A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving: Menu, Schedule & Recipes

19 Nov

I’ve been MIA for awhile.  Between some pretty hard family stuff that both hubby and I have been dealing with and throwing him a rocking 30th birthday party (10 course appetizer/cocktail tasting for 18 – I promise a post on it soon), I’ve found little time for posting.  Now with Thanksgiving RIGHT around the corner, I figured I would try and squeeze one in now (or as it turns out, write an extremely long and detailed post, packed with information).

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday: good friends/family, incredible food, and fabulous fall weather (fingers crossed).  The truth is, I love an excuse to cook an excessively large meal and eat my favorite comfort foods.  Without a good pumpkin pie and some creamy mashed potatoes, it doesn’t feel quite right.  One college Thanksgiving when we were graciously hosted by an uncle, we had a beautiful gourmet dinner – that ended with me in tears (in private) missing the comfort of my favorite foods (and my family).  I’ve learned a lot since then – and figured out that I like to be the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner!  Each year I try to recreate that beauty and tastes from that dinner, flecked with the comforts of my favorite staples.

Trying out gluten-free has been a way for me to informally test whether any of my stomach issues are linked to a sensitivity.  It has also allowed me to get a bit more creative with my cooking.  The inspiration for eating GF was my sister-in-law who has newly been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance.  The diet change has completely changed how she feels. After a semester of working hard to eat safe in a college dining hall, I want to make sure she has a Thanksgiving feast filled with our favorites from years past.

I don’t like to post recipes that I haven’t tried.  That being said, I want to share the thought that is gone into planning this delicious menu. I’m going to share recipes I’ve tried, along with links to recipes for the gluten free changes I’m going to make. Hopefully this isn’t too late to help out someone with their plans!

Here is my menu, schedule, and a few recipes to try.

(Apologies in advance for any lack of pictures, old post pictures, or iPhone pictures… )

The Placemats:

I’m either using these:

(typed menu “cut and pasted” onto these Cake placemats)

or these:

(awesome downloadable pdf placemat with menu)

Both are using these two free fonts: Champagne and Engravers)


Snacks for the day

Stuffed Mushroom
(These were a hit at the party last week – recipe below)
Stuffed Jalapenos
(Another party fave – recipe below)
Baked Brie with Pecans
(A frequent guest at my Thanksgiving meals – recipe below)
Vegetarian Chopped Liver
(I know it sounds gross, but it’s not. And hubby loves it – recipe below)
Cheese Tastings
(You know – stinky blues, sharp cheddars, goat gouda – and a couple with sage or cranberry rolled in)

The Meal

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
(A spin on one of our regular dinners – this recipe looked too good not to try)
Cornbread Stuffing with Wild Mushrooms and Pecans
(Our every year absolutely FAVORITE stuffing – this year with a spin on this GF cornbread – obviously not making it vegan)
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(Another repeat performer – recipe below, picture to come)
Many Cheese Macaroni
(Hubby would kill me if I ever tried to remove this from the menu – making this year with GF noodles – recipe below – and gluten free bread crumbs – below)
Mini Mushroom and Lentil Potpies with Cornmeal Gouda Crust
(Tried these out for a shabbat dinner and KNEW they would have to make an appearance this year – recipe below)
Roasted Broccolini with Paprika, Almonds, and Garlic
(Still searching for the green veggie that will make it into the all-star repeat player list – maybe this will be it?)
Herbed Scalloped Potato and Sweet Potato Gratin
(Another repeat performer – recipe below, picture to come)
Cranberry Sauce
(I make it each year, but secretly love the canned jelly kind which I have to put out too – a recipe below)
Mushroom Gravy
(This is so rich, yummy, and vegetarian – recipe below, picture to come)
Salmon with Cardamom Maple Glaze
(Keeping Kosher means no turkey for the non-vegetarians, I’m hoping this will be THE salmon dish)


Pumpkin Pie
(An all-star, with a new GF crust)
Berry & Pear Crisp
(I’m making this one up, so you’ll have to wait on the recipe. It’s filled with cranberries, blueberries, and pears and is inspired by this Smitten Kitchen recipe – and made with GF oats. I’ll serve it warm with creamy vanilla ice cream)
Miniature Pecan Pies
(Making this favorite small, for fun, with the same GF crust)
Chocolate Pudding Pots
(Made these for the party last week, and hubby liked them so much they are showing up again this week – recipe below)

The Schedule:

Here’s the schedule I’m going to try to adhere to.  If you are starting later, adjust as needed. If you are starting on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, you might want to cut down a bit.


