Soups are often thickened with flour or could be made with a purchased broth or stock that might have gluten in it. Make a salad instead, or how about a homemade sweet potato or butternut squash soup? Just be careful to buy a gluten-free broth or stock for the soup. And speaking of salads, many purchased dressing contain gluten, and croutons made with traditional bread have to be skipped. It is time to learn to make a simple vinaigrette dressing: measure 1 tablespoon vinegar or fresh lemon juice into a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Couldn’t be easier!
Stuffing is an item on holiday tables that is usually loaded with gluten. For a safe stuffing, dried, gluten-free bread can be used as the base. I bake a gluten-free cornbread a couple of days before the meal, and then cut it into squares and toast in the oven. I mix these homemade croutons with all the goodies I used to add to a regular stuffing: sautéed celery and onions, nuts, fresh herbs, apples are all tasty, gluten-free options. I also like to add browned, gluten-free sausage to my stuffing. Another approach is to make a rice or quinoa pilaf rather than stuffing. You can add the same ingredients I mentioned above to cooked rice or quinoa. Roasted or sautéed vegetables and dried fruit are also good additions.
Watch out for the traditional green bean and mushroom soup casserole topped with fried onions. This is filled with gluten. Instead, serve fresh green beans, tossed with olive oil or butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes I garnish the beans with red onion wedges that have been brushed with olive oil and browned under the broiler. Grated cheese is a good addition too.
One of my favorite side dishes is roasted winter vegetables. I cut a variety of items into bite sized pieces- butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts. Toss them with olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and then roast in a 400°F oven until tender and beginning to brown.
If roast beef is on your menu, you’ll have to forgo Yorkshire pudding. But mashed or roasted potatoes will make a satisfying replacement. My make-ahead turkey gravy would also be good with beef, only substitute gluten-free beef broth for the chicken or turkey broth in the recipe.
Think of the change in your diet as an opportunity to check out the wonderful fresh produce many of our markets now carry. Start cooking with fresh ingredients; your meals will be healthier, tastier, and naturally free of gluten. You could have the most enjoyable holiday meal yet.
- Kristine Kidd
Former food editor of Bon Appetit magazine, owner of KristineKidd.com
Thai Kitchen Tip:
Download the 2013 Gluten-Free Holiday eCookbook for new recipe ideas to change it up this holiday season. When you do, you'll automatically be entered to win a prize pack from Thai Kitchen!
Thanks to Thai Kitchen for making this series possible!