Here are eight of our favorite family recipes. They are our must-have basic gluten-free holiday dinner menu. All easy to prepare, comforting and delicious. Most can be enjoyed at any dinner table or gathering, gluten-free or not!
Like us, you may be hosting a smaller gathering than usual this year. That’s why this menu is centered around a chicken rather than a turkey. The seasonings for this chicken can transfer to cooking a larger bird, of course, and next year when I host a larger group – or – gasp – participate in a potluck!! — I will certainly scale everything up!
But we have just three adults and one toddler to enjoy the meal as we carefully social distance. Even the smallest turkey at 8 pounds can be a bit much to eat up. The smaller (3 1/2 pound) chickens we typically buy (we prefer Mary’s Organic) really suit the way we eat.
A low-sugar and gluten-free holiday menu
My holiday menu is also low in added sugar. The cranberry sauce is about as low in sugar as I can make it while still being able to eat a fruit as tart as a cranberry. That’s partly why I add a plum and some orange juice to it!
Then, no marshmallows or sweeteners on the sweet potatoes! We prefer them savory and rich with spices. And you’d be amazed at how good they are with the pumpkin-pie-spice variation I describe in the blog post.
There’s a fairly small amount of coconut sugar in the cranberry bread and in the pumpkin pie – they are desserts, after all.
The main dish: Lemon-Mustard Glazed Chicken
To continue with the low-sugar theme, rather than choose a sweet glaze for the main dish chicken, this is a savory lemon-mustard marinade that gives such savory goodness to the vegetables underneath it you will never miss any sweetness. And the mustard flavor is very subtle if you taste it at all.
The pan drippings are just right to make gravy for the side dishes, too.
The chicken is the perfect quantity for the four of us for a first meal of mostly white meat. We usually make the rest into a soup leftover meal like Chicken Enchilada Soup.
Favorite Hearty Gluten-Free Side Dishes
The family favorites are mashed potatoes, bread stuffing (not placed into the bird), brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.
All are naturally gluten-free except for the bread stuffing, where the gluten content is wholly controlled by the choice of bread. Gluten-free bread –> gluten-free stuffing.
Favorite Desserts for the Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner Menu
Desserts are the recipe category most likely to need gluten-free modifying. Although I make gluten-free recipes a priority, I also look for Paleo options when possible, as they tend to be even lower in glycemic index.
This year the cranberry pumpkin bread was a special request from my son, and I have made several batches. My grandson asks for it when I see him, which motivates me to make more! It’s not Paleo, but I may get there.
With this recipe, since I’m making it often, I’m experimenting with the various gluten-free flour blends available to try to get the texture I enjoyed with whole wheat flour. Not there yet, and now I understand why gluten-free cooks create their own flour blends.
We enjoy pumpkin pie, too, so that had to be here as recipe #8. I like to add the haupia layer to remind my son of growing up in Hawaii – besides that it’s so good and so easy once you have made the pie.
The pie crust is Paleo, since it is made from almond flour with no other starches. The haupia is thickened with tapioca and any sweetener is coconut sugar.
Over the years we’ve included quite a few other favorites depending on the holiday: Roasted Butternut Squash Curry Chicken Soup, Bacon-wrapped garlic-herb pork tenderloin, and Pumpkin Pie Spice Bars, Gluten-free / Vegan. It all depends on your mood and what’s in the pantry.
And don’t forget a refreshing mocktail! Sparkling Meyer Lemon Mocktail
I hope you have found some tasty options here! Please pin, tweet and/or follow on social!
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If you make any of these recipes, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate the recipe, and don’t forget to tag a photo #amealinmind on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thank you so much!!
Please pin for later, too!