gluten-free Thanksgiving, 2011

So, there’s this holiday coming up. I think it’s called Thanksgiving?

It’s funny. All through the year, people seem to accept their gluten-free situation with grace. And even a sense of humor. There are stir fries! Pot roast! Tamales! Coleslaw! Deviled eggs! I could write down foods for 20 minutes straight and not run out of choices. Who needs gluten?

However, as soon as November descends with its early darkness, there are querulous cries. How do I make stuffing? Pumpkin pie?

And really, I feel the pain. Behind all these questions lies one big question: how do I make sure that I can create a Thanksgiving meal that will satisfy everyone?

Even more sad, the question is often: how do I make the Thanksgiving meal exactly the way I’ve always eaten it, just without the gluten.

Well here’s the deal. The traditional Thanksgiving meal? I don’t think it’s that great.

Where else would you have sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes in one meal? Where else would you have such anxiety infused in the food? (What’s the best way to cook the turkey without drying it out? Will I kill my family if I don’t cook it enough? Do I cook the stuffing in the bird or out?) And just what is cranberry sauce from a can?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite holiday. There are no presents to gather. No obligations to fulfill. No religious pomp. Just eating.

Still, I seriously wish we could mix up Thanksgiving at our house. I wish we could have a Sicilian feast one year, a Thai meal the next, a squash celebration somewhere in the future. I would love a potluck Thanksgiving, where everyone brings his or her absolute favorite food of all time and we all sit around the table and laugh, raising our glasses to the goodness that surrounds us and the gratitude we have for being there in that moment.

Sadly, that’s not going to happen in my family. Love them as I do, my family drives me nuts with their insistence on tradition. This year, my mother asked if she could make a stuffing from gluten bread. “Why?” I asked her. “Have you not enjoyed the stuffings Danny has made the last few years with the gluten-free bread? Should we be cooking them differently?” No, she said. They’ve been wonderful. She can’t tell the difference. It’s just that gluten is traditional.

Um, okay. Clearly, there won’t be any changes in our menu this year.

So here’s the deal. This time of the year, the visitors on this site triple. (Hi, new people!) I can feel the anxiety bleeding into the white spaces here. And in years past, Danny and I have tried to meet that anxiety with new dishes, spins on old ones, recipes that people request. But we’ve done this for the past five years. I don’t really feel like running a magazine anymore. We have plenty of material for you already, foods that will make everyone feel happy and safe.

We’re happy to round up all of them here, so you don’t have to go searching. Here’s this year’s list:


Roast Turkey


Cranberry Chutney

Curried Sweet Potato Gratin 

Gluten-Free Gravy

Gluten-Free Stuffing



Braised Fennel

Brussels Sprouts with Caraway and Prosciutto

Parsnip-Celery Root Puree

Pumpkin Mash

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges



Broccoli Winter Slaw (vegetarian)

Brussels Sprouts Salad (vegetarian)

Emerald City Salad (vegetarian)

Roasted Vegetable Salad (vegetarian)

Wild Rice Salad with Cashew Sour Cream (Vegan)



Fresh Pumpkin Pie 

Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Gluten-Free Pie Crust 

Vegan, gluten-free pie crust



Cranberry cocktail



And a long list of gluten-free dishes for the Thanksgiving table, created by other bloggers!

Clearly, there’s plenty there to peruse!


We’re going to take a few days off from new posts to give you time to digest them all. (ha ha) And we’ll be back on Monday with…well, I don’t know what yet. I know we’re playing with a cornbread dressing, because we’ve never made it. We have a coffee cake we love, a gluten-free flour mix we recommend, and something to do with turnips. Oh, and this kabocha squash-apple cake that Danny insists is the best cake he has ever eaten. That, I know. The rest of the posts before Thanksgiving? We’ll see. They may have nothing to do with Thanksgiving at all.

Obligation doesn’t create good food. This year, we’re just doing what interests us right now.



“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” — Julia Child

These days, I’m passionate about roasting pumpkin seeds. These are so simple that I’m not going to write a typical recipe. You want to move into the kitchen with these soon.

Put a good couple of handful of pumpkin seeds in a cast-iron skillet. Slide it into an oven, already preheated to 350°.

Set the timer for 10 minutes. Don’t forget this step. You don’t want to burn these. Check them. Shake them around. Toasty enough? Take them out? Want more? Go longer.

Turn the oven down to 250°.

Meanwhile, melt 2 ounces of butter (that’s 1/2 a stick in the US) with 1/4 cup maple syrup. Heat them until they start to simmer vigorously. Shake that pan, to prevent burning, until the maple butter has reduced in half its volume.

Toss the pumpkin seeds into the maple butter. Stir to coat.

Pour them back into the cast-iron skillet. Back into the oven with the pumpkin seeds! Roast until the maple butter has started to shrink and harden a bit. The pumpkin seeds will be toasty and the liquid a little candied.

Pull them out of the oven. Let these puppies cool.


(You’ll want to make these by next week, when I share the recipe for the kabocha squash cake. These are in that cake.)



97 comments on “gluten-free Thanksgiving, 2011

  1. Allison Day

    Those pumpkin seeds sound utterly divine. And as I haven’t had any pumpkin seeds yet this year (I know… there’s something seriously wrong with this picture), obviously I must make these.

