Thanksgiving Menu Review: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy Free

Thanksgiving at my house was full and lovely! I spent all day in the kitchen, but I enjoy doing so. I did have a little fear in my mind that I would not be rewarded with delicious food after all that effort.

Thank goodness, that did not happen. The food was delicious!

I thought it might be helpful to review each of the recipes we ended up making, and I also included my variations and tips/tricks. Many of these dishes are great any day of the year, so don’t think this menu is only for Thanksgiving. Make it for Christmas, New Year, Easter, or a birthday! You can find my inspiration board here.

I planned for the big meal to be at 5:30pm. This was for various reasons (1) it gave me more time to prepare, (2) it gave family more time to get into town, and (3) allowed for time to fix anything that went wrong in the cooking process. Appetizers were served at 4:00pm, and the family was barely hungry by 5:30. Looking back, I think I should have served the appetizers earlier or had dinner later (or both). Dessert was served to coincide with our boys bedtime snack routine: 7:30pm.

Thanksgiving Meal TimelineOverall, everything I made was delicious, but I did tweak the recipes a bit.

Appetizers

Bacon Wrapped Dates

  • Review | So Delicious! These were loved by young and old alike!
  • Tweaks | I left out the additional sugar on top. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I try to avoid unnecessary sugar. There were superb without it!  I did not have a cooling rack to bake these on so I used my cast iron grill pan (similar), and it worked great.

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Dip

  • Review | Very tasty! I paired this dip with apples and Korean pears. I went great with those an truly anything you would dip in it. I dipped the Maple Bacon Pecans in it too. Yum!
  • Tweaks | I did not make any changes to this recipes. One thing to note, it does start to separate in a warm house (i.e. one filled with people and an oven that’s been running for 12+ hours). Set it out right before you serve and put away immediately when finished.

Salted Maple Bacon Pecans

  • Review | Good! These were enjoyed by all, and my mother-in-law even asked for the recipe. Win!
  • Tweaks | I did not make any changes to this recipe, but I should have sprinkled more salt. My sea salt is a bit course so I went easy on the sprinkle. It could have used more.
Dinner

Turkey and Gravy

  • Review | Excellent, moist turkey! All adults raved about the most, tender meat. Light and dark meat alike were so juice and delicious. Our gravy was good, but not as good as previous years. Because…
  • Tweaks | I am dairy-free so we couldn’t use butter, and I think this was a huge factor in our gravy not being quite as good. It was still great gravy, but it is out-of-this-world as written in the recipe. We also didn’t use butter on the skin of the turkey. We used oil, and that worked just as well, in my opinion.

**Note: Dan took complete care of the turkey and gravy. It was awesome, and that’s all due to his insane grilling skills!**

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

  • Review | A-MAZE-ING. Seriously, this rivaled the Alton Brown green bean casserole I’ve made in the past. It was not lacking in any way from being dairy free. I may even prefer this version. The cashew cream sauce is excellent!
  • Tweaks | I did not use gluten-free bread crumbs on the onions because I guessed they would have grain (I didn’t actually look for any though!). I used almond flour for both the bread crumb and flour coating on the onions. The almond flour did not stick overly well so the baked onions weren’t as crispy and beautiful, but they still tasted good. I also used chicken stock to think the sauce rather than white wine.

Slow-cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Review | Very good! It was easy and reminded me of the sweet potato souffle my mom made growing up. I made the potatoes the day before as suggested. About an hour and a half before dinner, I turned the slow cooker on low, sprinkled the pecan on, and let it cook. It turned out so good!
  • Tweaks |  I did cut the maple syrup in half when I made the potatoes. I don’t use a lot of sugar in my cooking, so even at half, I thought these were overly sweet. I’ll cut down the sugar a bit more when I make it next time.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Review | This is one of my favorite dishes in the fall. I’ve made this recipe many times, and it does not disappoint. It was tart and delicious! I even used it in the cranberry bar recipe below.
  • Tweaks |  I cut the amount of honey in half in this recipe. It makes the sauce tarter but still A-ok! Again, as a Type 1 diabetic, I need to watch my carbohydrate intake, so I try to cut back where I can, especially for special meals like this with lots of rich dishes.

Coconut Flour Honey Biscuits

  • Review | The taste of this biscuit was good, but the presentation was lacking. I just looked more closely at the post, and I think she only made 7 biscuits from her recipe (The yield is not stated clearly in the recipe). I did not notice this when I made them so I stretched my batter way too far. The muffin cups were not filled enough so the biscuits barely rose. User error! The taste was good, so I will make again, but I will double (maybe triple??) the recipe to make 12 muffins. I may reduce the oven temp too, my biscuits were a bit brown on the sides for my liking.
  • Tweaks |  I used coconut oil and followed the rest of the recipe exactly.

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • Review | I LOVE stuffing, and this recipe made me LOVE paleo stuffing. It was SO GOOD! Everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it wasn’t made from cornbread.
  • Tweaks |  I made the recommended paleo corn bread, but I under-cooked it. So drying it out before making the stuffing took quite a bit more time. I added a heaping teaspoon of sage to the vegetable mixture. To me, sage and stuffing belong together. It was the right thing to do, I think. 🙂
Dessert

Paleo Cookie Crumb Cranberry Bars

  • Review | Tasty, tasty, tasty! I used the Alton Brown cranberry sauce recipe mentioned above, and I think this dessert was on point!
  • Tweaks |  I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar (shame, shame!). Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good my grocery list is, I miss things! Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.

Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

  • Review | De-Li-Cious. This was great as dessert, but possibly even better the next morning for breakfast with coffee. So. Good.
  • Tweaks |  Again, ahem, I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar. It still turned out great and delicious.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

  • Review | I love pumpkin pie, and this one did not disappoint! It was loved by the whole family!
  • Tweaks |  Guys! This is a gluten-free, grain-free pastry crust, and it worked! What?!? I followed the recipe exactly, but my pie ended up a bit underdone. The crust was a bit gummy and the pumpkin barely held together. This is user error, I’m sure. I just didn’t cook it long enough!

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • I ended up making up my own recipe because I didn’t want any more additional carbohydrates from sugar in this meal. I used 2 cans of coconut cream (leave the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight then scoop the cream off the top) and whipped it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of stevia, to taste.

Thanksgiving Menu Review


The meal was a hit. I was so relieved. Everyone was more than happy to go along with my dietary restrictions, but I wanted to cook a delicious meal. My hubby pulled me aside later and said everything was delicious. He didn’t feel like his Thanksgiving meal was lacking at all. Yay! That made my heart happy! I love to cook, but really, I love to cook for the people I love to enjoy it. Mission accomplished!

How did your Turkey Day meal turn out? Any disasters? Anything even more delicious that you thought it would be? Try anything new?

 

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