Monday, November 19, 2012

Allergy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes 2012

by Kelley Lindberg

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Don’t worry. Neither are any of the rest of us. But if you’re still looking for ways to make this traditional feast allergy-friendly for your family, here are some recipes I’ve found that might help reduce your stress. In many cases, making recipes safe can be as simple as substituting safe margarine for the butter, soy milk or rice milk for the cream/milk, and your family’s favorite safe bread for whatever bread the recipe calls for. But I hunted for recipes that come closest to being allergy-safe without modification, because we all need as much help as we can get this time of year!

And while we’re talking about Thanksgiving, let me just say that I’m extremely thankful that I live in a time when finding recipes, tips, support, education, and kindred spirits is just a mouse-click or two away. I can’t imagine having gone through my son’s food allergies in an earlier time without the magic of the Internet at my fingertips. Thank you to all who make the internet food-allergy community a loving place to belong.

Turkey: First things first. Because many turkeys are “basted” or “self-basting,” they may contain allergens (most commonly dairy, soy, and wheat) in the solutions that are injected in them to make them tender. Natural turkeys should contain nothing but the bird and perhaps some water. Read “BeforeYou Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey” from for more information and some guidelines for purchasing a safe turkey.

Stuffing: I admit it, stuffing is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m particularly partial to cornbread stuffing. But some people prefer traditional bread stuffing, while others prefer wild rice or other options. So here are some variations to try (be sure you substitute safe ingredients, such as your family’s favorite safe bread, for whatever the recipe calls for): Bryanna’s Traditional-Style Vegan Bread Stuffing, Vegan Quinoa Stuffing, Cornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing, and Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing (you can leave out the walnuts).

Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are usually loaded with butter and cream or milk. To make them allergy-safe, replace the butter with a safe margarine (like Earth Balance, Spectrum, SmartBalance Light, or Nucoa), and replace the milk with rice milk or soy milk. Or, ditch the whole butter-and-cream idea completely and use chicken broth instead to flavor them. Here is the super-simple recipe from Campbell’s Kitchen for Skinny Mashed Potatoes.

Gravy: My husband is the official gravy-maker in our family. He’s got that whole browning-the-flour thing down pat, and it’s something he can do while the rest of us get the other dishes prepped for the table. But it’s really not that hard to do. (But if I tell him I’ve learned how to make gravy, he might stop, so I’ll never admit to knowing how to do it.) Here is a recipe for a simple Allergy Free Turkey Gravy from that explains the steps well. You can use either regular wheat or wheat-free all-purpose flour in this yummy Thanksgiving staple. YouTube has lots of videos showing how to make turkey gravy if you’re not sure of the process.

Cranberry Relish: Sure, you can dump it out of a can, and for some of us, that can-shaped mold of cranberry sauce holds a warm spot in our hearts. But if you’d like to make something a little bit more special for your dinner, try this easy and delicious recipe for Cranberry-Apple Relish, from Cooking Light magazine on One pan, 15 minutes, and you’re done (and you can make it a day or two ahead).

Sweet Potatoes: You can’t beat those traditional mashed sweet potatoes topped with golden-toasted marshmallows (try this recipe for Marshmallow Yam Casserole, but substitute safe margarine for the butter, and rice milk or soy milk for the cream), but this recipe for Healthy Butternut Apple Bake looks awfully tempting, too. And how about layering pineapple and sweet potatoes with a little maple syrup, in this Yankee Sweet Potato Casserole, or adding crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges to mashed sweet potatoes in Easy Allergy Friendly Sweet Potato Casserole/Souffle?

Green Bean Casserole: If you miss the traditional green bean casserole, you might try this recipe for The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole. You might have to do a few substitutions, though. It calls for soy creamer or full-fat unsweetened soymilk, but if you can’t find that, you might try Tofutti’s soy sour cream. Rice milk might work, too, but it doesn’t thicken at all, so you might try adding a little cornstarch if you’re an adventurous cook. I haven’t tried this recipe, so I don’t know how well it will work. Also, it calls for French’s French Fried Onions as a topping, but those carry a milk contamination warning, so you may want to try something different as a topping, such as safe bread crumbs, safe Panko bread crumbs, crushed Chex cereal, crushed potato chips, or dried Chow Mein noodles.

Pumpkin Pie: Looking for a pumpkin pie that doesn’t contain eggs or milk? Try this recipe from the Kids with Food Allergies website for “Mom’s Pumpkin Pie.” This recipe is in the “free recipe” section of the website, so you don’t have to be a member to access it!

1 comment:

Leslie Lim said...

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