Shop for everything but the leafy greens ( in my case, the broccolini and kale)

Sunday/Monday (Trying to prepare day)

Make pasta and freeze

Make pie dough

Begin bread

Prepare some soup or a meal to eat when you are cooking like crazy on Wednesday

Tuesday (Help yourself out day)

Make gravy to reheat on Thursday

Bake bread

Purchase greens and any other last minute items

Make chocolate pudding

Wednesday (Prep day)

Cornbread in the morning

Prepare stuffing

Make and refrigerate pumpkin pie

Make pecan pie

Make (but don’t bake) crisp

Make potpie filling, bring to room temp before baking

Make cranberry sauce

Stuff mushrooms and jalapenos

Blanch broccolini



Prepare scalloped potatoes

Prepare mac and cheese

Start mashed potatoes

Make, but don’t dress, salad


Take out potpies to bring to room temp

Finish and set out appetizers

Eat a snack

Finish pot pies

Start salmon

Reheat or bake all casseroles, stuffings, pot pies

Make broccolini

Heat potatoes

Heat gravy.

Dress salad

Late afternoon:

Eat a giant fest, pop in Berry Crisp

Eat dessert, if you can.

Friday (Relax day)

Enjoy all of your delicious leftovers

Some Promised Recipes:

Stuffed Mushrooms

These little nuggets are seriously delicious – and hard to stop eating.  With a simple twist on this Food and Wine recipe, these are easily made gluten free.


10 oz large cremini mushrooms, washed and stems discarded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, + 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, plus one 3-inch sprig of rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
bag of lays original potato chips, crushed
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, rolled into the same number of balls as you have mushrooms


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rosemary leaves, and salt and pepper.  Put on foil lined baking sheet, round side up and roast for 25-35 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Let cool.

Heat remaining oil, and add rosemary sprig. Fry until crispy, then remove and let cool.  Toss potato chip crumbs in rosemary infused oil, until just golden.  Let cool.  Add crispy rosemary leaves.

Stuff each mushroom with ball of goat cheese and top with rosemary chip crumbs.

You can make and stuff the mushrooms a day ahead – just bring to room temp and add the crumbs before serving!

Stuffed Jalapenos

These won out as the most popular app at our party. They have a little kick, but the cheese helps balance the flavor.


12 jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup or so minced onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 oz cream cheese, room temp makes this easier
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
2 ounces jack cheese, cut into 24 equal sized sticks


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wearing gloves, slice jalapeños in half lengthwise, and remove seeds.  I leave the stem because it looks pretty.

Combine next 6 ingredients in a bowl, until mixed evenly.

Stuff each pepper with filling and top with a piece of monterey jack cheese.

Bake on parchment or foil lined sheet for roughly 30 minutes until cheese is starting to brown and gets gooey and bubbly.

You can also put these in the fridge a day before and bake before serving!

Baked Brie with Pecans

This oozy, gooey sweet and creamy number is a big hit in my house.  It is a great alternative to the popular pastry covered brie.


Small wheel of brie or camembert (I’m using a small camembert and a goat brie this year)

1/2 cup or so of pecan pieces

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cheese on a parchment lined baking sheet; bake until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to serving tray/plate and let cool for 10 minutes

While cheese is cooling, bake nuts until toasted and fragrant, 7 minutes. Top cheese with nuts

Meanwhile, combine sugar and maple syrup in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Coat cheese and nuts in yummy sauce. Eat with crackers!

From Martha Stewart.

Vegetarian Chopped Liver

This is one of the simplest appetizers ever.  It’s somewhat unappetizing color is true to it’s namesake and doesn’t detract from the incredible taste.  The meaty taste is sure to please even the liver lover (hubby assures me). This recipe comes from a family friend and was given to me as a recited list.


