as a crust. Bittersweet Bakery sells pie crusts, and fresh pumpkin pies, and pecan pies (order ahead).  I believe Cooqi has pumpkin pie-making kits. with them, it’s always wise to reserve your items ahead to make sure it’s still available when you arrive.

if you’re going to someone else’s house, unless you know them well enough to know they can make your meal GF, it may be easiest to volunteer to bring some of the items yourself, so you know you can eat them. or just pack a meal (or part of it) for yourself.

one last thing to consider is that if you’re at a table where not everything is GF, you may want to make your plate first, and then keep some of the extra food in the kitchen. otherwise, people pass the dishes and serving spoons may touch the gluten on people’s plates, which can then transfer to yours. be careful of cross-contamination!

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