Turkey Day Menu 2017: GF and allergy friendly

Courtesy of my sister, who is willing to adapt menus for other allergy issues. Comment here if your needs are different. 

First off, we have multiple allergies and food issues. In short:

Me; Militantly gluten free and no strawberries or sulfites due to allergies. Also allergic to crustaceans (lobster, crab, possibly shrimp?), peanuts, hazelnuts, lima beans, oats, banana, and weird issues around standard commercial dairy and eggs, but I do fine with certain local products on eggs and dairy. I also randomly have issues with tomatoes, garlic, onions, some veggies,  peppers, but there are meds I can take that help reduce inflammation to tolerate those. Some forms of garlic are better than others. I avoid most soy, refined sugar and mold-type cheeses due to inflammation issues.

My eldest: Allergic to soy, egg, dairy, peanuts and wheat.

My middle: No citric acid or citrates, reacts to wheat in weird ways, same for natamycin

Hubby has texture/taste issues (goes beyond dislike, not an allergy) with visible egg, set gelatin, and most cheese (except pizza.)

Youngest is Intensely picky.

A turkey dinner is actually one of the easiest meals to adapt.

So, within those parameters, here is our menu, according to Sis, with bullet commentary by me.

Turkey: 20 lb Shelton free-range, brined with herbs and spices, salt water, and apple juice or cider with no added citric acid

  • I don’t usually brine turkeys, but I trust Sis. Dad uses wine on the turkey, I cook at high heat and don’t touch it or baste it or brine it, but I might slip some kind of fat under the skin.

Stuffing: Costco gluten free bread cubes, better than bouillon based broth, herbs and spices, soy/dairy/egg/gluten free sausage, chopped apples & walnuts

  • I haven’t looked at Costcco’s gluten free bread cubes, but it’s really hard to get bread that everyone can have. Happy Campers is probably the best bet. Elegant Elephant has a sourdough loaf that can also be converted to cubes easily. Middle kiddo and I can both do Franz gluten free. Eldest and I can both do BFree. Bread is very regional, don’t be afraid to investigate. Other good substitutions include riced cauliflower, quinoa, and brown rice. Just substitute those for the bread in your favorite stuffing recipe, and be prepared to either cook the grains in broth and/or adjust the liquid content down.
  • Sausage: standard breakfast sausage is our usual–use whatever standard breakfast sausages you can tolerate. We use sausage-shaped ones, but loose sausage can also be used. Nuts are optional, sub sunflower seeds if you want the texture but can’t do tree nuts, or omit.
  • Apples work for us, cranberries and raisins are other options we’ve used in the past.
  • Better that Bouillon is something we also call “Chicken squishy” (or “beef squishy”) and is well tolerated by all of us. We use the organic low sodium version from Costco. Vegan options exist. Turkey is probably the ideal for this meal.


Potatoes: potatoes, olive oil, salt

  • I mean, you can do almost anything with potatoes, ranging from just swipe a little oil on the skins and bake, to peel (or not) and boil and mash. Contrary to popular belief, mashed potatoes are fine without milk and butter, especially if they’re going to be buttered later and doused with gravy. Sub chicken broth or veg broth for flavor and texture if you want creamier potatoes, and Earth Balance for butter if you really want them “buttery”.
  • Pro flavor tip: While I love a peppery olive oil, if you get the “Extra light Napoleon” it tastes very buttery, a la melted butter.

Sweet potatoes*: plain, roasted whole

  • *actually Garnet or Jewel Yams (which are sweet potatoes, but very orange.)
  • The neat thing is that sweet potatoes take zero work. Stick them in the oven at whatever temp and roast until squishy.
  • Once roasted, the skins slip off and they can be sliced or mashed and amended as people like after. One of my favorites involves mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk, coconut sugar, and spices like ginger and cinnamon. For dairy-and-citrate having people, slice the cooked sweet potatoes and layer with butter, maple syrup, orange and/or lemon zest, orange and/or lemon juice, ginger, nutmeg and paprika.
  • If you must have them with marshmallows, see my marshmallow recipe. Make the marshmallows with vanilla, not peppermint.
  • One year we made purple yams, garnet yams, and Japanese sweet potatoes, and mashed them separately and let people pipe them onto their own plates.
  • This was more work than it was worth given how picky my children are, but a lot of fun for those who both like sweet potatoes and like playing with their food.