  2. Robin

    I’m laughing, sort of, at the idea that gluten is traditional, even though we love the gluten free stuffing and can’t tell the difference. Arg. We’ve pared our feast WAY down this year. Totally eliminated the dishes that some of us don’t love. We’re starting new traditions – flexible ones. Less work, less anxiety. More fun. Food ought to be fun.

  3. Wendy

    Being gluten free aside, we have never had a traditional Thanksgiving meal that is the same, one year to the next. It might be soup and a new pie, chorizo with eggs and flan…we love food and can’t stand to be restricted. I am the only gluten eater in the family and the cook and I don’t miss it one bit. We sit down together and plan what we would like to eat pr try something new.
    When it comes to Christmas, we are Christians and therefore have a lot going on at church, so to relieve some of the stress related to the religous activities, we make turky sandwhichs with all the tradional sandwhich fixings and then a spectacular dessert that can be made ahead of time like german chocolate cake or pumpkin cheesecake. Life is short enough to stress out over such a small thing as what is to eat for thanksgiving. I am just thankfilled to begin with!

  4. Sherri

    I like your ideas of getting away from the “traditional” food fare at holidays ~ Being a Ukrainian girl who can’t eat gluten or process dairy it is a bit of a challenge, but one I am actually slowly gearing up for and looking forward to. I truly love the look on “gluten” eaters faces when they try something gluten free and they find it delicious haha. We have two different situations one with my boyfriend’s family – who works toward having a totally gluten free holiday meal, and my own who still needs to have gluten in some of the dishes ~ almost like their “comfort” food ha 😉 So I hear you! I raise my glass to all of us still learning how to educate families while at the same time – still learning how to live our lives and manage our health. 🙂 We already had our Thanksgiving here in Canada – but wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving ~ so much to be thankful for! 🙂

  5. aseafish

    I guess I’m there with the serious traditionalists. Probably because I love ritual, I totally get into the whole Thanksgiving as we all remember it thing. That said, I don’t get the gluten as tradition thing, myself, and ours evolves a bit each year. I’m sure we each focus on something different when we call it tradition. I am completely grain and dairy-free, and we also serve vegetarians, so I cannot begin to claim it’s the same as when I was a child. I does look pretty much the same, though much bigger for sure.

  6. cathy_b

    Wow, I guess I can see why you are a bit fed up (ha ha) with this holiday but I LOVE the traditional Thanksgiving meal and I love the fact that it’s traditional … I feel like I can mix it up any other day of the year I guess!

    I’ve never been able to figure out how to make pumpkin seeds, edible, though–the outsides always seem too hard and fibrous to bite through 🙁

    1. Kelly Kyle

      Pumpkin seeds are so easy…. Here’s how I do them. Hope you will like them and find them as easy as I do. I love to carve the pumpkins, just for the seed! They are the reward for me!

      Wash all seeds… spread while wet on a baking tray. sprinkle with some salt(not too much) just for flavor. Bake at 250-300 for 10-15 mins. Do not over bake…but you wasnt them to start geting nutty brown. they will start to crack and pop if they are too done.

      remove from oven….cool, eat… YUM!


  7. jacquelyn

    I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who dreads the Thanksgiving menu. The only Thanksgiving meal I ever enjoyed was the time I broke with tradition and made curry and chutney and naan and it was delicious! This Thanksgiving with 4 of our 14 extended family gluten free I might have to finally explain to my mother in law why potato bread has gluten, why corn bread and gravy, stuffing and piecrust are all either going to be modified or left uneaten. She doesn’t get it and I don’t feel like taking over the kitchen. I think I’m just going to print out the wealth of options you’ve listed here and cook my own $%# meal. (And it better be good. I think I’m pretty grouchy about the whole holiday. Better check my attitude at the door. I’m sure it will all be lovely.)

  8. Christina

    Shauna, Just a HUGE thanks for all of the work you guys do with recipe testing. I have always been super impressed at just how much work you must do to post so much information for us all to read. I think you’re right, you’ve already posted enough for Thanksgiving and also for Christmas cookies. You’re wonderful and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of your work. I buy and recommend your books to everyone I know eating GF or thinking about it — not just b/c I love your books (which I do) but also as a thank you for all of the information you have poured out so freely on this site. It doesn’t seem like enough, but I am grateful. I’m loving this frequent posting with simpler recipes. It’s so natural and I am inspired to hop in the kitchen even more. Thanks for being you! 🙂

  9. Amanda

    I’m so with you on the feeling about Thanksgiving–to hell with tradition! I’m celebrating a major victory this year as my parents (both of whom are also gluten free) are both fully behind my scrapping the Turkey-day food and starting afresh. We’re having a roast chicken (which, let’s be honest, is 80000 times more moist than Turkey and 80000 times easier/less stressful to cook), cheesy turnips, crab casserole, green bean casserole (Mom isn’t completely happy with this, because she wants to make deep friend onion pieces for the top and I say that’s just empty calories that I don’t care about–the beans and the mushroom soup are the whole point), pumpkin lust cake, and a few other sides. The tradition is getting together with the people you love–not worshipping food that makes you stressed out and ill.

    Oh, and I can’t wait for your latest cookbook to come out! You guys are wonderful–and the only blog I’ve dutifully read for the past 4 years.

