The Easy, Delicious, Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Menu

The Easy, Delicious, Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Menu

Preparing a complete, mouthwatering, allergy-friendly feast is easier than you think!

By: Lorraine Allen

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year: I love the colors and freshness of fall. I love enjoying a meal with family. I love stopping everything, as a nation, and focusing on all we have, instead of what we need or want. It fills me with gratitude. When we became a family with multiple severe food allergies, I had to rethink how to create a Thanksgiving meal that's truly special, traditional, delicious, AND free of eggs, milk, wheat, soy, nuts, and seafood ... In doing so, I realized -- and this really is something to be thankful for -- most Thanksgiving dishes are allergy-friendly with very little variation in ingredients and virtually zero sacrifice in taste.

So gobble gobble, one and all! Here’s a whole menu of easy, delicious, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly dishes for your holiday table, so you can make sure everyone can enjoy it all, and have something truly amazing to be very thankful for. (Every case is different, of course, so be sure to ask your doctor about the safety of specific foods. These ideas are free from the “Top 8” most common food allergies that make up more than 90 percent of allergies, and free of gluten as well.)

1. Cranberry sauce: This tart, delicious essential is made simply with fruit and some aromatics, so no allergens here! We love to add a dash of cinnamon and a twist of orange rind for extra awesome flavor.

2. Rice stuffing: To make this extra special, use wild rice and cook with broth instead of water. We add roasted mixed mushrooms and fresh thyme and sage too. You’ll never miss the plain old bread version, trust me.

3. Gravy: To make this allergy-friendly, just remember to avoid the dairy and wheat. Instead of butter, use the pan drippings from your turkey; they have far more flavor anyway. And, instead of adding wheat flour or cream to thicken, use rice flour or cornstarch, which work perfectly and are gluten free too.

4. Roasted root veggies: For healthy, delicious, beautiful Thanksgiving sides, roast some fall root vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve with fresh herbs as garnish. We love carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets of all colors, and mushrooms.

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5. Mashed potatoes, pumpkin, or squash: Consider bright orange sweet potatoes for added color and flavor. Serve butternut squash or pumpkin puree as a lighter side, made by steaming the flesh, cubing, and then mashing it up with a little margarine (made from vegetable oils instead of dairy) and a splash of broth.

6. Soup: Nothing is easier than soup to make allergy-friendly in a flash. Serve a pureed celery root, squash, carrot, or pumpkin soup with a garnish of matchstick apples for a starter loaded with amazing fall flavor and beautiful festive presentation.


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7. Salads: These offer a nice raw, fresh element to any heavy meal. To make it special, try watercress, arugula, or dinosaur kale as greens. We add dried cranberries and pear slices, too, and make a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice to tie it all together.

8. Dessert! Piecrusts are usually made without eggs or nuts and with vegetable shortening instead of butter, so they are allergy-friendly as a dessert. To make them wheat and gluten free as well, you can buy frozen pre-made gluten-free pie crusts or make your own by following a recipe. It’s not hard! You can also make delicious cobblers or crumbles, using your fruit of choice and mixing gluten-free oats with sugar and margarine for the topping. To top it all off and end your perfect meal on a sweet, satisfying note, serve fresh fruit sorbet or coconut ice cream instead of dairy ice cream or whipped cream.

Do you have any delicious allergy-friendly holiday meal ideas to share?

Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

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