Gravy: tapioca or rice flour, better than bouillon based broth, herbs and spices, assorted drippings and giblets

  • Most of the liquid should come from the turkey, plus the cooking water from any boiled potatoes if you have it, which can be boosted with Better than Bouillon if needed.
  • Holler if you want to know how we do gravy.

Cranberry sauce: cranberries, sugar and/or honey

  • I’m lobbying for maple syrup.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce is the absolute easiest thing. Put cranberries and sweetener in a small pan on the stove. Simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust flavor with more sweet, spices as desired. It really is that easy. It goes from whole berries to sauce sort of all-of-a-sudden. Cook for a minute or two longer to thicken.
  • Not middle-child safe as cranberries are inherently high in citric acid.
  • You can make a similar sauce with frozen blueberries.
  • Applesauce can fill a similar ecological niche on the dinner plate for those who can’t have citric acid.

Green beans: fresh green beans, garlic, mushrooms (I’m hoping for chanterelles), olive oil, salt

  • Probably using some sort of frozen garlic as I react less badly to frozen garlic than to fresh or dried.
  • If you can find a safe cream of mushroom soup, use that if you want a more casserole-y thing
  • Pacific Foods has a yes-dairy-no-gluten condensed cream of mushroom soup.
  • Adding coconut milk (full fat) to the above would give a similar effect.
  • This will taste outstanding even if it’s not creamy.
  • If dairy isn’t a problem, use butter
  • Add a little wine if you can tolerate it
  • And the best mushrooms you can get.

Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts, uncured bacon

  • *side-eyes hard*
  • I hate Brussels sprouts.
  • But they’re hypoallergenic
  • I guess

Raw sauerkraut

  • Plain, lactofermented sauerkraut is delightful and will help with digestion. It also adds a bright acid note to a heavy meal
  • We buy it. Sonoma Brinery is fantastic, but Trader Joe’s also has a very good version.
  • Oregon Brineworks Ginger Roots would be fantastic and pretty alongside a turkey dinner.

Vanilla ice cream

Sparkling cider

  • We watch for added citric acid but lots of brands are fine


  • “Well Red” from Trader Joe’s is no-sulfites-detected and passably drinkable
  • “Our Daily Red” is a cooking wine that is no sulfites detected but kind of awful tasting
  • If you can find Orleans Hill Zinfandel, it may be the best NSD wine I’ve ever had.

Gluten free pies:

  • We buy gluten free crusts that everyone can eat. IDK the brand
  • Where you can’t buy safe crusts, chop sunflower seeds or whatever nuts can be tolerated very fine (not paste) and toast them with a safe butter substitute and press them into the pan a-la crumb crust.
  • If they’re not staying up, just line the bottom like a cheesecake
  • Or do a straight up custard
  • It is possible to substitute gluten free flour for wheat flour 1;1 and palm oil, coconut oil or Earth Balance (we do the soy-free) for the fat, and then follow almost any pie crust recipe. Or google “gluten free pie crust” if you want.  We just buy crusts, it’s easier and the texture is more consistently what we want.

Pumpkin (eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, spices)

  • Note that this is a dairy-free recipe.
  • It’s basically just exactly the recipe on the Libby’s label but substituting eggs for the dairy
  • It’s a lot of eggs
  • It tastes better that way
  • and sets up VERY well.
  • Not safe for my eldest

Egg-free pumpkin (tapioca starch, pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, spices)

  • Note that this is corn-free, vegan, soy, egg, dairy and gluten free.
  • I would use coconut sugar

Apple (apples, brown sugar, spices, rum)

  • When I make apple pie, I mix the rum (or whiskey, but that’s not necessarily gluten free) with butter, sugar and a little starch to make a “hard sauce” that gets mixed in with the apples
  • People have gotten tipsy off of my apple pies
  • We have used booze to stop the apples from browning (it may not work but people think the browning is booze)
  • (they’re probably right.)
  • If citric acid is an issue, don’t use lemon in your pie
  • If it’s not, definitely use lemon in your pie.

Cherry (cherries, tapioca starch, sugar, almond extract)

  • Use almond flour for the crust if you want to really punch up the cherry almond goodness.


Posted in Food, Life, Recipes.


    • You are cooking them, so you get to pick.

      If you tasted what I taste, you would not like Brussels sprouts either. They occupy a small group that includes coleslaw, menudo and tempeh of “foods Jen will never comprehend.” Food allergies aside, I’m generally an adventurous eater who will try many new foods and enjoy them, but I have tried and I have failed with Brussels sprouts for the last time.

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