A Grain and Dairy Free Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching here in the U.S. I thought it was time to pull out my usual recipes and get everything together. We’ve had years of lactose and gluten allergies, and now corn so this will be our first completely grain free Thanksgiving.

In honor of Thanksgiving and in hopes that this will help someone else out there, here are the recipes and ideas I use for a grain and dairy free meal!

The Meat:

While turkey is traditionally served, we don’t actually like it so we do a ham. Either way, it’s good to verify whether your turkey or ham is gluten free. Unfortunately many meats these days are either injected with gluten containing substances or are contaminated during processing. For instance, Butterball injects some of their turkeys with gluten containing juices so it’s best to double check whatever brands you have near you. A good gluten-free ham list can be found over at VeryWell.

It’s important to note that most glaze packets that come with a ham contain gluten so we make our own. You can follow your favorite homemade glaze recipe or follow the one I usually use which is from Trisha Yearwood over at FoodNetwork.

The Potatoes:

Potatoes aren’t hard to make grain and dairy free, basically follow whatever recipe you prefer (or use instant potatoes), instead of milk use dairy free milk and instead of butter use margarine. I like to use unsweetened almond milk. I actually think it makes a better and smoother mashed potato than regular milk.

Sweet Potatoes:

Every year I look forward to some sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows! These are generally gluten and dairy free (at least every recipe I’ve seen) but here’s the one I use:

  • 1 (40 oz.) can of cut sweet potatoes in water, drained
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or to taste)
  • 1 cup (or more) small marshmallows
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or more if you like)

Note: The usual marshmallows have corn among the ingredients which I am now allergic to. There are several good recipes for making your own or you can find some store bought grain free marshmallows. I have recently found “Dandies All Natural” marshmallows at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s brand mallows at Trader Joe’s are both grain free.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix salt, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, sugar mixture, and butter. If you like pecans in your sweet potatoes feel free to mix these in now. Transfer mixture to casserole dish. I like my sweet potatoes a little mashed (but not completely) so after I transfer to the dish I take a fork and mash some down until it looks good to me.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until glazed. Remove from oven and overlay a layer of marshmallows on top. Bake again until golden brown. (about 10min) Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole:

Years ago when I needed a lactose free version of green bean casserole I found the original recipe on the Dairy Free Omnivore here. Everyone loves it and indeed, it tastes much better than anything using condensed soup. I have since tweaked it a bit to add some more things we like and to make it completely grain free. I hope you enjoy!

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken or bone broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Oregano (to taste)
  • Thyme (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 cans French cut green beans, drained
  • Gluten free onion straws

Note: Last year I tried to make my own grain free onion straws which sadly did not turn out, without them the casserole lacked a certain texture and additional pizazz. This year I found the “Live G Free” brand of onion straws at Aldi’s use buckwheat as the flour and are gluten and corn free.

Saute onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, and carrots together in olive oil until onions are translucent. Whisk together almond milk, xanthan gum, and stock. Pour mixture into the pan with the saute mix and carefully heat until bullion is dissolved and everything is mixed together. Stir in the herbs and spices. Drain the green beans and pour into the dish that you will bake in. Pour in the milk/spices/veggie mix and mix it up so everything is covered. Layer a thin layer of the onion straws on top. Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and straws are brown. Enjoy!

The Pies:


Where would Thanksgiving be without the Pumpkin Pie? It’s easy to adapt whatever recipe you have or feel free to use the one I use!

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs, preferably grass fed to avoid a gluten reaction (I’m that sensitive, if your not don’t worry about it)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin and not a pumpkin pie mix which can sometimes contain gluten)
  • 6 oz. almond milk (in place of 1 can evaporated milk)
  • 1 9-in. deep dish grain free pie shell; I found gluten free frozen versions at my local Whole Foods, which use rice flour. I normally make home made crusts using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten (and grain) free baking flour. Check out this recipe here and replace butter and milk with dairy free options.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl. Beat in eggs until mixed and then add the pumpkin. Gradually stir in milk. (you can add a little more milk until the consistency looks right) Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in oven at 425° F for 15 minutes. At this time, if your using a pre-made pie shell I recommend wrapping the edges of the crust in foil to avoid burning them. (or you can use a crust cover) Reduce oven to 350° F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours and either serve or refrigerate. We like to add our favorite dairy free whipped topping!

Pecan Pie:

While there are many different pies you could choose for an easy grain free pie, pecan is my brother’s favorite and since they’re coming for Thanksgiving I felt like a delicious attempt should be made. I was a bit worried since we had always made our pecan pies with Karo Syrup which are of course corn based! However, in the South many pecan pie recipes use brown sugar instead of Karo Syrup. Just search ‘brown sugar pecan pie’ or you can use this recipe from Food Network.


Wherever this Thanksgiving finds you, I hope you are happy and well and are able to spend it with family or friends!



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