    1. Kristina

      I made my own GF onion last year – I sliced the onion and then dipped them in a egg wash. Took some Gluten free bread crumbs and processed them in the food processor till they were super smooth, added some salt and black pepper an a smidge of time, whizzed it all together then dredged the onion slices in the breading. I placed them on a baking sheet and baked at 350 till crispy. I did this several days in advance and just stored them until the day in a plastic baggie on top of my casserole. They were better than the store bought! I can’t do GB casserole without the crispy topping…..

      1. kiki b.

        The topping is where all the goodness is =) Here in Holland we get these great Indonesian fried onions that have no gluten and are absolutely DELICIOUS on top of my homemade casserole. Best of all, they’re available in every supermarket, as a fair percentage of the population here is of Indonesian descent. Maybe you can find those Stateside in a good Asian supermarket, I don’t know, but they sure save me a lot of work every year. However, I have also done green bean casserole with caramelized red onions on top, broiled for the last few minutes so they get crisp-chewy, and it’s divine!

  10. Jennie (the gf-gf)

    Can’t wait for the kabocha squash cake recipe!

    My family has nixed the gluten in Thanksgiving dinner, but last year, I was hoping for a less traditional dinner, and my suggestions did not go over well. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we had potato leek soup instead of mashed potatoes! Or ham instead of turkey! But I’m a fan of turkey and mashed potatoes, so I won’t complain 🙂

  11. Victoria

    Last year, I quizzed the husband about his mother’s turkey preferences before the holiday (turkey is usually cooked and just kept warm in the oven by the time people arrive) and if she stuffed the bird. He assured me he’d *never* seen his mom put stuffing inside thr bird.

    We got to their house, just in time to see her pulling stuffing out of the bird. Not a successful first gluten-free Thanksgiving.

    This year, I did have to ask the mother-in-law to make a separate turkey breast without the stuffing and keep it apart from the regular turkey from the stuffed bird. I understand… that stuffing in the bird used to be my favorite part.

    This year, it’ll be Udi’s bread (I was cheap last year and didn’t want to spent the $$ for two loves of Udi’s just for me, but damnit, I deserve it!) for stuffing in the traditional family recipe, a lot of gluten and nut-free veggies and good company with family. And it’s the company that matters most.

    1. Bethington

      If you’re feeling cheap again this year, even homemade gluten free bread that was a “failure” works great for stuffing. Also, cornbread stuffing is delicious and super cheap/easy to make.

  12. Sarah

    This post is something I can well appreciate being 15 and being one of the only 3 gluten free-ers in my family. On top of that, I am the only vegetarian, both in my immediate and extended family. Needless to say, Thanksgiving can be a bit of a battle for me. I love the holiday, for all the reasons you mentioned, but it can be quite discouraging when everyone is piling turkey and biscuits and pie and gravy onto their plate and I have my little pile of salad and potatoes. In the past years or two however, my dad has started making a gluten free stuffing cooked separately, and my mom has been experimenting with gluten free pie crusts. Last year I tried making a gf vegetarian gravy, and it wasn’t altogether terrible. So between those options, and the new ideas you have given me, I have high hopes for this year, and I hope your thanksgiving turns out equally well. Thank you for the new suggestions, and happy thanksgiving!

  13. JennC

    Thanks for a wonderful compilation post. This will start my holidays off with a great cooking resource. We appreciate all you give of yourselves to all of us!

  14. AudreyV

    Amen Sista! I’m tired too of trying to make gluten free food look and taste like traditional food. I know what I like, and I know how to make it, and I don’t care if it’s not traditional. It tastes good and it’s gluten free and I don’t feel sick when I eat it. This is so hard for some people, food is just too emotional. As I find myself transitioning from gluten free to grain free and paleo, because I find that I feel better without any grains, I find myself with a whole new mind set about what good food is. And it is often very different from traditional foods. Well this is certainly a journey, if nothing else.

  15. Bethington

    The stressful part of Thanksgiving for me isn’t the “how do I make” part. I can figure that out. It’s talking with the extended family about it. Thanksgiving is usually a potluck involving 15-20 people, most of whom I see once or twice a year. How can I ensure that the turkey wasn’t basted with a commercial, gluten-y sauce? How do I explain that you can’t transfer the spoon between the special stuffing I brought and the regular one? How do I explain all this without coming off as “too good to eat your food?” Symptoms are more subtle with me (headaches, joint pain, breakouts, bloating) and don’t show up right away, so it’s more difficult to make people understand. Fortunately, this year we’re doing the extended family get-together the weekend before with non-traditional foods, so I can bring some gluten-free muffins and avoid all of the baggage involved with the Traditional Thanksgiving Feast.

    I am so excited about the Kobocha squash cake. It sounds delicious!!

  16. Elizabeth

    It’s funny how tradition takes hold and won’t let go. My husband and I often feel downright manipulated by holiday eating. Every holiday has its own food demands. We have started calling the 4th of July “Summer Thanksgiving” because the spread is equally demanding and ridiculous (only in BBQ format). Since going gluten-free nearly 10 years ago, I have learned to love letting go of ideals. It has been painful at times, but more rewarding than I could have imagined. At Thanksgiving I am more grateful for so many things besides food; I am healthy and armed with the knowledge of what I need to make myself so, I have my family and friends beside me (these moments in life are limited and rare. Every gathering is a miracle). So, instead of having a potato with a side of stuffing and a roll with a helping of marshmallow topped candied sweet potatoes followed by pecan and pumpkin pie, I keep it simple: one starch, (usually a mashed potato) and the roast bird and some green veggies and a plate of pickles, olives and stuffed celery to ruminate over while we wait for the mini-spread to make its way to the table. Otherwise we miss the briefest and happiest of moments: everyone together, safe, happy, warm, fed and loved, inside the house on a quiet day.

