5 Tasty Gluten-free Turkey Dishes for Your Holiday Feast

It’s nearly time for Thanksgiving, and you’re getting ready to prepare a delicious holiday feast. You’ve got the classic Thanksgiving menu in mind: the traditional roasted turkey filled with stuffing, served with thick gravy and accompanied by a selection of side dishes.

Only now, you no longer eat gluten. In your mind, you say an emotional goodbye to the bread-based stuffing of your childhood, the gravy thickened with flour and, well, just bread in general. Then, you ask yourself while trying not to hyperventilate: “What’s Thanksgiving without the stuffing-filled turkey and the thick gravy!? What am I going to do now?!”

Don’t worry — it’s actually surprisingly easy to make sure your holiday feast is gluten-free. In fact, you and your other guests probably won’t even notice.

The good news is that the superstar of any Thanksgiving menu, the fresh turkey, is always gluten-free as long as it hasn’t had anything added to it. Even spice mixes, herb coatings and sauces can contain hidden gluten, but if you add the extras yourself, it’s easy to keep an eye on the ingredients and ensure that your holiday menu’s “main event” is definitely gluten-free.

Stuffed turkey breast with baked vegetables and spices against holiday lights background.
With regard to the stuffing, you can either just omit the stuffing altogether or make a gluten-free stuffing that you and all your guests can enjoy. Similarly, the gravy can be thickened with a gluten-free alternative to conventional flour or can be thickened in another way, such as through the reduction method.

However, let’s focus on the most important thing — the turkey. Get ready for five super-simple and delicious gluten-free turkey dishes that will be the star of any holiday feast.

1. Simple Roast Turkey

As previously mentioned, fresh turkey is inherently gluten-free. If you just roast the turkey as it is, placing lemons inside the cavity instead of stuffing, that’s as simple as it gets. Just brush the turkey with oil, sprinkle with herbs and roast it in the oven. This is one of the most simple and delicious recipes out there and proves that you don’t have to make things complicated to enjoy a gluten-free Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey, weighing around 10 to 12 pounds
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to cut the turkey skin in a few places, in order to insert the garlic cloves underneath. Then, cut the lemons in half. Squeeze the juice from one lemon inside the bird and the juice from the other all over the bird. Put all the lemon halves inside the cavity.
  2. The recipe then advises that the wings should be tucked under and the drumsticks tied together. The bird should then be placed in a roasting pan, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and roasted for approximately 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour has passed, the turkey should be covered with foil and roasted for a further 2 hours or more, basting occasionally, until a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 to 175 degrees.
  4. When the turkey is removed from the oven, it should be left to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
  5. You can then use the drippings to make gravy — just don’t add any flour.

2. Herby Turkey Breast

If you’re not feeding a huge crowd this Thanksgiving, why not cook a turkey breast instead? It’s much quicker to cook than a whole bird, and a delicious herb coating delivers a lot of flavor to the meat. Plus, by making it yourself, you’ll have complete control of the ingredients to ensure the coating is completely gluten-free. The following recipe contains less than 10 ingredients but is still mega-tasty.

INGREDIENTS

  • A turkey breast, weighing approximately 3 pounds (bone in, skin on)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all the herbs, garlic, oil and other seasonings in a bowl to create a rub.
  3. Cover the turkey breast with this mixture, including underneath the skin.
  4. Place in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165F.
  5. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Full Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner with Turkey Stuffing Veggies and Potatos


3. Turkey Roulade with Basil Pea Pesto

This quick and delicious turkey dish will add a fresh and vibrant element to any Thanksgiving dinner. Basil pea pesto is not something you typically associate with fall and Thanksgiving, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing a few summer vibes and a little Italian flair to your table.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large skin-on turkey thigh, weighing approximately 2.5 pounds, deboned
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, steamed
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen whole green beans, trimmed and steamed, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Flatten the turkey thigh with a meat tenderizer to an even thickness of about 1 inch.
  2. Place the peas, basil, lemon zest, olive oil and seasoning into a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Spread the pesto on top of the turkey leg, leaving a 1-inch border at the edges.
  3. Roll the turkey gently up and over the pesto filling and then secure with kitchen string.
  4. Seal the roulade by searing all sides on a very hot cast-iron pan. Then, transfer the turkey to the oven, and bake for approximately 45 to 60 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165F.
  5. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before cutting the roulade into thick slices. Spoon over the pan juices and serve with steamed green beans.

4. Spatchcock (Butterflied) Turkey

If you want to cook a whole turkey, but in less time, this one is for you. Fans of this cooking method say that it leads to the crispiest skin and the juiciest meat, but don’t just take their word for it. Plus, because it’s just fresh turkey, it’s completely gluten-free. This recipe has simple flavors and would go perfectly with your favorite traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey weighing 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. First, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350F. Then, start to prepare the turkey. You’ll need to turn the turkey over, breast side down and use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along one side of the backbone. Then, repeat on the other side and remove the backbone.
  2. Continue to flatten the turkey by pressing down on both sides of the breastbone until you hear a crack. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts and place the turkey on a rack. Brush with oil and then season with salt, black pepper and herbs.
  3. Roast the bird for 90 minutes, then baste and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes at 400F. Remove from the oven when a thermometer, inserted in the thickest part, reads 165F.
  4. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest before carving.

Roasted small turkey for celebration Thanksgiving day in roasting pan on old rustic wooden table. Stuffed with couscous with a fig prunes dried apricots almonds and pine nuts


5. Cajun Spiced Turkey

If simple flavors aren’t your thing, you can always spice up your Thanksgiving with something a little different. Coating your turkey with Cajun spices is a great way to add loads of flavor, without adding any gluten. Just make sure that you make your own spice mix or, if you do choose to buy one, check the ingredients thoroughly to make sure there’s no hidden gluten.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey, weighing 12 to 14 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Cajun spice mix
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Massage the spice mix into the skin of the turkey. Then, transfer the turkey, breast-side down, into a prepared pan (with a rack) and refrigerate overnight, uncovered. The next day, remove the turkey from the fridge and allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the celery, bell pepper and onion in a mixing bowl, and then insert this mixture into the cavity of the turkey. If there is any remaining, add these to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  3. Brush the turkey with oil and roast for up to an hour, basting occasionally. Then, flip the turkey and continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165F. This will usually be after an additional 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you and your loved ones enjoy your gluten-free Thanksgiving holiday feast! 

 

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