Image By Ella OlssonDo you know someone who eats gluten-free? Most of us do – there are over 100 million Americans consuming gluten-free foods for either medical reasons or simply to consume what they consider a healthier diet.

Having celiac disease or a gluten-sensitivity is life altering (Mayo Clinic estimates over 200,000 people are diagnosed annually), often making socializing and special occasions stressful, and sometimes, uncomfortable for the gluten-free person.

Even though the gluten-free dietary market continues to rapidly expand, we often forget about our gluten-free friends and family when it comes to holiday meals and gatherings, and they typically do not say anything or make special requests because they already feel like their needs are an inconvenience.

Make Easy, Satisfying Gluten-Free Food

So how do you welcome your gluten-free guests with satisfying and truly gluten-free holiday meal options? Start with naturally gluten-free foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, peas, beans, eggs, plain meat, poultry, fish, seafood, yogurt, and cheese.

And thanks to a vast selection of gluten-free flours and starches at the grocery store, it’s quite easy to make thickeners for gravy and desserts – and because they act and taste just like regular flours and starches – the rest of your guests won’t know the difference.

There are endless online resources and recipes for gluten-free cooking. Before you jump in and start cooking, read the reviews and see which ones are the favorites so you know you’re making something tasty.

Food That Can Be Gluten-Free For All Guests

The best way to think about cooking gluten-free is to look at which dishes require flour or bread. If you need flour, buy a gluten-free option that’s already engineered to act just like regular flour. Nobody will know the difference, especially if you use it as a thickener.

  • All-natural roasted turkey or ham. Read the label to make sure there are no “natural flavorings” as those can come from gluten sources. Often, it will say “gluten-free” on the label.
  • Gravy from meat drippings/broth and a gluten-free flour option as thickener. Often, regular corn starch will work. Read the label and if it says, “gluten-free” you’re good to go!
  • Stuffing. Gluten-free bread works well for traditional stuffing. It’s already usually a firm, dense consistency so it works well for a non-soggy stuffing option. You can even buy gluten-free “stuffing cubes” at your local health food store. Add all the usual delicious veggies and herbs and you’ve got a scrumptious option everyone can eat.
  • Spinach or romaine salad with walnuts, goat cheese, grapes or pears and a warm bacon dressing.
  • Cranberry relish with cranberries, orange and orange zest, nutmeg, walnuts, and sugar.
  • Green beans with almonds, cranberries, bacon, and lemon infused olive oil or butter.
  • Green bean casserole. If you want to make the traditional green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup, it’s best to make the cream sauce by hand and use gluten-free flour as a thickener. Top with gluten-free bread crumbs instead of breaded onions.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, or roasted redskins. If your gluten-free guests are also dairy free, olive oil will work in place of butter for pretty much every dish.
  • Rolls. Best to have 2 options. If you bake them from scratch, use gluten-free flour for one batch and regular for the other. Or you can buy premade gluten-free rolls and be sure to keep them in a separate bread basket.
  • Pumpkin pie without the crust, or buy a gluten-free crust at your local health food store. You can also make a pumpkin mousse, cheesecake, or a delicious favorite – flourless chocolate cake.
  • Veggie/fruit/cheese/meat trays with gluten- free cracker options. All veggies and fruit are safe, as are most cheeses and natural deli meat (just watch for added flavorings or binders). Rice wafers and other gluten-free crackers are just a pleasing as regular crackers.

Note – it’s important to watch cross-contamination. If you make something with regular wheat flour, don’t use the same surface or utensils to make or serve your gluten-free options.

Gluten-Free Drink Options

Distilled alcoholic beverages and wines are allowed; however, beer, whisky, and vodka from wheat, rye, or barley must be avoided. For safe vodka options, choose a potato, grape, or corn-derived vodka. All mixers are safe as long as there aren’t any added flavorings, and if your gluten-free guests aren’t dairy-free, pour some eggnog!

General Rules of Gluten-Free Cooking

  1. Read labels and avoid anything with “natural flavorings.” You’d be surprised – even things like malt vinegar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce often contain gluten.
  2. Avoid pre-made products that list any version of flour, wheat, barley, rye, or grains in general. It’s best to look for the “gluten-free” label to be certain.
  3. Keep gluten-free food well away from food with gluten. Cross-contamination can be very serious for those who are medically in need of a gluten-free diet.
  4. Serve lots of fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and all-natural dairy products.

Let Callier’s Do the Cooking for You

With the abundance of gluten-free products readily available today, cooking a gluten-free holiday meal and side dishes can be easy and delicious. Or, you can call Callier’s Catering today! We have many Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve  meal options from sit-down, served dinners to buffets and carryout selections. Need a gluten- or dairy-free selection? Just ask! We’ve got you covered.

We serve the greater St. Louis area including, Clayton, Creve Coeur, Chesterfield, Florissant, Ballwin, Manchester, Wildwood, Ellisville, West County, St. Charles, O’Fallon, and surrounding areas. Contact us today! 636.230.0019