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For anyone who either can’t eat gluten or who follows a gluten-free or paleo-inspired lifestyle, the holidays can be a bit of a minefield to navigate. Personally I keep my day-to-day meals pretty simple because I just don’t have the time or patience to spend hours in the kitchen, but I still like to find ways to make the holidays special. img_8216

In preparation for my departure from the one-pot meals I’ve been making nearly every night (my cast iron pan is a serious lifesaver!), I’ve put together a list of recipes that can help keep the holidays gluten-free while still keeping your guests happy and your taste buds satisfied!

Stuffing

Because stuffing is my absolute favorite holiday treat, I got a little obsessive and found a couple of different ways to make it. I still miss traditional stuffing a tiny bit, but I’m hoping that a few more months of gluten-free/paleo eating and my cravings will re-wire themselves. 🙂

This recipe from Purely Twins uses bread made from plantains to keep the traditional texture and look of stuffing without any grains.

I Breathe I’m Hungry’s stuffing recipe is lower carb, with no bread substitute, made with a base of sausage, onion, and other vegetables.

This is another sausage based recipe from Hollywood Homestead that uses apples and veggies to round out the dish.

Gravy

Although for Thanksgiving I didn’t use gravy this year, it’s still one of my holiday favorites. Although cornstarch is technically gluten-free I try to stay away from using it because it significantly raises blood sugar, which in many ways defeats the purpose of a paleo/gluten-free diet.

This recipe from Cook Eat Paleo uses blended vegetables rather than flour or cornstarch to thicken the gravy.

This recipe from Three Diets One Dinner uses coconut milk and arrowroot starch for a more traditional taste and texture. A side note — arrowroot starch also raises blood sugar, so diabetics might want to choose a different gravy recipe.

Turkey

Although turkey is naturally gluten-free, I absolutely had to share this recipe from Alexandra Napoli because it’s ridiculously delicious! I would never have thought of wrapping a Christmas turkey in bacon, but the results speak for themselves.

Side dishes

Mashed potatoes and other classics can easily be made gluten-free, but for those that wanted an option with a few more micro-nutrients and a tad less butter, I picked a couple of my favorite paleo holiday side dishes.

This is an incredibly simple recipe for brussels sprouts and bacon, which goes surprisingly well with turkey!

Stupid Easy Paleo has this great substitute for traditional dairy filled mashed potatoes. While the recipe does call for butter, those who don’t include grass-fed dairy in their diet can substitute ghee, coconut butter, or a little bit of full fat coconut milk (the solid part from canned coconut milk works best in this type of recipe).

Green bean casserole is a holiday tradition, but this recipe leaves out the cream of mushroom soup and processed fried onions for an incredibly tasty but healthy result!

Nom Nom Paleo has another great substitute for mashed potatoes using cauliflower. I love this, and it works even if you’re not a huge fan of cauliflower. Just make sure you use enough spices, and if you really hate cauliflower replace half the cauliflower with gold potatoes. Even with the addition of some potatoes this still has far less carbs and far more nutrients than traditional mashed potatoes.

These twice baked sweet potatoes are absolutely amazing. I prefer chopped pecans on top, but I’m sure cashews would be good too.

Desserts

Apple cinnamon screams Christmas for me, so this apple cinnamon coffee cake is perfect as far as I’m concerned. This also calls for arrowroot starch, but since desserts are generally going to contain more sugar I’m a little less worried it about it here.

This fudge uses only pure maple syrup as a sweetener and requires no cooking, which makes it pretty much perfect.

Of course, it’s not Christmas without pie, so here’s Abel James’ version of paleo pumpkin pie! I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie in general, but my family loves it and they swear this is delicious.

Coconut cream pie is more my speed, and this is my go-to holiday dessert!

 

As you can see, even though the holidays are a challenge it is completely do-able to keep to a gluten-free or paleo diet without disappointing guests that eat a standard American diet. Over the next week I’ll also share tips about how to survive the holidays and stay paleo/gluten-free when the festivities are not at your house.

What tricks do you have to stay on track during the holidays?

Do you have any favorite substitutes for traditional holiday fare?