  17. Adina @ Gluten Free Travelette

    On my second gluten free thanksgiving, I made my first turkey and it was amazing. In fact the entire dinner was amazing. We did the traditional thing because I love mashed potatoes and stuffing. Although I’ll always miss cranberry sauce…darn that cranberry allergy! This year, I’m feeling much more confident in that I can make anything gluten free and it’s going to be darn good!

  18. Tiffany

    Sad to say, but I’m always thankful that we live a little too far from family to travel in the allotted time for Thanksgiving. We can stay home with our boys and cook what we want and eat what we want — which ends up being pretty traditional, but there is no stress about cross-contaminated spoons or worrying about stressing some other cook out with our dietary issues. Other family/holiday meals don’t seem nearly this stressful to me. Thanks for all your lovely yummy recipes!

  19. Suz

    Yes… and!

    It is my fave, too. I get to connect.

    There is a tradition in my world that I’ll offer: pre- and post- Thanksgiving. Or, as we have come to call it, the Other Thanksgiving.

    We started having a extra-Thanksgiving affairs, cheating on our crazy families, when I was in college. And, know what? They are still nuts, and my friends are still great. We get together to be grateful for each other, mess up food without anxiety, and raise a glass to creating the Thanksgiving experience we want to have.

  20. Leslie DR

    I made a cornbread stuffing last year that I really liked, but I was sort of winging it and therefore didn’t write it down! At any rate, I’m going to try again and this time I will record it! I think it involved a lot of onion, sage, thyme, broth, mushrooms (fresh and dried) and sausage. Maybe chestnuts this year. My extended family is very accommodating and understanding (and I do a good deal of the cooking!) so other than the store-bought pecan rolls (full of every additive in the book, never mind the gluten but SO delicious), I am not really missing anything. We gave up stuffing the bird a long time ago, since it truly added to the turkey stress and didn’t really seem to benefit either dish. (And I never really liked my mother’s bread-based stuffing anyway!) Whatever we are eating, the most important thing is to be around the table together, laughing and creating even more memories.

  21. Wallie

    LOL…your mother sounds like mine! Too funny.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post!! I will be testing out quiet a few on the list. 😀

  22. Elisabeth

    Thanks for the compilation, nice to have it all in one spot.

    And you have one vote to NOT include sugar in the cornbread for the cornbread stuffing (or dressing as we call it, as it never goes in the bird). Not for dietary reasons, but cultural. 🙂

    We started with a recipe in a Southern Living cookbook for our cornbread dressing, we use less white bread (Rudi’s this year) than called for (the year we left sandwich bread entirely out, it was just a bit too mushy, more like a corn pudding studded with celery and onions than something you could slice up). And we add loads more poultry seasoning and sage than called for. Now that we’re dairy-free too, we just clabber non-dairy milk with lemon juice and it seems to work just as well as buttermilk. But what we make is egg rich, and I’m curious how you will work around that.

    Best of luck with the dressing, I’m curious to see what new ideas I get from what you come up with!

  23. Hazel

    It boils down to being an outcast in the family – one person who cant eat gluten that causes the anxiety and ridicule to descend upon them. Your goal of trying to please everyone, well just cant be done so people panic, and fret. It is horrible- you go and only eat what you know (hope) is safe or abstain from eating anything. Or you are scrutinized, “Can you eat this, that, etc.” Sometimes its easier to just stay home as you feel you have to defend yourself at every bite or non bite. Your life being GF revolves around food, and suddenly everyone else is put out by it. They shame you because of the inconvenience they percieve, and it sucks to be in that position.

  24. Jonathan

    My family has a tradition with making German food for Thanksgiving. It was fine for a few years, but sometimes you just want a classic Thanksgiving you know? To be the only one that doesn’t go for it, if you speak up, everyone looks at you like you’re being ungrateful. It’s awful.

    This year, since this is the first one since going gluten free because of my Celiac disease, my girlfriend and I are having our own safe Thanksgiving meal, then going to my family’s place for dessert. I’m going to buy a frozen gluten free pie crust (I’m not ambitious enough to try to make my own with Thomas Keller’s flour mix) and make a variation on pumpkin pie.

  25. Kat

    One of my favorite Thanksgiving meals was when I was in my mid-20’s — my boyfriend and I hosted an Indian potluck lunch, shared with friends (mostly Brits) in Venice Beach, that extended into the wee hours. But I have to admit — when I’m at home-home, where I grew up, I get irrationally pedantic about tradition. Woe betide the person who suggests we do away with the pearl-onions-in-cream-sauce side dish — even though only my grandmother ate it, and she died about 10 years ago! On the stuffing issue, though — why not just make two batches of it? One gluten-free, one not? Then everybody has what they need — or prefer. Speaking as a stuffing fiend, who would eat it whether it’s gluten-free or not, TWICE the stuffing is a tradition change I could fully endorse!

