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gluten-free holiday hacks

Whether by necessity or choice, eating a gluten-free or gluten-reduced diet is increasingly common. There are many food products that are clearly labelled as such readily available today, but if a guest is coming over who is gluten-sensitive, gluten-intolerant, or has Celiac Disease, it can be intimidating to serve them something safely.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, and barley. Thankfully, fruits and veggies in their natural state are gluten-free as long as you avoid cross contamination. Certain main dishes and baked goods may require a little more effort, but all in all, your gluten-free guests will appreciate your care to ensure their enjoyment and well-being.

Before you begin preparing something, make sure you’re checking labels for ingredients. When making new recipes, be wary of additions you may not have thought about – like Worcestershire sauce or dairy products (some may be thickened with wheat-based starches) – before feeding your non-gluten consuming guests.

Here are some gluten-free holiday hacks to serve everyone at the table:

  • Plain rice is naturally gluten-free, but it’s best to avoid rice packages with flavourings or mixes as all of the ingredients may not be gluten-free.
  • Brown rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, basmati rice, buckwheat, corn, sorghum, millet, quinoa, certified gluten-free oats, coconut flour, and almond flour are also gluten-free. 
  • Make your stuffing rice or quinoa-based instead of bread based. Add some seasonal goodies like apple and cranberry and sneak in some kale, and you have a healthy kick to everyone’s favourite holiday dish. You could also make this wild rice and mushroom stuffing to suit both your gluten-free and vegan guests; two birds, with one stone!
  • Plenty of dishes are easily made gluten-free. For example, you can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs or gluten-free flour in this celery gratin.
  • Turkeys are of course naturally gluten-free, so make your own gravy with the drippings (flavoured of course with plenty of root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery while roasting) and use cornstarch instead of flour.
  • There are plenty of dishes that are naturally gluten-free: mashed parsnips and potatoes, roasted fennel and potatoes, cranberry scalloped potatoes, cauliflower gratin, and of course caramelized onion mashed potatoes (side note: these are so good they hardly need any gravy). Also, no dinner guest – gluten-free or not – should miss out on our hearty Brussels sprouts and cabbage salad. We feel pretty confident this will become you go-to salad for any celebratory occasion.
  • Make your own pumpkin pie gluten-free with this GF pie crust and homemade pumpkin puree.
  • Be sure to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen!

Ring in the new year with some bubbly and excellent finger food for all your friends, including those who are gluten-free. Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Mix up your holiday dessert game with these candied kumquat coconut tarts
  • Whip up some onion bhaji‘s for your GF guests – just keep them out of reach of your other friends because they’ll want one too!
  • Keep pitas, crackers, and other wheat products separate from the veggies when assembling a dips/hummus platter.
  • Our baked mushroom-topped Brie is perfect for pairing with gluten-free crackers.
  • No holiday soirée is complete without a little chocolate, which is why these chocolate-dipped strawberries are great for all of your guests, even those who follow a gluten-free diet.
  • You can never go wrong offering up our cucumber guacamole with tortilla chips. Not only is this a gluten-free appetizer, but the colours of the dip look very festive on the table.

For more info and resources, check out the following:

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