Easy and Delicious Allergen-Free Thanksgiving Recipes


This is the season for holiday meals and none compares to Thanksgiving as a holiday of food.

Although, here at Nourishing Hope, we have readers from 90 countries, where not all have “Thanksgiving.” So whether you are looking for Thanksgiving or other Holiday recipes, here are some of my special diet favorites (all available in Cooking to Heal).

Unfortunately for those with food intolerances, the prospect of a Thanksgiving or Holiday meal rich in gluten and dairy leaves many saying “no thanks!” Traditional stuffing, a Thanksgiving favorite, is made from bread (wheat). Gravy is made with wheat flour, and mashed potatoes are loaded with milk, cream and butter. Pumpkin pie contains wheat and dairy. All of these foods are off limits for those following a gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCF diet).

But you needn’t miss out on these delicious holiday dishes, nor the good times that accompany Thanksgiving – not just because you’re on a gluten-free or other allergen-free diet. With a little ingenuity you can maintain the special diet your family is on right through the holidays.

Turkey is inherently gluten-free and dairy-free unless you add something containing those ingredients. Use safe herbs and spices, oils, and avoid flour often used as thickener for gravy. Avoid “apple pie spice” and other spice blends in your Thanksgiving dinner (because blends almost always have gluten).

Holiday meals often are notoriously deficient on vegetables. Typically there is one “token” vegetable that no one eats. So I’ve included some tasty vegetables that guests will love! Also, check out this beautiful Kale, Beet, and Pomegranate salad – it’s delicious and the colors are so festive. Most vegetable recipes can be made gluten-free and dairy-free if they are not already, so consider adapting one of your favorites.

For mashed potatoes: you can very easily substitute non-dairy milk for milk or cream in the mashed potatoes, and certified casein-free ghee or other fat such as expeller-pressed coconut oil for the butter, or try my starch-free cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”

For a pie, there is no excuse not to do GFCF—there are so many options and no one will know the difference!

For those following gluten-free and casein-free, here’s a simple and delicious GFCF Thanksgiving dinner – along with recipes. Your guests won’t know the difference.

And if you are following a grain-free and starch-free diet such as GAPS, SCD, or Paleo, simply avoid the stuffing and the crust for the pumpkin pie (just bake the filling alone in the dish), and for the gravy avoid the flour and simply simmer down the pan drippings, and you’ll have a wonderful meal that’s compliant with your special diet.

Gluten-Free/Special Diet Holiday Menu

Turkey is normally the star of the Thanksgiving show! However, if you are avoiding gluten, dairy, and soy, that can be a challenge to enjoy depending on what is used. If prepared with butter, stuffed with gluten and dairy-filled stuffing, or if any of the seasonings have added ingredients that are not tolerated, it can ruin a holiday! This recipe is just as easy as any other and takes into account various food allergies. You can alter the seasonings to meet your specific tastes too. Don’t let a GFCFSF Thanksgiving dinner intimidate you! Roasted turkey recipe

What says the holidays more than stuffing?!? I mean really…..for some, stuffing is the defining dish (OK, maybe second to pumpkin pie) at Thanksgiving. But for those who cannot or don’t want to eat gluten, that can present a real challenge. My recipe is easy and a crowd favorite. I have had many people in my community replicate this recipe with the same delicious results. When you want a tried-and-true gluten-free and dairy- free stuffing recipe, this is the one! Gluten-Free Stuffing recipe

Classic gravy obviously contains gluten from the flour and maybe even dairy if made with milk. However, with a few simple switches, you can make a classic gravy without any of those ingredients. And, there is no additional time or effort, it really just comes down to the ingredients you use! Gluten-Free Gravy recipe

This is a healthy twist on a traditional Thanksgiving dish that can be made to suit many different diets including GFCF, SCD, GAPS, Paleo, & Low Oxalate! In addition, cranberries are incredibly healthy! They are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory, & they have even been shown to boost beneficial gut bacteria! Cranberry Sauce recipe

For many, mashed potatoes are one of the favorite side-dishes at holiday meals. However, for some people who wish to reduce or eliminate starchy food, this can present a real problem! Mashed cauliflower potatoes can be a terrific grain-free and starch-free option and compliant on diets like SCD, GAPS, and Paleo. Maybe you just want to get more healthy cruciferous vegetables into your family! Use my trick of using ½ cauliflower and ½ potatoes for a nice compromise with an added nutrient boost. Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes recipe

This is always a family favorite and the dish I am asked to make year after year! Brussels sprouts are a great winter vegetable, they are high in sulfur & sulforaphane, which help build glutathione, a master antioxidant and great for detoxification. Not only is this dish delicious, but it helps provide those wonderful health benefits as well! Confetti Brussels Sprouts recipe

This is a great salad because of the seasonal ingredients you can almost always find. This salad is filled with antioxidants and great nutrition from the greens, the beets, and the pomegranates! What a fun and festive way to nourish the body. And it is extra kid-friendly because of the sweetness from the beets and pomegranate. Kale, Beet and Pomegranate Salad recipe

How can we discuss Thanksgiving without talking about pumpkin pie? This is the epitome of a classic holiday dessert. This recipe provides you all of the taste you love without the ingredients that you don’t! You can even make this low oxalate by avoiding spices like cinnamon. Pumpkin is rich in nutrients, including carotene which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important nutrient for a healthy immune system – in case you needed one, there’s your justification for eating your pie! Pumpkin Pie recipe

Whether you follow these ideas or create your own meal, with a few new twists on your old classics, you can make an allergy-free Thanksgiving/Holiday meal that is simple and delicious.

And if you have a favorite of your own you want to share with other families, please comment below!

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of BioIndividualNutrition.com. Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


  1. Hej Julie,
    Thanks for these, I can use them over the Christmas period as the November ‘Thanks giving’ does not exist in Europé.
    Enjoy your holidays!
    ATB from Rachel

  2. HI,
    julie assisted my three year old child with a detox off of wheat, dairy, and white sugar. Kevin had numerous tics, head rolls, eye darts, vocal and motor tics. Kevin had autistic stims and arm flaps. My son would not always answer to his name when he was called. After julie assisted with helping me feed my son, kevin rode is bike for the first time two weeks into the detox. After four months on the diet, and many supplements including b12 in large doses with flush free vitamin b3 kevin no longer showed any autistic traits. Kevin has no stims always answers to his name and has no head rolls, eye darts, vocal grunts, and is very close to being completely tic free Today kevin lost his diagnoses for aspergers, and only has a diagnoses for anxiety disorder, not bad! thank you julie for the knowledge about intergrative health,detox, and diet that started kevin into his full recovery from the world of autism. a mom from great river long island ny linda colleran

  3. How wonderful to create a whole menu for us and provide the recipes – thank you SO much! sharing with my peeps – they’ll love me for it!

    Happy thanksgiving to you and your lovely family!


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