Monday, November 18, 2013

Allergy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes 2013

By Kelley Lindberg

The food-oriented holidays just keep coming, don’t they? Thanksgiving, more than any other, is ALL about the food. There’s simply no way around it. The crazy thing is, the food is also wrapped up in traditions. Some folks get downright militant about those food traditions. Even if they don’t particularly like sweet potato casserole, for example, they’ll serve that dish or die trying, because it’s tradition, darn it!

Yeah, I don’t really get it, either. But most of us do it anyway.

So if you’re aiming for traditional this year, but you’re dealing with food allergies, I’ve put together another round-up of traditional Thanksgiving recipes that can be made allergy-safe. To see last year’s Thanksgiving recipes, see “Allergy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes 2012.” This year, I tried to go for different recipes to give you more choices. So check out last year’s post, too, to double your options!
  • The turkey: Turkeys, especially the self-basing kinds, are injected with solutions that make them tender. However, those solutions can harbor allergens like milk, wheat, soy, or corn. So check labels before you buy. Read the very helpful article at called “Before You Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey” for some great advice.
  • Stuffing: The type of stuffing you like probably depends on where you’re from. Southerners might go for cornbread stuffing, while East Coasters might indulge in oyster stuffing, for example. So here are some variations. (Be sure you substitute safe ingredients, such as your family’s favorite safe bread, for whatever the recipe calls for):
    • Traditional-Style (bread, celery, onion, spices): Try these: Traditional-Style Vegan Stuffing, Traditional-Style Vegetarian Stuffing (YouTube video), or this nifty recipe for making your own Instant Stuffing Mix that you can store in the pantry and cook up any time.
    • Herbed Oyster Stuffing: Try this recipe, but use a safe cornbread recipe for the cornbread (see below), use safe margarine instead of the butter, and make sure to use a turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock that is safe for your allergies.
    • Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing: Again, be sure you check the labels on your bread and stock, and substitute safe margarine for the butter. 
    • Quinoa stuffing: Skip the bread completely and try this gluten-free quinoa stuffing with zucchini, butternut squash, dried apricots, and cranberries. Yum! 
    • Wild Rice Stuffing: Skip the pecans in this recipe and make sure your chicken broth is safe for your family. 
    • Cornbread Stuffing: This recipe from The Pioneer Woman is very similar to my grandmothers (except my grandmother’s recipe calls for biscuits instead of French bread). So use whichever white bread is safe for you, use safe chicken stock or broth, and safe butter. Lots of photos!
  • Cornbread: If you need a good cornbread recipe to use in your cornbread stuffing, try this one for Albers® Corn Bread, which I’ve been using for years. However, skip the sugar (unless you like sweet stuffing – but I prefer savory, and I’m originally from Texas, so you’ll never find me putting sugar in my cornbread!). Also, you have to make two substitutions: replace the egg with Ener-G egg replacer or other egg substitute, and replace the milk with soy milk or rice milk. I use rice milk, and it works great.
  • Mashed Potatoes: To make mashed potatoes allergy-safe, use any basic mashed potato recipe and replace the butter with a safe margarine and replace the milk or cream 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. Or for something a little fancier, try this dairy-free recipe for Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy: This is the same recipe I wrote about last year, but it’s a great, 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: How about a no-cook Cranberry-Raspberry Relish? Throw everything in a food processor, and voila! Or this Cranberry-Raspberry Relish is even easier, using only 2 ingredients (a can of whole berry cranberry sauce and raspberry Jell-O).
  • Sweet Potatoes: Tired of the traditional mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows? Try Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples (just use safe margarine or olive oil). And here’s a delicious version of Candied Yams that uses orange juice and brown sugar. Heaven! Just use safe margarine instead of the butter. 
  • Green Bean Casserole: Whoever does the marketing for those French-fried onion rings is a genius, because they’ve managed to convince us all that green bean casserole is a traditional food. I’m so over that. Personally, I’d much rather indulge in this traditional Greek recipe for Fasolakia, which is green beans, tomatoes, and onions all sautéed together with a little garlic and olive oil. Super easy, healthy, and delish! And personally, I replace the water with a can of safe chicken broth. This recipe calls for fresh green beans and tomatoes. Here’s a secret: this works equally well with 2 drained cans of green beans (look for Whole Green Beans instead of cut) and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Shhh…don’t tell. You can always sprinkle some safe breadcrumbs or crushed Chex cereal on top after it's done cooking if you want it to look more "casserole-ish."
  • Pumpkin Pie: This recipe is a repeat from last year, but really… allergy-free pumpkin pies are hard, and this recipe works: “Mom’s Pumpkin Pie” from the Kids with Food Allergies website.  This recipe is in the “free recipe” section of the website, so you don’t have to be a member to access it!


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