  26. mpv61

    Good for you to realize you don’t need to come up with something new just for Thanksgiving. The links should do us just fine – thanks! Happy Thanksgiving and a lovely holiday season.

  27. Elisa Bosley

    Bummer about that comment from your mom. I’m so excited because my (gluten-free) son will be home for Thanksgiving, and I’m psyched about creating a fully GF meal for EVERYONE.
    Oh, and I made those pumpkin seeds on Halloween! Yum.

  28. Megan

    Gluten is traditional?!

    We’ll be mixing it up a bit this year. Like you, we’ve added some more allergens to our list this year. We’ll be bringing most of our own food to this feast this year, since our family seems to think that dairy is also traditional. Up til this point, I’ve been stressed about making a parallel meal to suit our needs. Thanks for the reminder to let go of the anxiety.
    I made a vegan pumpkin pie last year using agar agar – a word to the wise, a little bit goes a looooong way. (I think you mentioned a few posts ago that you were going down that route).
    Best wishes to you and your family.

  29. Swiss Charrd

    My throw in the pan and figure out gluten free stuffing that makes me not miss stuffing- stuffing? I make brown rice in the rice cooker like normal…then I cook it again – first some onions and celery are sautéed in the pan with Simon and Garfunkel herbs and butter, then I add the rice and add liquid, cooking it down over and over with broth and white wine, just like a risotto. When it is almost done I add already baked squares of eggplant. It is soooo much like stuffing, the eggplant like moist bread and the seasonings flavorful and “stuffing like and rice *smushy* so satisfying! AND if I had to have only one thing at Thanksgiving it would be stuffing so you know it
    has to be really like stuffing,

    I do agree with the non traditional though, since really we are not even that traditional if we are following the real first Thanksgiving anyway. I like your ideas, lots of pot luck food, or theme meals. I made mine with a lot of fish one year, including lobster because the Pilgrim’s and Natives were along the shore and probably had a lot of fish. We need to each make our
    own traditions and mainly have a fabulous time sharing food with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving Holiday to you!!!

  30. Leila

    I don’t see what’s wrong with your mother’s plan to make gluten-ful stuffing! Why not bring your own gluten-free stuffing and have two kinds? The more the merrier!

  31. sheree

    That is so funny! Every year I make a ton of food because “this is what we’ve always had on Thanksgiving” and I make myself crazy doing it only to throw away most of the leftovers 3 days later. The only things I really enjoy are the turkey and the mashed potatoes & gravy LOL. This will he our first year gluten-free and I am paring things way.down. My husband is the only one here who loves dressing so I may just not make any and he can eat it at his parents house because they certainly have absolutely no intention of doing anything gluten free for my daughter. I would love to have a variety off foods that are non-traditional for Thanksgiving!

  32. Brie

    The idea that gluten is traditional is totally hilarious to me! As my husband and I go through our list of what dishes we want to make, I’m realizing that our Thanksgivings were always pretty low-gluten, actually. We both hate stuffing, so I never make it. His mom used to notice, but after 18 years of holidays with us, she doesn’t anymore. I’ve always thickened gravy with cornstarch. My favorite sweet potato casserole recipe doesn’t have flour in it, and neither do mashed potatoes or homemade cranberry sauce. Veggies are fine – we don’t normally have that green bean casserole that everyone likes. I’m going to figure out gluten free pie crust; that’s my one change. I bet nobody will notice that we don’t have gluten here until the Udi’s comes out on Friday for sandwiches!

  33. gluten free gift

    Yep – don’t mess with “normal” people’s stuffing! This year we ran away to the cottage with our smaller immediate family (up in Canada we have Thanksgiving earlier) and threw all tradition to the wind. No turkey. It was such a relief to lose the NORMAL ROCKWELL image of what this holiday is supposed to be about. We had an awesome time – which was about feeling thankful that we are all healthy and happy to be together. There was a loaf of bread up there (I don’t like to share mine!), but otherwise – a gluten-free celebration. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  34. Christie @ Pepper Lynn

    Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds?! I must make these soon.

    Thanks for sharing about the tension between traditional vs. nontraditional. I find a battle raging in my own self sometimes, but as times goes on, I find myself caring less about traditional and more about having a thankful time with friends and family regardless of what we’re eating. I don’t follow a gluten free diet, but it’s helpful to have your recipes as there are many people in my life who do. 🙂

  35. Tiffany

    Ha! I gotta love your statement about your mom and stuffing. My Mom has done the same thing to me every year. The first year I was diagnosed I made stuffing in acorn squash and my Mom made regular stuffing as a back up. I understood that year because even I was unsure of how it would turn out. Everyone loved my stuffing and asked for seconds. So every year since then I have made some sort of gluten free stuffing and everyone raves about it. And every year my Mom insists on making the stuffing from a box. I just don’t get it!

  36. Karen

    It’s funny that gluten is so entrenched in Thanksgiving. I doubt the original Pilgrims even HAD gluten-filled bread. I doubt they were growing wheat! Cornbread would be more likely.

    My husband adores his stuffing, and so I have worked hard to find a gluten free bread that will work with it. We use Pamela’s Amazing Bread Mix, make a couple of loaves, and it is quite lovely. Don’t make stuffing in a Crock Pot, though. Too soupy.

