Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Gorgonzola Wendy Goodfriend
Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Gorgonzola (Wendy Goodfriend)

How to Make Your Holiday Dinner Menu Gluten-Free

How to Make Your Holiday Dinner Menu Gluten-Free

If you’ve got a house full of hungry guests, preparing Christmas dinner is already stressful. Add in food allergies or restrictions and it’s another coal to the fire (and not one that helps you cook). With a few recipes and cooking tips in your arsenal, you can easily feed everyone at the table an impressive meal, and you’ll find that cooking a gluten-free holiday meal isn’t that hard!

Fun fact: many food products include gluten in hidden or unexpected ways, so you should always double check your labels if it doesn’t outright say gluten-free. For example, the Celiac Disease Foundation says even lunch meats might contain gluten. The good news: wines and hard liquor/distilled beverages are, for the most part, gluten-free (some makers use a wheat paste to seal their wine barrels).

Hors D'oeuvres

Deviled eggs
Deviled eggs (Wendy Goodfriend)

If you want to go simple, try serving a platter of fresh veggies or sliced cheese and Kalamata olives (or all of the above). Traditional baguettes are out, but your local gluten-free bakeries like Mariposa Bakery or Wholesome Bakery may carry gluten-free French bread — call to find out. Feeling pretty confident about your baking game? Try making Josey Baker Bread’s Adventure Bread!
Otherwise, here are a few recipes that will ease your guests’ hunger until the main meal:

Sides

Gluten-Free Cornbread and Red Pepper Stuffing.
Gluten-Free Cornbread and Red Pepper Stuffing. (Wendy Goodfriend)

Keep the sides easy by sticking to vegetable-based recipes. For anything that involves breadcrumbs or a crust, visit a local natural foods store for some gluten-free options.

Entrees

The finished Christmas Duck with Endives and Duck Sauce.
The finished Christmas Duck with Endives and Duck Sauce. (Vic Chin)

Go beyond the traditional turkey or ham for your holiday dinner! Some of these recipes involve chicken or beef broth which sometimes contain hydrolyzed wheat protein, so check the labels at the store.

Dessert

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Crescents
Chocolate-Dipped Almond Crescents (Wendy Goodfriend)

For many, the best part of dinner is at the end when you just have room for one last bite (so you have to make it count). Preparing gluten-free desserts isn’t terribly difficult, but it’s easy to get confused since baking with wheat flour is the norm for American sweets. For a go-to gluten-free flour recipe, bookmark this one from America's Test Kitchen.

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The following recipes are all gluten-free, but they’ll be a decadent treat for everyone at the table.

Want more recipes? Here’s another gluten-free holiday menu option.

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