7 Gluten-Free Swaps to Help You Survive the Holidays
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2016
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Is that casserole gluten-free? What about the pie? The answer is most likely “no” for both, especially if we’re talking about standard holiday fare. If you’re going gluten-free for health reasons, you might be surprised by how easy it is to remove gluten from a holiday menu. You simply need to know which ingredient swaps to make. Here are seven traditionally gluten-filled holiday dishes along with what you need to know to make them gluten-free (but still delicious).
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Most stuffing relies on bread as its base. The easy swap is to replace the regular bread with gluten-free bread. Or you could rethink your idea of traditional stuffing and try a version that uses rice as its base. Use cooked rice -- we recommend wild or brown rice -- and toss it with your favorite stuffing ingredients, such as chopped onions and celery. Use this to stuff the turkey, or bake the stuffing separately in a baking dish.
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Traditional gravy usually starts with roux as its base, but because this is a mixture of butter and flour, that won’t work for gluten-free diets. Besides swapping the wheat flour for gluten-free all-purpose flour, you could opt to replace the flour altogether with cornstarch. It’s a naturally gluten-free thickener. A good ratio is one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of cornstarch for every cup of stock with all the drippings.
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MAC AND CHEESE
If you have a recipe you already like, there are plenty of gluten-free noodles available that you can swap in that maintain their integrity when you cook them. Once you’ve cooked your pasta, mix in the milk, butter and a combo of cheeses, such as cheddar and Parmesan. Stir in salt, pepper and maybe even a bit of Dijon mustard, and you’ve got a gourmet mac and cheese that bursts with flavor.
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Pumpkin pie: It’s a holiday favorite we look forward to each year. But that crust is full of pesky gluten. Dreux Ellis, executive chef at Cafe Gratitude, one of L.A.’s premier vegan restaurants, shares with us his recipe for gluten-free pumpkin pie crust. For one large pie, combine in a food processor three cups of pecans, a handful of dates, a sprinkle of salt and half a teaspoon of vanilla. Pulse the mixture until smooth, and then roll it out and place it into a pie tin when you’re ready to make your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
A classic green bean casserole uses flour to coat the fried onion topping and to thicken the sauce. In both uses, you can easily replace the flour with cornstarch. If you’re accustomed to using canned cream of mushroom soup in your sauce mixture, replace it with your own homemade white mushroom sauce. Begin by sauteing half a cup of chopped onions, one chopped garlic clove and a cup of mushrooms in olive oil until the mushrooms are tender. Add two cups of milk and two tablespoons of cornstarch and bring to a boil. Bake with your green beans, topping with your fried onions.
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Similar to fruitcake, Christmas pudding is made with dried fruit and spices. You can swap the traditional cake for a gluten-free version by using rice flour, corn flour and almonds. You’ll also notice an ingredient called suet (raw beef or lamb fat) in many traditional recipes. Suet holds all the ingredients together and has a high melting point, which creates a light texture. If you’re not into the suet or can’t find it, you can use vegetable shortening instead.
For a decadent treat, skip the cake and make chocolate brownies instead. We’re adding miso paste to ours; its saltiness complements the dark chocolate (think of salted caramel) while also lending some thickness and creaminess. Melt seven ounces of dark chocolate, 14 tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of miso paste over a double boiler, stirring frequently. In a separate bowl, whisk one cup of sugar, five tablespoons of all-purpose gluten-free flour and four teaspoons to unsweetened cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the cooled chocolate mixture, and whisk in one teaspoon of vanilla and four large eggs. Bake in a greased baking pan for 35 minutes.
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