  37. Rae

    Oh yes, the T-Day question. It has been many a year since I’ve shared this feast with my birth family–The tradition my family of choice has built revolves around what we love best; a feast of foods we are most thankful for, tending heavily toward Northwest/locavore. We reach out especially to the waifs in our circle without ‘family’ and invite them in. Everyone brings their favorite something and without fail, it is amazing. Yes, some years there is an element of Sweet Potatoes Three Ways and others you’d think it was chef-catered. Everyone is aware of ALL the dietary limitations in the group. Not a single gnash of the teeth, not a moment of trepidation. Just love in the house and bliss on a plate. We call it ThanksLiving.

  38. LauraJayne

    There is something about reading your blog today that makes me want to write – not blog, but write! I love that feeling – so even though I rarely click on recipe links because I don’t have time too cook, I keep coming back to your blog! Thank you for inspiring me today!

  39. Jada


    I love your cranberry cocktail idea. However, when I checked out the recipe, it lists “1 quart cranberry cocktail” as an ingredient. Do you make your own cranberry cocktail, or are you referring to a store-bought variety? If you make your own, it it simply a process of boiling cranberries in water? Thanks!

  40. Tami in Oregon

    I was so fed up with doing all the Thanksgiving cooking last year that at the end of the meal I announced we would be going out to dinner this year. This from a person who LOVES to cook. I think I was just tired..physically and of making the same recipes year after year. I was informed by my doc this week that it’s highly likely I’m gluten intolerant and should give it up until I can get tested in a few weeks. That challenge lit a fire in me and now I’m excited to try something new for Thanksgiving. I’ve already decided sweet potatoes will be a pie for desert rather than a side for dinner. After reading some of your old posts I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more ideas to shake things up.

    BTW I’ve been following your blog for a few years. I was pretty sure I had a gluten issue back then but I tested negative for Celiac. I started taking acidopholus and digestive enzymes which resolved my issues for a time. Now I really wish I would have listened to my gut…literally. Anyway, I fell in love with your stories and have been a fan ever since. When my doc told me to stop eating gluten I said OK, I can do that! If I hadn’t been reading your blog I probably would have freaked out!!

    Thanks for all you do!!

    1. mari

      If you are going to be tested in a few week you need to be eating gluten. If you have been gluten free for a while the tests will not be accurate.

  41. Yuri @ Ingredients We Choose

    LOL! I am right there with you Shauna! My partner and her mother were getting a bit frantic trying to figure out how to make me gluten free equivalents of as many dishes as possible. I, remembering the emotional nightmare that was the year before when we tried to do this, sat my partner down and said honey I have a special request for Thanksgiving this year, I am going to ask you for something that I would really really like, ok? This is important to me. Could you please _not_ do any cooking for me at your family’s house, but just let me bring something simple that I make in my own kitchen at home? I know you all mean well, I feel the love, I really do, but what would make me happy is to be able to spend our time and energy enjoying the day together, instead of being hot, tired, and cranky from trying to cook a whole other lavish meal besides the main one!

    When I put it like that, she couldn’t say no! But it is hard for her and for her mom to see me not be able to eat what they are eating. To them “food is love”, and in their minds to not make an exact gluten free copy is to exclude me from love. Luckily, they are receptive to hearing how _I_ want to be loved, however much it goes against their instincts.

    I love what you said about bringing food you love and sharing it. I used to have a regular potluck dinner open to all my friends – usually it was an inter-faith shabbos dinner, where we would have the Jewish blessing of the wine, a Buddhist chant, and other inspiring/religious quotes and activities that everybody would bring. Sometimes we would do fun silly things like make it so that you couldn’t serve yourself, but instead we all served each other as an act of affection and appreciation.

    My mom is from England and my father’s family is from Japan. We have always had things like sushi and Yorkshire pudding at our Thanksgivings, so I don’t feel so constrained by “tradition”. However, years ago when researching Thanksgiving for planning an event for homeless/foster care youth who had little conception of traditions, I found some very interesting information. “Thanksgiving” did not really exist until President Lincoln declared it as a new holiday after a massive 40 year PR campaign by a magazine editor 242 years AFTER the initial event. The idea of turkey and pumpkin pie was dreamed up – at the actual event they had duck/geese, squash, corn, fish, venison, lobster, dried fruit, berries, etc, but they had LITTLE TO NO FLOUR. Sorry gluten tradition folks, the original Thanksgiving likely had no bread, stuffing, pie, etc. (No milk, cider, potatoes or butter either) (No Native Americans either after the first one – the second Thanksgiving was 55 years after the first one and was held to celebrate winning the war against them)

    Anyway, the idea of a traditional Thanksgiving harkening back to the pilgrims at Plymouth rock is pure fiction. And if the point of the holiday is really to give thanks, then why the heck not eat and do whatever makes us happy and thankful? Worrying about getting poisoned by gluten and being pressured to conform to an imaginary ideal is hardly my idea of a happy or thankful time!

    I love the idea of international cuisine themed Thanksgiving meals! We are an international community now, deeply reliant on each other (cough! global-housing-crisis! cough!), so why not celebrate in a global way? It certainly is appropriate for people who love food in such a whole hearted way! ^.^ In one part of my family that has gotten older and smaller, we don’t bother with the turkey non-sense at all, but go out to Chinese food every year! (because they are always open on Thanksgiving) It is delicious and as my grandmother says, we don’t have to do the washing up. ^.^

    I adore that you aren’t going to stress about making a Thanksgiving “magazine”. Its nice that you rounded them up for those who want them, but it is much nicer that you are having this wonderful honest conversation about just not worrying about it so dang much, continuing to cast off our ideas about what food “should be” and _enjoying_ our friends, families, and food instead.

