On Thanksgiving, we gather and we eat for upwards of four hours, all the way from pre-dinner snacks to post-dessert dessert. But a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is literally one of the most allergen-laden meals possible.Whether this is your first allergen-free Thanksgiving or your twentieth, the following tips will help make it festive, mouthwateringly delicious, and safe.
Did you know that many fresh and frozen turkeys contain hidden allergens? Most conventional, “self-basted” turkeys have been injected with butter, water and salt, and may also contain gluten. If you’re going to go the conventional turkey route, always verify ingredients with the manufacturer before purchasing. A safer option is a “Natural” turkey, which hasn’t been treated with any artificial colors or flavor enhancing ingredients. Look for “Organic” natural turkeys at websites like Local Harvest, or stores like Whole Foods.
Another good option: natural “Kosher” turkey. Guaranteed to have no dairy injected, the benefit of a Kosher turkey is that it has already been salted, and thus doesn’t need brining. I recommend Empire, the taste test winner selected by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Empire turkeys are also gluten-free. If you’re a die-hard foodie, take the adventurous (albeit, most expensive) route and look for a “Heritage” turkey, which is one of the pre-World War II breeds of turkey, like Narragansett and Bourbon Red. Slow Food has a great listing of independent farmers raising Heritage turkeys, state by state. Looking for something similar to what our forefathers might have eaten? Save yourself the hunt, check out D’Artagnan, to purchase a wild bird.
Last, to keep your turkey allergen-free, baste with olive oil. There is no need for butter, and in fact I prefer turkey with olive oil.
Savory Side Dishes:
Make baked sweet potato and potato dishes using canola oil instead of butter, and orange juice or rice milk instead of milk or cream. I prefer yams/sweet potatoes without marshmallows, but if like them, look for Allerenergy marshmallows, or try vegan brands like VeganSweets, made without eggs or gelatin, but be forewarned that they contain the allergen SOY. Instead of plain rice, mix and match with old world gluten-free grains like quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, and buckwheat. All of these combine well with legumes like lentils or chickpeas, and are wonderful when enhanced with fresh herbs like thyme and sage. Dip into the plentiful array of winter squash available this time of year–not just butternut and acorn, but delicata, red kuri, and sweet dumplings. For an allergy-friendly stuffing, check out my Cornbread Wild Mushroom Stuffing Recipe.
Gravy can be made with olive oil instead of butter, and alternate flours, such as brown rice flour for thickening, instead of traditional wheat flour. See my recipe for Allergy-Friendly Gravy below.
Try making roast brussel sprouts this year instead of drenching them in butter or hollandaise sauce. To roast, cook at 450 degrees on a baking tray, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, for 25 minutes, shaking once or twice until a crispy golden brown on the outside, and tender on the inside.
For cranberry sauce, omit walnuts (tree nuts), and use thinly sliced tangerines or mandarin oranges, keeping the rind on, to add texture and color.
For Pie, check out my cookbook, The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook for any number of wonderful allergen-free pie, crumble, and crisp recipes, from Pumpkin Pie, to Apple Cranberry Pie. Or see my Allergy-Friendly Sweet Potato Pie recipe, or Cranberry Apple Crisp.
Remember: if you’re only doing a few allergen-free dishes rather than a whole allergy-friendly meal, be aware of cross contamination and cross contact while cooking and serving. Consider labeling dishes with ingredient cards. If the meal is going to be served buffet-style, serve the food allergic person first to avoid cross contamination.
Makes 1 1/4 cups
Gravy is one of those things that everybody loves. Even the thought of gravy can make you smile. In fact, the term gravy, in slang, means happiness, stable goodness, and a state of complacency.Gravy also means cool, okay, and all good, as in “It’s all gravy, baby”. If something is better than gravy, it’s gravy on eggos or gravy on rice. Who doesn’t want some of that coolness poured onto their plate?
But beloved gravy is also highly allergenic. Yup, it’s loaded with no-nos for those with food allergies. Butter (dairy), wheat (gluten), and cream/milk (dairy again). It’s also often chock-full of soy derivatives.So I took on the challenge to convert beloved gravy into something allergy-friendly. Just pour this yummy goodness over rice, potatoes, turkey breast, or do like me, and eat it with a spoon!
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fine brown rice flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup warm beef (or chicken or turkey) broth or stock (Kitchen Basics is allergy-friendly)
1/2 cup warm rice milk
1. Heat canola oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add brown rice flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 2 minutes, until golden and aromatic.
3. Add onion powder, pinch of thyme, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, and a couple turns of freshly ground pepper. Cook about 1 minute more, stirring.
4. Reduce heat to medium. Using a whisk, whisk in the warm beef broth, in three batches. Whisk vigorously, to smooth out any lumps. Add warm rice milk, whisking, and bring to a simmer. Cook stirring often, until thick and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free Creamy Gravy
© 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Allergy-Free Pumpkin Pie Popsicles
This recipe was inspired by one I saw on TAKEAMEGABITE.com, which was inspired by one on OMFGSOGOOD.com. I was smitten by the concept of a no-bake Thanksgiving treat, with all the rich flavors of pie, but a lighter hit on the tummy, post feast. I tried the recipe as written and found it much too sweet for my taste. I’ve cut the sugar in half, and made them allergy-free, vegan, and gluten-free by using my allergy-friendly Cybele’s Free-to-Eat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and swapping light coconut milk for the cream (also bumping up the proportions by an extra half a cup so you get a truly creamy piesicle). The only problem? These pops won’t make it anywhere near Thanksgiving. I already ate 2 today!
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup canned light coconut milk
pinch of salt
6 Cybele’s Free-to-Eat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, crumbled (1 scant cup), or 1 scant cup of allergy-free granola
1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pumpkin puree and warm through, stirring until completely combined. Remove from heat, and stir in the coconut milk and pinch of salt. Once completely combined, stir in the cookie bits.
2. Use a ladle to spoon into popsicle molds.
3. Freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.
Allergy-Free Pumpkin Pie Popsicles
© 2013 by Cybele Pascal
Still looking for a safe treat for your Halloween party? These Top 8 Allergen-Free Gluten-Free Cupcakes are easy to whip up, and so very festive. Top them with your favorite Halloween party favor (such as a plastic spider or bat ring), and you’ve got a perfect Halloween party treat.
Halloween Velvet BooCakes
Free of the top 8 Allergens, Gluten-Free, and Vegan, but full of flavor and fun.
1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ + 1/8th teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup rice milk
¾ teaspoon cider vinegar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free
¾ cup granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 tablespoons
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon natural red food coloring
1 recipe Velvet Frosting (recipe follows)
– Natural orange food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners.
2. Measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup and leveling it off with the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Whisk together the flour mix, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Combine the rice milk and cider vinegar. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, egg replacer and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the natural red food coloring and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Sift in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the rice milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
5. Divide batter equally among muffin liners, smoothing down the surface with a frosting spatula or butter knife.
6. Bake cupcakes in the center of preheated oven for 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.
7. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack about 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
8. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with Velvet Frosting. Top each with a Halloween party favor. Once frosting has set, store covered at room temperature. Extras can be frozen for eating later.
ENOUGH TO FROST 12 CUPCAKES
½ cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening (like Spectrum)
– Pinch of salt
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ tablespoons rice milk
1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and salt on medium speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar in three batches, beating after each addition.
3. Add the rice milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth, creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add a few drops of natural orange food coloring to the frosting until desired shade has been reached. Frost cupcakes and decorate with Halloween party favor.