Many people observe a gluten free diet for a variety of reasons: maybe they have celiac like me or a gluten sensitivity, while some people eat gluten free because they just feel better overall or it’s a way for them to maintain their weight. For whatever reason you eat gluten free, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

I am a planner and always take into consideration who is going to be at dinner. This is my second (5th) holiday season eating gluten free, and I’ve learned so much over this past (couple of) year(s) on what ingredients work best for certain recipes, and new dishes to incorporate on our menu. Wherever I go for parties or dinners, I always have a dish or two with me that I can eat. I don’t expect someone to change their whole menu for me, but my Mom, this woman is amazing, she always makes sure her dishes are gluten free for me. Luckily I love to bake and cook, so I take care of making my own dishes for the holidays too.

Eating gluten free is certainly an adjustment BUT it’s not the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in your life: PROMISE! If this is your first Thanksgiving being gluten free, you know that there are a few changes you’ll need to make to the traditional “Thanksgiving menu.”

First, your stuffing. I love stuffing, and there is NO WAY, I’d go without eating it on Thanksgiving. Obviously, you can’t eat the traditional white bread stuffing, but you can easily substitute gluten free bread in any stuffing recipe. Last year, I used store bought Udi’s bread to make my homemade stuffing. While that worked well, this year, I’m going to make bread homemade, and incorporate that with some onions, celery, walnuts, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with making bread from scratch yet, you can buy mixes from company’s like Bob’s Red Mill: GF HOMEMADE WONDERFUL BREAD or Namaste: Bread Mix.

Gravy. Turkey is nothing without gravy, and usually gravy is thickened with flour. In this case, you can substitute a variety of ingredients: GF flour, corn starch or arrowroot. Another idea (I just saw this on TV while I was typing this post) is to take the cooked vegetables you put around your turkey in the oven (carrots, potatoes, onions), and puree them in a food processor or blender to add to your gravy to thicken it.

Apple pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, blueberry pie, pecan pie – all dessert must-haves for Thanksgiving. The one thing to pay attention to with these desserts are the crusts and breads. I haven’t really found any gluten free bakery bought or store bought pies that I like yet, but that’s okay, because I love to make everything homemade anyways. There’s a few different ways to make gluten free pie crust – some people make nut crusts with crushed almonds, butter, gluten free flour, etc – and you can also buy gluten free crust mixes from brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Glutino. Check out a few of my recent Fall dessert recipes: Apple Spice Bread, Fall Honey Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Bread with Almond and Brown Rice Flour, and Brown Sugar White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.

See – gluten free and gluten free doesn’t mean FLAVOR free. With little adjustments you can feel good about what you are eating!

Questions, comments, recipe suggestions – leave them below! I love to hear about new recipes that I can incorporate onto my menu!