Content sponsored by Argo.
Throwing a holiday feast for your whole gang can seem daunting, even if none of your loved ones have dietary restrictions. But cooking dinner when one or more guests is gluten-free can really bother you. I used to shake myself up, and cooking is my career! But now I know that making a delicious, completely gluten-free holiday meal is totally possible, fun and, dare I say it, easy. You just need to tidy your pantry smart and have some recipes so delicious you’ll never know they’re GF in your back pocket.
I started experimenting with gluten-free holiday recipes years ago when we found out my brother had celiac disease (an autoimmune disease that can cause damage to the small intestine in those who eat gluten) and we learned to stay away from this protein. We soon realized that gluten was almost all we ate, including holiday favorites like stuffing, pie, and cookies.
We’ve had plenty of GF treats since my brother’s diagnosis, and everyone leaves our holiday table happy, grateful, and stuffed. Now I’m sharing my secrets (including a 30-minute recipe for a gluten-free apple and sausage stuffing casserole that is bound to be the star of your holiday spread) so your family can do the same!
Secret # 1: Make these smart switcheroos!
You’ll want to take a peek in your pantry and put away problematic foods while you host. Gluten-free people cannot have traditional breads, pastas, pastries, cookies, pie crusts or crackers. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up cooking – we’ll talk about that later!
You might be surprised to learn that soy sauce, gravy, and thick sauces can also contain gluten, as can foods and drinks containing barley, malt, or rye. Even the canned frosting you use on your Christmas cookies can contain gluten.
To avoid working on a dish that can’t be enjoyed by everyone at the table, opt for these smart swaps for your holiday staples:
Gluten-free pantry swaps
- Instead of ALL PURPOSE FLOUR, try: CORNSTARCH for a gluten-free baking mix
- Instead of 2 tbsp. FLOUR To thicken the sauce, try: 1 tsp. CORNSTARCH
- Instead of the PIE CRUST, try: a cookie crust with GF WRAPPED cookies
- Instead of SALAD CRUTONS, try: NUTS or LARGE TOASTED COCONUT FLAKES for crunch
- Instead of BREAD for making leftover turkey sandwiches, try: CORN TORTILLAS quesadillas
Secret # 2: Use this super ingredient in your sauces and sides!
Stuffing and gravy sides are often off-limits for gluten-free guests – the stuffing because of the bread, of course, and the sides because of the flour used to thicken them. With a simple swap, however, you can make your favorite sides suitable for everyone at the table. Argo® Corn Starch—The ingredient that adds crunchy texture to sautéed vegetables, structure to pie fillings, and nice body to crusts and cookies — is a brilliant GF flour substitute for thickening roux and sauces. I keep Argo ready for my holiday meals, adding about half the cornstarch that I would make flour. It elevates my recipes into crowd pleasures that no one could ever be GF.
This season, I used Argo Corn Starch to create a GF vacation side dish of my dreams. This casserole of sausage and apple tastes like mom’s stuffing with a little sauce drizzled on top. The crunchy and cheesy filling replaces the crispy breadcrumbs. I added cubes of fennel and squash so that everyone also brought in their vegetables.
This casserole dish is prepared in a pan while the filling is baking in the oven. Chop your vegetables and you’ll be ready to serve them hot in 30 minutes. It’s delicious with holiday staples like turkey, roast, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce or my savory. Brussels sprouts with apricots and pistachios.
Gluten Free Apple Sausage Stuffing Casserole
For 6 to 8 people
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 links of mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced
- 1 cup (1 medium) onion, diced
- 1 cup diced apple
- 1 cup diced fennel
- 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon Mustard powder
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 cup of grated Gruyere
Ingredients for the filling:
- ¾ cup finely chopped almonds
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 tbsp. Milk
- Heat the oven to 350 ° F.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces, until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the celery, onion, apple, fennel, butternut squash and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- In another bowl, combine the spices, broth and cornstarch and add the mixture to the pan.
- Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender and sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile, for the garnish, combine the almonds, Parmesan, paprika, cornstarch, butter and milk until a dough forms.
- Spread dough to 1/8 inch thick on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Use another sheet of parchment paper to flatten the dough on the pan, then remove the second sheet.)
- Bake filling until golden – about 15 minutes – while filling is simmering. Remove from the oven.
- Remove the filling from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
- Transfer the filling to a 2 or 3 quart casserole dish and distribute evenly. Crumble the filling and sprinkle all over the pot. Serve hot.
Secret # 3: Make Your Own Easy GF Cooking Mix.
What’s a holiday dinner without dessert? I have invented delicious GF candies over the years, like using GF pretzels for my crust. Chocolate coated pretzel cream pie and decorate the cookies with a Soft vanilla icing since the store-bought type contains gluten. You can also make GF versions of your favorite and proven pies, cakes and cookies by making your own all-purpose flour substitute.
I do that Argo Gluten Free Flour Mix in batches during the holidays and keep it airtight during the cooking days. This gives my cookies and crusts the best texture. Store-bought GF flour mixes often contain preservatives, but by creating my own version, I know exactly what’s in it – just four ingredients.
Rice flour, potato starch, and xantham gum can be found in the health food section of your supermarket. (Xantham gum can also be found in the supplements section of your health food store. It is a wonderful binding ingredient that acts like the gooey protein that you lack when cooking GF.) Try using this mixture instead of the packed GF flour mixture requested holiday specials like Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cutouts and Gluten free pie crust.
Guaranteed, when your friends and family finally leave the table, they’ll ask for your recipes (and an invite for next year!).