By Emma Grace Fairchild:
There’s certainly nothing wrong with the expected Thanksgiving side dishes (and plenty of ways to spruce them up and make them more healthful), but there are many other options to explore. Especially since I’ve been gluten-free for the last five years, getting creative with sides guarantees having tasty foods that are safe for me to eat at a dinner table. Holiday meals like Thanksgiving are no exception, and here at Green-Mom we can recommend some alternative tasty sides for your free range turkey or tofu, all of them gluten free and vegetarian.
Mashed sweet potatoes is a good place to start. Highly nutritious, their sweetness works great on a savory Thanksgiving plate. This recipe is super simple, calling only for yams, butter, salt, and a bit of sage for something special. If sage isn’t your favorite, fresh thyme or chopped green onions also would spruce up this easy dish, and coconut oil or organic margarine could be substituted to easily make the dish vegan.
Celery root is an often overlooked veggie that is tasty, inexpensive and nutritious. It can be made into a celeriac and walnut gratin by cooking it in vegetable broth and walnut oil so it becomes soft and creamy. Crunchy walnuts bring a dose of healthy omega fats, and the entire dish takes only about fifteen minutes to prepare.
Using a crockpot is a great way to make a hands-off side that can be prepared in advance. One example is a scalloped potato dish that is not only gluten free but can be made vegan or vegetarian. This recipe skips the salt laden cream of mushroom soup and opts for fresher and simpler ingredients. Using a mandolin slicer and your slow cooker could speed up the process and allow you more free time in the kitchen. It will take 4 or 5 hours but could be prepared a day in advance and reheated if time is scarce on Thanksgiving Day.
For a fresher aspect, fennel and apple are a seasonal way to add crunch and flavor to a side salad. This recipe combines sweet apples and fresh fennel bulb with blue cheese and a super simple vinaigrette over a bed of butterhead lettuce. The ease of the vinaigrette and only three main ingredients mean this salad is a breeze to prepare. It also could be prepared a day before and dressed 15 minutes before serving.
Cranberries can take forms other than the typical sauce. A raw relish brings tartness to the table, and can pack a multitude of health benefits. This recipe for raw and fermented orange cranberry relish is whey free and takes just two days on your counter to ferment. The probiotics that result in the fermentation process are good for your gut and overall health, and the relish provides an unexpected sweetness in a savory dinner spread.
For more ideas and inspiration, visit the Green-Mom kitchen for many more recipes and ideas. There are suggestions on how to use different ingredients, such as root vegetables, quinoa (like this stuffed acorn squash), and fresh vegetables like sauteed beans and mushrooms. The entire menu for Green-Mom’s meatless Thanksgiving is also full of good ideas that can be adapted for gluten-free diets.