15 yummy, gluten-free Thanksgiving appetizers and side dishes, plus tips for how to safely cook for someone who needs to eat gluten-free!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Thanksgiving is next week – whee! Bring on the parade, party games, and endless mimosas. Plus dinner, of course! Truly, my annual Thanksgiving recipe roundup is one of my very favorites to write. The thought of your family enjoying the new and old recipes my family has been eating for decades is such a thrill and honor.
This year I’m focusing on gluten-free Thanksgiving appetizer and side dish recipes because truth be told…I’m not in love with turkey. I mean, it’s nice and all, but I’d rather dig into a vat of Party Potatoes Deluxe, casserole dish of Wild Rice Stuffing, and platter of Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Chili Poppers instead of slice of plain ol’ turkey. Can I get an Amen?
That said, I’ve rounded up 15 of my faves that will no doubt be gracing my family’s dinner table next week. Which ones will make it to yours?!
Before we get to the recipes, I’ve had a ton of requests for tips on how to cook for someone who eats gluten-free. I think the idea brings a lot of anxiety on both parties. The person cooking wants to make sure the GF person feels comfortable and safe eating what they’ve prepared, while the GF person has a whole mess of emotions going on as well. It can be an awkward, slippery for sure, but follow these tips for a fun and tasty time – sans damaging immune response! Let me know if you have any specific questions I didn’t address and I’ll update this list pronto.
How to Safely Cook for Someone Who Eats Gluten-Free:
- Purchase an inexpensive plastic cutting board from the grocery store for preparing GF dishes. Scratches in cutting boards – especially wooden ones – hold onto gluten.
- Purchase an inexpensive strainer if needed for draining potatoes for mashed potatoes – think of all the regular pasta you’ve drained in there!
- Cook/simmer/saute in stainless steel pans if possible – gluten can hang out in the scratches in nonstick cookware.
- Use stainless steel measuring cups and spoons, and cooking spoons (no wood) when possible.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat for roasting vegetables or baking gluten-free cookies.
- Use disposable aluminum pans versus scratched glass or nonstick bakeware if possible.
- Check to see that spices and spice blends are gluten-free. I use Tone’s, which are gluten-free and very inexpensive.
- Scoop a portion of gluten-free dips into a separate container for the GF diner, as the entire dish can become contaminated if dunked into with non gluten-free crackers, crostini, etc.
- Read all labels carefully and avoid products with a “made in a facility that also processes wheat” disclaimer.
- Ask the gluten-free diner for help! Trust me, we already feel like enough of a burden and would provide any and all of the above – bring cookware, strainers, measuring cups, any number of prepared dishes – and please if you have a question, just ask!
Now, onto the recipes!
Best-Ever Wild Rice Stuffing
I’m listing these recipe in random order…except for Best-Ever Wild Rice Stuffing. Yep, I might have a favorite! There’s nothing difficult about this stuffing, but the combination of hearty fall flavors makes it wildly delicious. I make this gluten-free side dish year-round, but it’s a must for Thanksgiving.
Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
I posted Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad two years ago and have heard for two years straight about what an awesome Thanksgiving side it makes. Again with the fall flavors including dried cranberries, fried shallots, and pears, but this salad is an especially good option for the holiday because it stays crunchy for hours (make that days!) after being dressed.
Caesar Spinach and Artichoke Dip
All the “kids” are in charge of bringing appetizers to eat before and after the big meal this year and I immediately decided to bring a batch of Caesar Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Cheesy, hearty, and spiked with Caesar dressing – this dip is INSANE.
No-Bake Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
Who says all the apps have to be savory? My No-Bake Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip will steal the show on Thanksgiving day. Easy to prepare and crowd pleasing, you’ll definitely get asked for the recipe.
Gluten-Free Party Potatoes Deluxe (aka Funeral Potatoes)
The reason I can’t decide if Best-Ever Wild Rice Stuffing is my #1 favorite Thanksgiving side dish is because Gluten-Free Party Potatoes Deluxe (aka Funeral Potatoes) exist. Cheesy, creamy, crispy – downright deee-lish. Made without canned condensed soup, too!
If your family serves macaroni and cheese with Thanksgiving dinner, try Cauliflower Gratin, ie cauliflower and cheese sauce, which gives you the same flavor with less carbs. Aside from that, it’s oh-so dreamy and easy.
Skinny Sweet Potato Gratin
If you’re craving the comfort of Potatoes Au Gratin but not the calories, Skinny Sweet Potato Gratin is your dish. Made with vitamin-rich sweet potatoes, and milk instead of heavy cream (heck, I used unsweetened almond milk!) this side dish is decadent-tasting but not belt-busting.
Easy Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
All I really need to say about Easy Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms is that they’ve been pinned over 1 million times on Pinterest. They are THAT good, and couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is place mushroom caps in a skillet then top with melted butter mixed with minced garlic and roast. Thaz it. The perfect compliment to turkey and mashed potatoes.
Green Beans with Garlic Butter-Sage Breadcrumbs
15 Minute Green Beans and Bacon is what we traditionally serve at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, but last year I branched out and created this sassy, crunchy number – Green Beans with Garlic Butter-Sage Breadcrumbs. As reader Jennie said: “Just made the bread crumbs and I am so glad I doubled the recipe because these are SOOO good!!!” Trust me – trust Jennie! – and make this delicious side dish.
Warm Fig & Prosciutto Goat Cheese Dip
Warm Fig & Prosciutto Goat Cheese Dip is like a cheese plate in dip form. A cinch to assemble, bakes in just 10 minutes, and travels well too. Is there anything this sweet and savory dip can’t do?!
Fruit and Marshmallow Holiday Salad
Eating Fruit and Marshmallow Holiday Salad is like devouring a whippy, creamy cloud. Serve for dessert, or as my family does, an irresistibly sweet side dish. I am so obsessed with this family favorite recipe.
Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Pepper Poppers
Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Pepper Poppers get a standing O whenever I make them. Make ahead, hot, savory, and drizzled with sweet chili sauce – it’s almost impossible to stop snagging them off the platter once you’ve had a bite. Even pepper-haters love them.
Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls
My sister-in-law made a double batch of Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls for dinner a couple weeks ago and her oldest ate 4 in one sitting. YES! These dinner rolls are soft and fluffy versus dense and crumbly like most gluten-free bread products plus, most importantly, they’re super easy to make. Again, rarely the case with GF bread products.
How to Make a Cheese Platter
One of the easiest ways to feed a nibble-seeking crowd is to set out a platter of assorted gluten-free crackers (if you need it) meats, cheeses, and fruit. In my “How to Make a Cheese Platter for Entertaining” post, I share my tips for what and how much of everything to buy in order to make a beautiful and delicious cheese platter for family or friends.
Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette is another fantastic, rice-based salad to serve with dinner. This one has apples, roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts, dried cranberries and sliced almonds, and the Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette really sets it apart from the others. Be sure to save some after spoon drinking to serve over the salad!
Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash
It doesn’t get easier then Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash. Chop up to several days before Thanksgiving then store in a Ziplock bag in the fridge. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in the bag, pour onto a baking sheet, then roast right before dinner. This dish is great warm or room temperature too, so fit it into the oven rotation whenever there’s an opening.