    It’s a process, its all a process, but I sincerely hope we all have a wonderful time off doing just that! ^.^

  42. Heather

    You and Danny saved my Thanksgiving a few years ago when I was first diagnosed as gluten-intolerant. Fast forward, and now I feel comfortable enough to mix things up a bit and try adapting new recipes on my own. I couldn’t have done it with out you, nor could I continue! Thank you thank you thank you!! Looking forward to the new recipes 🙂

  43. Kathleen

    Thankfully most of my extended family understands that my parents and I really can’t eat gluten and it’s not an issue when I’m with them. Certain friends, however, are convinced that if I would just eat sprouted wheat or sourdough or take various homeopathic medicines, I would be “cured”. The hardest part of eating with people who just don’t get it isn’t that there’s nothing for me to eat, it’s that they’re offended that I won’t eat what they made. Sorry, I just don’t think a trip to the emergency room is a nice end to an evening.

    This Thanksgiving was very nice, though (we’re Canadian so it was a few weeks ago). It was just my parents and I, and we had turkey, gravy made with sweet rice flour, steamed carrots, corn, my mom’s homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, three kinds of pickles, green olives, and a pumpkin cheesecake that my mom saw in a magazine. The crust was made from oats and flour, so we used GF oats and substituted brown rice flour. It was very simple and delicious.

  44. Colleen

    I belong to a family that thinks my issues with gluten are all in my head, so they give me this apologetic look, and fill the table with all sorts of gluten filled and rich goodies. I have learned, the hard way, that if I want to eat the traditional Thanksgiving foods without poisoning myself, I have to make them. A wild rice stuffing with sage and cranberries is delicious, along with a gluten and dairy free pumpkin pie. Happily, turkey doesn’t have gluten in it, and I do insist on a green salad. Gluten issues aside, I love my family and realize that they have just as much right to eat gluten as I have in not eating it, so I try to accept their intolerance with humor. Now I have to face Christmas! Shauna, the thing I love about your blog…the support you give us restricted folks, and you help us to see beyond the restrictions.

  45. tjewell

    A suggestion for anyone who really wants to make pumpkin pie but can’t get over their fear of making piecrust: just bake the filling! It’s pumpkin custard, which completely lovely and holiday-tasting without any crust involved.

    1. kiki b.

      Most pies are better without the crust anyway, but it’s definitely true of pumpkin pie! This year, though, I’m going to try a pecan pie with a crumb crust made from some GF cookies – I think it will be divine!

  46. Lucie (Thursday Night Dinner)

    It’s like you were reading my mind. this will be my first thanksgiving gluten free and I have been dreading having to change up my recipes for it. I absolutely love thanksgiving its my favorite holiday so I am really excited to try out some new things and this post will definitely make that process so much easier! Thank you!

  47. Ty & Tracy

    Hi! I’m Ty!

    Mom and I have convinced Dad to attempt a gluten free Thanksgiving this year. Mom has tummy troubles that doctors cannot figure out, so she’s going to give the gluten free thing a shot (wink, wink). Thanks for the awesome choices of recipes! I was a little worried :/

    Like Mom, I have lots of friends with special needs or Down syndrome like me who are allergic to gluten. Yikes! So Mom and I came up with the Great Gluten Free Holiday Roundup on our blog!

    Oh and please pop by to leave your favorite kid approved gluten free dessert recipe for our Great Gluten Free Holiday Roundup and maybe even win something! Yay!

  48. Christine

    I’ve been reading your blog since the summer. Diagnosed gluten sensitive in September, and GF since then as well. Finally starting to feel the results of GF living, and am so inspired by your posts and recipes. I work a lot, but am committed to cooking at home more often. We made your Cranberry Chutney last night, to go with some roasted pork this evening. I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I wasn’t. So, so good!! Thanks!!

  49. Rosemary

    Shauna, I said that exact thing to my mom this year. I am SO OVER traditional Thanksgiving food. sigh. We’re still having turkey. I’m making my friend Janet’s gf stuffing. The whole point this year, as far as I’m concerned, is turkey sandwiches with cranberries and stuffing. I told my parents that next year, I am making them something completely different. 🙂

  50. Ki

    This is also our first gluten-free holiday season, but because we’ve been gluten-free for almost an entire year, we’ve already pretty much moved on. I did pop in for a pie crust recipe, but other than that we’re turning Thanksgiving on its head. I’m lucky. For the most part, the family is happy to go along with a total 2011 Thanksgiving Reboot.

  51. Gluten free inquirer

    Thanks so much – this is super helpful.
    Gluten free or not, Thanksgiving is not the same without pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie or PIE!!!!!
    Same question was asked on my site, replies not as thoughtful 🙁

  52. Chris DiAlfredi

    I think that Americans are so wrapped up in Thanksgiving tradition because of the infamous Norman Rockwell painting of a highly stylized Thanksgiving. My former in-laws went to great lengths to try to attain the atmosphere depicted in the painting, but all it ever ended up accomplishing was stress! Moving on and away from holiday ritual has been freeing and welcome.

