What are you thankful for this year? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I want to make sure that each and every one of you can be thankful for a delicious gluten-free Thanksgiving meal. Between the breads and the sweets, the holiday season can certainly be a challenging time for gluten-free navigation. But knowing exactly where the gluten lurks and the alternative options available to you can make the process so much easier. So whether you are the chef or the guest, here are some classic Thanksgiving dishes you should look out for.
TOP 5 GLUTEN-CONTAINING THANKSGIVING SUSPECTS
1. STUFFING (culprit: bread cubes)
Alternatives: 1) use a gluten-free (100% cornmeal) cornbread to substitute for bread cubes, or 2) make a rice stuffing (e.g. wild/brown rice with cranberries, pecans, and herbs—just make sure the bouillon/broth being used is gluten-free)
2. GRAVY (culprit: wheat flour for thickening)
Alternatives: substitute corn starch or gluten-free flour for the wheat flour (remember not to add it directly to hot liquid; make a “slurry” first by dissolving the starch/gluten-free flour in small amount of liquid, then add it to the rest of the mixture to prevent clumping)
3. ROLLS/BISCUITS (culprit: wheat flour)
Alternatives: 1) gluten-free (100% cornmeal) cornbread, or 2) gluten-free biscuits
4. GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (culprit: fried onion rings[coated in wheat flour/breadcrumbs], cream of mushroom soup [thickened with wheat flour])
Alternatives: It is possible to make or find gluten-free cream of mushroom soup (Pacific Foods has one) and to create your own fried onion rings using gluten-free flour/breadcrumbs. My personal recommendation, however, is to substitute the casserole with a fresh green bean salad or roasted vegetable medley.
5. APPLE/PUMPKIN PIE (culprit: pie crust [contains wheat flour])
Alternatives: As my website can attest, there are numerous options for gluten-free dessert. For the classic Thanksgiving pie, all you need is a gluten-free crust. But if you want something new (and, in my opinion, even more delicious!), I suggest that you try these festive pumpkin goat cheese cheesecakes. There’s no gluten in them to begin with— just ultimate deliciousness.
These cheesecakes are truly awesome. The crust is made of sweet, buttery pecans (no one is missing graham crackers here!) and the cheesecake itself is a fluffy texture with a light pumpkin flavor. The addition of goat cheese to this dessert is wonderful in that its slight tangy-ness adds to the flavor complexity while cutting the richness of the filling. It therefore offers the perfect end to a heavy holiday meal. And for those with a little bit more of a sweet tooth, a dollop of maple whipped cream offers just the perfect amount of decadence. This dessert truly is the epitome of autumnal thanksgiving: pecan, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and maple all wrapped up in one.
At this time, I would like to give a special thanks to all my readers and site visitors. I am so happy to have all of you following me, and if you ever have a recipe request, just let me know. I am grateful for each one of you, and I wish you the very best Thanksgiving holiday!
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cheesecakes with Maple Whipped Cream
Yield: 12-15 mini cheesecakes
1 cup pecans
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup goat cheese, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
Maple Whipped Cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
For crust, combine pecans, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in melted butter and process until mixture holds easily when pressed together. Press crust into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Let crusts cool completely.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat cream cheese and goat cheese until creamy. Add in sugar, and beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. (At this point, you can set aside approximately ½ cup of the mixture for the purpose of making a marbled pattern on the cheesecakes before baking).
In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. Fold pumpkin into cream cheese mixture. Fill cupcake liners about ¾-full of cheesecake filling (for marbling, use reserved mixture to dot tops of cheesecakes and use a toothpick to create a swirled pattern).
Bake 18-20 minutes, or until cheesecakes are puffed on top and center looks set. Allow cheesecakes to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
For whipped cream, beat cream, powdered sugar, and maple syrup on high speed until mixture forms soft peaks. Serve with chilled cheesecakes and enjoy!