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Tips For A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2013

Food is part of the tradition of most holidays but Thanksgiving is all about food. We celebrate with friends and family and look forward to dishes like turkey and dressing with gravy, green bean casserole and dinner rolls topped off with pumpkin pie. For someone with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity these dishes are full of gluten making them off limits. However with a little planning these dishes can easily be made gluten-free especially this year as more and more gluten-free foods are available in local markets.

Turkey that has been stuffed with a bread dressing is the first obstacle because even the meat on the outside of the bird can be contaminated with gluten from the dressing. This is really one tradition that we all should avoid. The USDA recommends not stuffing the turkey because even if the turkey reaches the safe internal temperature (165 F) the dressing may not reach that temperature needed to kill the bacteria responsible for food borne illness. They recommend cooking the dressing in a separate dish which would also help make the turkey gluten-free. To be gluten-free buy a turkey that says gluten-free on the label and then be sure to read the labels of any seasoning or sauces used and you  can make gravy from the meat drippings with cornstarch. If your family is not willing to give up the practice of stuffing the turkey- cook a turkey breast on the side  and make gravy from that as well as  a separate dish of gluten- free dressing . (you may also want to encourage them to put a thermometer in the dressing inside the bird to make sure it gets above 165 F).

Green bean casserole is another source of gluten as it is traditionally made with cream of mushroom soup which usually contains wheat and breaded onion rings. To make this dish gluten-free try making your own cream of mushroom soup  or choose a gluten free soup like Progresso creamy mushroom soup. For the onions you could make your own by coating onion slices with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mixture and frying.

Pillsbury now makes a refrigerated gluten-free pie dough and gluten-free dinner rolls are also available in many local grocery stores. The central Ohio area also has several gluten-free bakeries offering gluten-free rolls and desserts. Be sure to call ahead and order them.

Attention to other details like keeping food preparation areas free of gluten containing ingredients or crumbs is essential. It is best to make the gluten-free dishes first before you get the gluten containing ingredients out.  At a buffet -prepared gluten-free dishes and utensils should be served in separate areas with separate utensils to prevent cross-contact.  Spreadable condiments like butter or mustard could also get contaminated with bread crumbs.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and spend time with family and friends.  Planning ahead can help make the dinner less stressful. If you are the host and have gluten-free guests be sure to call them ahead of time to develop a plan for the meal. Be sure to ask about all of the ingredients you plan to use even if you think they are gluten-free If you are the guest be sure to let the host know you need to be gluten-free. As the guest it may be less stressful for you to bring some gluten-free dishes to the meal. For more great gluten-free recipe ideas check out our Pinterest board

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole from Betty Crocker

  • Fried Onions*
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 large onions, cut in half, thinly sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Green Beans
  • 2 bags (12 oz each) Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen cut green beans, cooked
  • 1 can (18 oz) Progresso® Vegetable Classics creamy mushroom soup
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place onions and milk in medium bowl; let stand. In deep fryer or 4-quart Dutch oven, heat oil (2 inches) to 375°F.
  2. In resealable plastic food storage bag, mix Bisquick, salt and pepper until well mixed. Drain onions. Place onions in bag; shake to coat. Remove onions from bag shaking off excess. Gently place half of onions in oil; fry 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining onions. Let onions stand while preparing bean mixture.
  3. In ungreased 3-quart casserole, mix soup, soy sauce, pepper, cooked green beans and 1 1/2 cups of the onions. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly, adding remaining onions during last 5 minutes of baking.

Makes 8 servings

Thanksgiving, celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity , gluten-free, USDA, food preparation, ingredients.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Mary Kay Sharrett
Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Mary Kay Sharrett has been a registered dietitian at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for more than 30 years. She is the founder and dietitian advisor to the Gluten Free Gang.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.