3 tablespoons canola oil
3 onions, diced
can of green peas
can of green beans
3 hard boiled eggs
1 cup walnuts


Sautee onions in canola oil, until golden brown.  Transfer to a food processor. Add all other ingredients and puree until creamy. Eat with crackers!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


2 large heads garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
5 pounds all-purpose Maine potatoes, peeled and quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups heavy cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice tops off the garlic heads, place on foil and coat heads with olive oil.  Tightly close the foil and bake golden and soft to the touch – about 45 minutes.  Let cool until you can touch and then peel.

Place potatoes in a large stockpot, cover with cold and very salty water (think ocean water), and bring to a boil. Cook until falling apart, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to pot to steam dry for a couple minutes.  Then put through a food ricer or use a wooden spoon to press through a mesh strainer.

Heat butter and cream in a saucepan until butter has melted and cream is hot. Pour over riced potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Gently stir in the roasted garlic cloves; serve.

You can also make these earlier in the day using only 2/3 of the cream and butter, then 30 minutes before serving, use a bain-marie to reheat the potatoes and then just before serving add the remaining warm cream and butter.

Gluten Free Noodles

I searched high and low to find a recipe that would allow me to use my beloved extrusion pasta attachment – I wanted to make my macaroni and cheese from scratch – and though I have found brown rice macaroni noodles that I love, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without homemade noodles.

These are quite tasty!


2.5 cups Better Batter GF Flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
5 eggs
1 egg yolk


Mix in stand mixer using paddle (not dough hook as you might with typical pasta dough). When it comes together, form into ball.  Cover with clean cloth and let rest for 20 minutes.  Break into small balls and feed through your pasta make extrusion attachment (for the lovely tubes that make good macaroni and cheese).  Be so happy you finally found the perfect GF pasta recipe!

From GF Hugs & Cookies XO

Crusty Gluten Free Bread

I was nervous to try this bread, but had to find a good crusty bread for my recipes.  I have a feeling this bread will work wonderfully – it has a nice bready texture and a great crispy crust. Perfect for stuffing too!

Makes roughly 4 loaves


320 grams brown rice flour
202 grams sorghum flour
315 grams tapioca starch/flour
75 grams corn starch
2 Tbsp yeast, divided
1.5 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
4 large eggs, whisked together
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey or sugar


Whisk together honey, water and 1 tablespoon of yeast in small bowl to proof, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, remaining tablespoon of yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a large (I used 6 quart) lidded container.

Once proofed, add the oil to the yeast liquid mixture.

Add the eggs into the dry ingredients and then stir while you pour in 1/4 of the oil and water. Continue to stir while you pour in another 1/4 of the liquid. The dough will start to come together in a thick dough. Continue adding the last liquid, slowly, while stirring until the dough is smooth. Cover with the lid, but don’t close. Allow it to rest on the counter for about 2 hours. You can store the dough in the fridge for about 7 days (I baked one loaf last night and am making the other ones later this week).

When ready to bake, remove from the dough from the fridge. Try not to handle too much, or you will remove some of the air from the dough. Wet hands are the key to handing this dough too.

Use wet hands to remove 1-pound piece of dough from the bucket and place on parchment paper. Wet hands again and smooth the top of the dough to get a nice rounded shape. Keep water bowl nearby if dough starts to stick.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 90 minutes. It won’t rise a lot, but it will grow a bit (alas, no gluten).

30 minutes before baking time preheat the oven with a dutch oven in it to 450 degrees.  Carefully place bread and parchment paper in oven.  Bake for 20 minutes with lid on, then remove lid and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes until golden and crispy.  I added a cast iron pan filled with ice cubes when I removed the lid to add extra steam.

Barely adapted from Artisan Bread in Five.

Lentil and Mushroom Potpies with Cornmeal Gouda Crust

These are so delicious – even my non-mushroom loving friend, thought these rocked.  Unfortunately, bad light and hungry bellies prevented any good pictures.  Maybe I’ll manage it this Thanksgiving!


