It was only a couple of years ago that the thought of trying to make a holiday meal that was gluten free and mostly Paleo seemed like the impossible to me. But as we all know, where there’s a will, there’s always a way. While it’s taken me a few years to develop new recipes for some family favorites, it’s been well worth the effort.
I love that we now have holiday recipes that are made from whole foods/real food, and are so much healthier without sacrificing anything when it comes to taste and texture, (which can be tricky when making things gluten free).
So today I have the exact menu for you that we’re going to be eating on Thanksgiving. Well… to be accurate, not exactly on Thanksgiving Day because we’re heading out to do some winter camping in Glacier National Park, and hopefully snowshoe to the top of a peak. But when we get back at the end of the holiday weekend, we’re eating this simple menu.
And speaking of simple, this menu is incredibly easy compared to the holiday meals I used to make. Most of it can be made ahead, which is perfect for entertaining crowds, or for when you want to be out all weekend doing something fun instead of slaving away in the kitchen.
So without further ado, here’s our Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu:
Roast Turkey with Gluten Free Gravy – We soak our turkey in a brine and then roast it, (350º-375º seems to be an ideal temperature for roasting). Then with the juices, I make gravy by bringing the juices to a boil and then whisking in a small amount of tapioca/cornstarch mixed with water until the gravy becomes thick. Finally season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and that’s all there is to gluten free gravy.
Gravy Tip: I always keep some chicken stock on hand in case I run short or turkey juices during the roasting process. That way you can add some stock to the juices when you’re making gravy so that you’ll be sure to have enough gravy.
Cranberry Orange Sauce – Cranberry sauce is a must in my book because it just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving dinner without it, and this one is my favorite recipe. This recipe is easily made ahead and refrigerated for several days before the event.
Sweet Potato Stuffing 2 Ways – Both versions of this stuffing are great, but I do find myself leaning towards the gluten free version with wild rice, but there is a Paleo version as well. This stuffing can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 4 days ahead of time, and then reheated when you’re ready to serve.
Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower – Since we already have sweet potatoes on the menu, I went with this mashed cauliflower instead of traditional mashed potatoes. Also it can be made ahead and reheated, where regular mashed potatoes are always best fresh.
Green Beans with Bacon Mushroom Sauce – This one is a simple spin on the traditional green bean casserole with similar flavors. The sauce can be made ahead, then you just add the green beans to the pre-made sauce, and cook for a few minutes when it’s time for dinner.
Grain Free Pecan Pie Bars (recipe coming soon) – These do keep well for a couple of days in the fridge, but they really are the best the day of. You can make them first thing in the morning so that they’re out of the way by the time you’re ready to put the turkey in. We’ve had a long standing tradition of eating these for breakfast since we’re always too full after dinner. I’m baking a pan to take with us camping for breakfasts along with scrambled eggs, and we’ll probably just have the Apple Crisp below after Thanksgiving dinner.
Apple Crisp with a Twist or Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp – I can’t decide which one of these to make, and I think I’m going to have to take a vote and see if I can’t clear that up because I love both equally. I like to make the crisp topping for either recipe ahead of time. You can refrigerate it for 3-4 days or freeze it for a couple of weeks before using it. Then you can assemble it right before dinner, and the crisp can bake after you’ve pulled out the turkey, and sat down for dinner.
The Best Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – This is everyone’s favorite ice cream around here, and you can easily make it 1-2 weeks ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. If you’re dairy free or can’t have eggs, try my Homemade Coconut Ice Cream instead.
So there you have it, a simple holiday meal with most of the preparation done ahead of time which is perfect for stress free holidays!
And finally, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?