Gluten-free Doesn't Mean Giving Up Grandma's Favorite Dish

Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Grandma’s Favorite Dish

Being gluten-free doesn’t mean giving up all of your family’s favorite dishes or living in deprivation over the holidays.


This may be exactly what’s on your mind right now as the holidays are quickly approaching.  “How will you ever eat _______ again?”


Gluten-Free Thanksgiving table

I’ll never forget the first Thanksgiving meal away from my immediate family (pre-gluten-free). Sitting down at the Thanksgiving table, there were no dishes that my family typically ate for the holiday meal.


Where were the creamed onions, the special spinach dish my mom always served, or the stuffing?


They didn’t even have pumpkin pie!


Well, ok they had stuffing, but it sure wasn’t the stuffing my dad made every year. And, who doesn’t serve pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?


It was at that moment that I realized how much of a significance food held during the holidays.


gluten-free pumpkin pie

Food is a huge part of family 

holiday traditions


Now having my own family, and having celebrated at many different holiday tables, I realize how we NEED certain dishes in front of us to make it “feel” like a real holiday.


Gluten-free gingerbread cookies, rolling out the dough

Food creates celebrations and memories


Being gluten-free can really change all of that!


Truthfully, at the beginning of my gluten-free journey, I believed I had to give up some of our favorite dishes.


But I couldn’t accept that and didn’t want that for my family.


There’s always a way to make it work.  Just like Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable!”


We did do without a few things those first few gluten-free holidays.  But, we sure do not now.


Friends, you do not have to give up on grandma’s favorite dish, your dad’s favorite stuffing, or your mom’s best cookies.


Figure it out!


gluten-free Thanksgiving table

Find a gluten-free substitution and make your own dish gluten-free


When we sit down to a Thanksgiving meal at our home, everything is gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free.




No one complains.


Everyone is happy and filled with delicious food.


We have figured it out! And, you can too!


We took all of my family’s favorite holiday dishes and recreated them to be gluten-free. Some took a few tries, some took a few years!


But we did it, and you can too!


Gluten-Free Holiday Recipe Guide


gluten-free Thanksgiving Turkey

Look at gluten-free substitutions for your

favorite family recipes



Let’s look at a few examples:

gluten-free cheese sauce

Cream sauces

Start by making your own gluten-free roux.  This is a mixture of butter or oil with flour that you cook to create a paste, then slowly add milk to create your cream sauce.

Use Earth Balance Butter or olive oil to start. Typically 3 Parts oil, 3 parts gluten-free flour work well.  After trying many different flours, gluten-free Sweet Rice Flour builds this paste and creates a creamy milky sauce. White rice flour makes it very sandy, while tapioca makes it too gummy.  Arrowroot can work well but adds an off-flavor.

You can use this roux to make cream of mushroom soup for the Green Bean Casserole or creamed onions.  I also use this method when making our delicious homemade gluten-free mac-n-cheese (gooey – above!).


gluten-free stuffing


Yes, you can make this gluten-free. Typically we bake our own gluten-free bread to use for the stuffing.  We have used Aleias gluten-free stuffing mix. There are many different gluten-free stuffing mixes available now, yet the reviews aren’t great on some of them. Check your stores and reviews . . . and ingredients.

I used gluten-free sausage found at my local grocery store to help recreate my dad’s signature sausage stuffing dish.


Gluten-free Thanksgiving meal with gravy


Everyone thinks this one will be hard. Overall, find which gluten-free flour substitute will work best to use as a thickener (see above about the roux sauce) and use gluten-free spices (Not all spices are gluten-free!). Also, you do not want to make gluten-free gravy from a bird that was stuffed with gluten-filled stuffing cooked inside.


gluten-free cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Typically one can find this gluten-free. Yet, if you prefer less sugar, make our own.  You can find my Healthier Cranberry Sauce recipe right here.


gluten-free apple pie


When it comes to cookies, we recreated our favorites holiday cookies, like the coconut macaroons and gingerbread cookies.

Pumpkin pie was a bit of a challenge finding the right milk and sugar ratio to make a delicious pie that still had a good texture. Overall, coconut milk worked best for the milk substitute and maple syrup worked well as a sweetener.

Our apple pie was recreated by making a delicious gluten-free pie crust and using all gluten-free spices and flours as substitutes.

If you are stuck, just get in your kitchen and try different substitutes to fit your family recipes.  You can figure it out!

No more days of deprivation or giving up just because you are gluten-free.


gluten-free holiday traditions

Keep your family traditions alive!


Eat!  Be Happy!  

Enjoy Your Holidays!


Grab our Gluten-Free 

Holiday Recipe Guide

to create fabulous holiday meals 

with your loved ones this holiday season

(Click below for your eBook copy)

Gluten-Free Holiday Recipe Guide


This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only, to educate you about gluten-free living and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure. Use this information at your own risk based on your own judgment. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific health or any medications. This information is not allowed to be reproduced, replicated, or sold.

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Jennifer gluten-free living

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Health Coach, Wellness Cooking Instructor, Blogger, Busy Celiac Mom and Educator of Gluten-Free Wellness,

teaching you that living gluten-free doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming!

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Jennifer Marcks

Jennifer Marcks

Jennifer and her three children all live a gluten-free lifestyle. She is a Gluten-Free Heath Coach, Cooking Instructor, and blogger. She helps moms live gluten-free so that their family can create a gluten-free life that just becomes routine. Join her over in the Gluten-Free Moms Facebook Group.


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