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. Get ready for five super-simple and delicious gluten-free turkey dishes that will be the star of any holiday feast.
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 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 surprisingly easy to ensure your gluten-free holiday feast. 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 gluten-free.
You can either omit the stuffing or make a gluten-free stuffing you and all your guests can enjoy. Similarly, the gravy can be thickened with a gluten-free alternative to conventional flour or thickened in another way, such as through the reduction method.
However, let’s focus on the most important thing — the turkey.
1. Simple Gluten-free Roast Turkey
As previously mentioned, fresh turkey is inherently gluten-free. If you roast the turkey as it is, placing lemons inside the cavity instead of stuffing, that’s as simple as it gets. Brush the turkey with oil, sprinkle with herbs and roast it in the oven. This is one of the most simple and delicious recipes, proving that you don’t have to make things complicated to enjoy a gluten-free Thanksgiving.
- One turkey, weighing around 10 to 12 pounds
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves
- Two large lemons
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Two teaspoons of dried rosemary
- One teaspoon of dried sage
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to cut the turkey skin in a few places to insert the garlic cloves underneath. Then, cut the lemons in half. Put all the lemon halves inside the cavity. Squeeze the juice from one lemon inside the bird and the juice from the other all over the bird.
- The recipe 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.
- After 1 hour, the turkey should be covered with foil and roasted for 2 hours or more, occasionally basting, until a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 to 175 degrees.
- When the turkey is removed from the oven, it should be left to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
- You can then use the drippings to make gravy — don’t add flour.
2. Gluten-free 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 ten ingredients but is still mega-tasty.
- A turkey breast, weighing approximately 3 pounds (bone-in, skin on)
- Two cloves of garlic, crushed
- One teaspoon of dried thyme
- One teaspoon of dried rosemary
- One teaspoon of dried sage leaves
- One teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine all the herbs, garlic, oil, and other seasonings in a bowl to create a rub.
- Cover the turkey breast with this mixture, including underneath the skin.
- Place in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165F.
- Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
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.
- One large skin-on turkey thigh, weighing approximately 2.5 pounds, deboned
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, steamed
- One handful of fresh basil leaves
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- One garlic clove
- Sea salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound fresh or frozen whole green beans, trimmed and steamed, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Flatten the turkey thigh with a meat tenderizer to an even thickness of about 1 inch.
- Place the peas, basil, lemon zest, olive oil, and seasoning into a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Spread the pesto on the turkey leg, leaving a 1-inch border at the edges.
- Roll the turkey gently up and over the pesto filling and then secure with kitchen string.
- 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.
- 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 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 take their word for it. This recipe has simple flavors and would go perfectly with your favorite traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. Plus, because it’s fresh turkey, it’s completely gluten-free.
- One turkey weighing 10 to 12 pounds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- One tablespoon salt
- One tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage
- One tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
- One tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- One teaspoon of crushed black pepper
- First, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350F. Then, start to prepare the turkey. You’ll need to turn the turkey over, the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest before carving.
5. Cajun Spiced Turkey
If simple flavors aren’t your thing, you can always spice up your Thanksgiving with something different. Coating your turkey with Cajun spices is a great way to add loads of flavor without adding any gluten. Make sure that you make your spice mix or if you choose to buy one, check the ingredients thoroughly to ensure there’s no hidden gluten.
- One turkey, weighing 12 to 14 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Cajun spice mix
- One celery stalk, chopped
- One green bell pepper, chopped
- One medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Massage the spice mix into the skin of the turkey. Then, put the turkey, breast-side down, into a prepared pan (with a rack) and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the turkey from the fridge and allow it to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the celery, bell pepper, and onion in a mixing bowl, and then insert this mixture into the turkey’s cavity. If there are any remaining, add these to the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Brush the turkey with oil and roast for up to an hour, basting occasionally. Then, flip the turkey and 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.
- 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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Garlic Rosemary Turkey Recipe from Taste of Home at http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/garlic-rosemary-turkey
Simple Herb and Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast from Flavor The Moments at http://flavorthemoments.com/simple-herb-garlic-roasted-turkey-breast/
Turkey Roulade with Basil Pea Pesto from The Petite Cook at http://www.thepetitecook.com/turkey-roulade-with-basil-pea-pesto/
Roast Spatchcock Turkey Recipe from All Recipes at http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-spatchcock-and-roast-a-turkey/
Cajun Spiced Turkey from Epicurious at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cajun-spiced-turkey-368270