1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 oz fresh mushrooms
1 med onion, 1/4 inch diced
1 carrot, sliced into 1/4 thich rounds
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp, GF APF
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 dice
4 tsp tamari
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup GF APF
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 oz smoked Gouda, grated


Combine 3 cups water, lentils and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil and cook until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, pour 3 cups boiling water over porcini mushrooms and let soak for 25 minutes.  Reserve soaking liquid, and coarsely chop mushrooms.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add fresh mushrooms and cook until starting to get soft.  Add another tbsp oil, onions, carrots, and fresh herbs.  Saute another couple minutes   Add garlic, stir, and reduce heat to low.  Mix in 2 tbsp GF APF.  Cook another minute and add in porcini liquid. Stir and add porcine, potatoes, tamari, and tomato paste. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, stirring a couple times – 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. You can prepare this up to two days beforehand, just bring to room temp before baking.

Divide into 8 –  1 cup ramekins.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine GF APF, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in food processor.  Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal (think pie crust).  Slowly add buttermilk and pulse until dough begins to come together.  Turn out on GF floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Shape into 2/3 inch thick disks, and fit over ramekins. Alternative, roll out to 2/3 thickness, and cut using biscuit cutter. Bake pot pies on baking sheet until toothpick comes clean from topping and it is golden brown, 20-30 mins.

Herbed Potato and Sweet Potato Gratin

Two potato dishes may seem like overkill, but hey – they are both so good, how can I resist? It is Thanksgiving after all. This dish pops with flavor and is so creamy and delicious you will have to close your eyes when you take a bite. It is really that good.


1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
1.5 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 oz coarsely grated Gruyére cheese


Fill large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in bowl with water. I like my mandolin for this work! Repeat with sweet potatoes.

Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl.

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly. Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible.

This can be made 6 hours ahead of time – cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil (and remove plastic wrap). Bake 30 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake until top of gratin is golden and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.

From Epicurious.

Cranberry Sauce

This quick and easy cranberry sauce is yummy  and beautiful, though it will never completely replace the wiggle of the canned kind (I love those lines along the side).


12 oz bag cranberries
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water


Bring all ingredients in a medium saucepan to a light boil, stirring occasionally. Cook about 10 minutes, until cranberries start to pop.  Cool and refrigerate until serving.

Mushroom Gravy

This gravy is creamy and rich. I make ahead of time and reheat to save the stress of your gravy not coming together right before the meal (oh how that makes me sweat).


1 portobello mushroom
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
4 cups veggie stock (or water and better than bouillon)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons GF APF
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped

Remove stems from portobello, shiitake, and cremini mushrooms. Place stems and mushroom stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes. Strain; set aside.

Finely chop all the mushrooms. Place 3 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Melt and add shallots, cooking until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook until soft and browned, and all liquid has evaporated. Add

Place the remaining tablespoon butter and GF APF in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook until browned and fully combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the enriched stock; bring to a boil, whisking until thickened. Add the reserved mushroom mixture and thyme, and stir to combine. Serve hot or cool and reheat just before the meal.

Barely adapted from Martha Stewart.

Chocolate Pudding Pots

Hubby absolutely adored these and they make perfect easy desserts (since they store in jars in the fridge).  Luckily, they are incredibly easy to make. You can make and then eat all week of you like!


12 ounces dark chocolate (I like TJ’s 72%), chopped finely
4 eggs
2 Tbsp orange liqueur
1 dash salt
1 cup Super Hot Coffee
Whipped cream, for serving
Candied orange peels, for decorating


Place the chocolate, eggs, orange liqueur, and salt in the blender. Blend until combined.

Pour the coffee in a thin stream through the blender lid until it’s all added while mixing. Blend another few seconds, or until smooth.

Pour mixture into small jars on a baking sheet, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to several days.

Top with whipped cream, then garnish with sliced orange peel before serving

From Pioneer Woman.

To make candied orange peels:
Slice orange peel into thin pieces. Combine equal parts sugar and water and bring to a boil. Meahwhile, blanch orange peels in another pot of boiling water. Add peels to sugar water and cook 45 minutes to an hour, until soft and pliable. Let dry for about 15 minutes and coat in granulated sugar. Set to dry on a cooling rack for 1-2 days. Store in air tight container for several weeks or freeze.


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