A Thanksgiving Feast Mash-Up

Put a Tasty Twist on Traditional Holiday Sides

The holidays can be the most challenging time of year when you live with food allergies and sensitivities. Thanksgiving in particular can be difficult simply because most of the classic dishes that are associated with the holiday are off limits. But all you need to cure the Thanksgiving blues is a little creativity and a crisper full of whole foods. Take these simple ideas and add your own twist for a memorable, allergen-free feast.

The Classic: Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy
Swap In: Mashed Cauliflower and Mushroom Gravy

How To: Steam cauliflower until very tender, then transfer to a large bowl. Add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of your preferred unsweetened nondairy milk, salt, pepper, and a handful of chopped herbs, like parsley and chives, then mash.
For the mushroom gravy, heat olive oil in a skillet, then saute chopped onion until tender. Add sliced mushrooms, rosemary, and sage and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid. Then add a couple tablespoons tapioca flour, stirring to coat the mushrooms. Pour in vegetable stock and, if you like, a little red wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until the gravy is thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Make It Your Own: Top mashed cauliflower with caramelized onions or chopped herbs or scallions. Add sauteed garlic to the cauliflower mash. Throw some cubes sweet potato or winter squash into the steamer with the cauliflower and mash them together for a bright orange Thanksgiving side.

The Classic: Bread Stuffing
Swap In: Hilary’s Holiday Stuffing

How To: This one’s easy peasy–just follow the instructions on the box!
Make It Your Own: After the stuffing is cooked, you can toss it with roasted root vegetables or sauteed mushrooms for even more veggie goodness. Or throw in fresh herbs for some green.

The Classic: Roast Turkey
Swap In: Stuffed Winter Squash

How To: Acorn squash can be stuffed and baked until tender, handily solving the problem of what to serve as a main dish. Stuff with Hilary’s Holiday Stuffing or a stuffing of your own creation, slightly moisten with vegetable stock, and bake. If the squash are small, everyone can have their own or use a large squash and serve it whole at the table for an impressive centerpiece.

Make It Your Own: Use quinoa, lentils, or millet as a base for stuffing your squash, and go from there. Shred some kale or other greens and throw them in, add mushrooms or roasted beets, herbs, onion, celery, or any other tasty vegetable you can think of. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.

The Classic: Sweet Potato Casserole
Swap In: Glazed Sweet Potatoes

How To: No more sickly sweet casseroles with marshmallow topping! Just peel and cut sweet potatoes into ½-inch slices, place in a lightly oiled baking dish and top with little spoonfuls of virgin coconut oil and coconut sugar, agave, or honey. Give it a sprinkle of salt and bake until tender.

Make It Your Own: Throw in a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries for a tart pop of flavor and color, or add the juice and zest of an orange.

The Classic: Green Bean Casserole
Swap In: Roasted Green Beans

How To: Toss fresh green beans (the small, thin ones, called haricots verts, are best) with some oil and salt, and roast at high heat until just tender.

Make It Your Own: Roast mushrooms along with the green beans, or add thinly sliced red onion. Dress the cooked green beans in a quick and easy dressing made with Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

The Classic: Cranberry Sauce
Swap In: Naturally Sweetened Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

How To: Cranberry sauce is usually a big sugar bomb, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Start with fresh or frozen cranberries, add a sweetener of your choice to taste, and simmer until reduced and thickened.

Make It Your Own: Cranberries go hand in hand with orange, so add orange juice and zest. Grate some fresh ginger root into the sauce for a slightly spicy twist, or add spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for all the warming flavors of fall.

The Classic: Pumpkin Pie
Swap In: No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Cups

How To: You can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. For a simple, wholesome variation on the classic, make a crust of dates and gluten free oats–simply pulse in a food processor until finely ground, then press into ramekins or mason jars. In a saucepan, whisk together 1 cup pumpkin puree, about 1 cup nondairy milk of your choice, pumpkin pie spice, coconut sugar or agave to taste, a pinch of salt, and a couple tablespoons of tapioca starch. Cook, whisking, until bubbling and thickened. Divide between the ramekins or jars and chill.

Make It Your Own: Add spices to the crust mixture or add minced candied ginger or a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Turning your favorite Thanksgiving sides into an allergen-free feast is easy as pie. Bon appetit!