  53. Nina

    Traditions are a funny area, aren’t they? In my family we have several Christmas traditions that I think are ripe for renegotiation – to make the celebration more relevant and enjoyable and simple – but for each thing there’s at least one person who will not even think about budging. Still, the thing about the gluten stuffing does seem a little crazy given that your mother says she couldn’t taste the difference…

  54. kiki b.

    This is my first GF Thanksgiving, but I’m not sweating it too much, as I’ve been drowned in GF cooking and eating for years now (my mother has celiac). My in-laws don’t quite get it, but they’re all Dutch so they don’t care about Thanksgiving anyway! Christmas will be the tough one this year, as there are usually several family get-togethers that all involve food. I’m hosting one, though, so I’ll have one less to worry about =) We’re having some expat friends over for Turkey Day this year, and as one of them is lactose intolerant I’ll have to do it without my usual couple pounds of butter and cream, but the most important part is that everyone is healthy and happy and that we’re able to enjoy a meal together and celebrate our blessings. And there will be no turkey on my table, since a decent-sized one costs about 65 euro. I’ll do duck or chicken instead (I do an amazing roast chicken).

    In the Thanksgiving spirit, thank you for all the hard work you do every day, and for sharing your struggles and triumphs with us. There are so many of us who appreciate it more than you know!

  55. Jennifer P

    I am working toward gluten free. I have to take it slow, as I am addicted to carbs. Chose gluten free only because I am symptomatic enough to wonder if I will feel better. As I had a gastric bypass in ’04 I have been the “problem one” to feed at my in-law’s house. My mother-in-law, loving though she is, just doesn’t understand. My parents are much more understanding as I was a vegetarian in HS. They always make sure there is a protein and side I can eat. They are also open to eating “different” things. Well, Mum is and we just don’t tell Dad. He learn later and can’t complain–hehe.

    I will HAVE to try the pumpkin seeds. I love them and these sound delish. Since I have 4 pumpkins to cook down this weekend (for puree and spreads), I will have plenty of seeds to play with.

  56. Jane

    Well, I guess I am the outlier on this one. I LOVE my traditional Thanksgiving… but then, the traditions in my house are a little abnormal. I never had processed food when I was growing up, and we always started cooking for Thanksgiving several weeks before the big event. We would perfect recipes and refine dishes, and begin making the bases for stuffing and sauces. Every Thanksgiving dad would put the turkey in the oven at 5 am (we like to eat dinner at 4 on Thanksgiving so we don’t have to eat all day), but he wouldn’t baste it. Instead he draped a full package of bacon over the bird. The bacon fat would baste the bird for him, and the turkey always came out falling off the bone. As kids, we would try and sneak in and steal the crispy bacon off the bird while dad was cutting it. The gravy was made with corn starch.

    Stuffing always took a week to make, starting with fresh bread. It was always the only thing on our table that had gluten in it. When I found out I had celiac and my sister was gluten intolerant, we went on a crusade to make all the breads we grew up on. You have to understand, I am German and grew up in Germany. Bread is paramount, I wouldn’t know how to live without it. I bake 1-2 loaves every weekend, and they normally don’t last a week. I don’t like the heel of the bread, so I cut those off with an inch of the bread and throw them in a bag I keep in the freezer. The weekend before thanksgiving, I pull the bread heels out of the freezer and I can generally make a double batch of stuffing (enough to last until spring). As for the sides, my family eats brusslesprouts, sweet potato fries, and mashed potatoes.

    Pie is one of the most important parts of thanksgiving for me. I have been in charge of pie since I was 12 (over a decade ago), so making them gluten free is easy. There are so many things one can do with pie crust, and I spend weeks working on variations until I get the perfect one for the pie I am creating. I always make at least one apple and one pumpkin pie, and then I usually have a wildcard pie. This year, I am bringing pie to by boyfriends family, and his dad is a blueberry nut, so I am making blueberry (I have some frozen from my garden).

  57. mari

    I love my family’s traditional Thanksgiving foods. They way I see it is that I eat Thanksgiving foods only on Thanksgiving. I have the whole rest of the year to play around with other cuisines. My mom’s family is Dutch. She and my aunts all learned to roast the turkey covered with a crust, kind of like a pie dough, that helps keep the turkey moist at the same time it soaks up some juices. It’s absolutely delicious!

    Does your mom read your blog? Just wondering…..

  58. J.

    You know that casserole with greenbeans, Campbell’s canned cream of mushroom soup and French’s fried onions? Thanksgiving TRADITION. My husband made a from-scratch version this year, with hand-dipped, gluten-free onion rings. . . and it got such rave reviews. Much more so than the traditional version. I love good gf moments like that. 🙂

  59. claudia

    Multi ethnic families I know always include their traditional foods with Thanksgiving and Christmas. This means turkey stuffing mashed potatoes and gravy, etc AND lasagne or sausage and saurkraut. This year just for fun, I made Mediterranean appetizers–humus, eggplant, stuffed mushrooms, almond crust pizza with feta kalamatas, etc. LOVE your blog. Just posted the link to your kabocha cake to Heidi’s blog on Kabocha salad.

  60. amy cabin

    I love pumpkin seeds!! I just started eating them a lot, I actually like putting them in them in my porridge in the morning with raw sunflower seeds and apples, its so good!! 🙂 great recipes thanks

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