Yikes it’s Thanksgiving week and my parents just called to say they were going to come up for the holiday. I had figured they were not coming. So, I quickly called some friends and put together a pot luck dinner. Myself, one of my friends are gluten-free and my mother is trying very hard to eliminate all gluten. I wanted to try some other recipes that didn’t include any gluten and also wanted to jazz up my “go to” pumpkin cheesecake. I know, I know, cheesecake you ask? Well it is Thanksgiving! The cheesecake is going to have a little salted caramel to drizzle on top. Talk about decadent. I figure if I am good with dinner and make organic healthy food, I can splurge on a little cheesecake. I plan to do a vegan detox starting Sunday anyway!
Here are few things I am going to try this year for my completely gluten-free holiday:
Normally I will still do stuffing, but since I am not making the turkey, someone else is and we are also having ham. (dads request) There won’t be any stuffing, so this cauliflower and parsnip dressing will be awesome. This one I adapted from Delicious Magazine.
Cauliflower and Parsnip Dressing
2 heads cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
3 cups diced onions
3 cups diced parsnips
2 cups roasted pecans, broken
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400˚.
Separate florets from cauliflower stems (reserve stems). Cut larger florets in half or quarters lengthwise to make pieces as uniform as possible. Toss with olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 15 minutes, and then toss with a spatula. Reduce heat to 375˚ and roast for another 35–45 minutes, or until florets are lightly browned. Remove from oven and place in a bowl. (Leave oven on.)
While florets are roasting, grate stems onto a plate (pieces should resemble rice). Heat coconut oil in a large pan; add onions and remaining ½ teaspoon salt, stirring well. Cook on high heat, stirring often, until translucent and lightly browned. Add parsnips and grated cauliflower stems, and continue stirring for 5 minutes. If mixture becomes too dry, add a tablespoon of water from time to time. (You may need as much as ¼ cup water.) As soon as parsnips are tender, remove from heat and stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, pecans, sage, thyme, 2 tablespoons parsley, and broth. Add about half of the roasted cauliflower and toss well. Pack mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Toss remaining roasted cauliflower with remaining parsley, and spread mixture evenly on top. NOTE: This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated and baked when the turkeys comes out of the of the oven. Cover and bake for about 20–25 minutes, or until hot. Remove cover, turn oven to broil, and lightly broil the top, 1–2 minutes. Serve at once.
Instead of mashed potatoes or those super sweet candied yams how about acorn squash! If you are doing a Vegan or Vegetarian meal or have someone coming who is, this is a protein packed dish, that will make them very happy. This one can be made ahead of time also and reheated prior to serving.
Quinoa-stuffed Acorn Squash
4 small acorn squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 tablespoons sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice, divided
1 red onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 375˚.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place halves, cut side down, in a lightly greased, large baking dish. Bake for 35–45 minutes, until just tender. Turn cut side up, brush with olive oil, and divide vegetable broth among the eight cavities. Season tops with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon allspice. Return squash to oven and bake until nicely browned on edges, another 5–10 minutes. Remove from oven and drain any residual broth into a small bowl. Set baking dish and bowl with broth aside.
- Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over high heat and add onions. Stir until they begin to soften, and then reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, cranberries, and remaining salt, pepper, and allspice. If mixture becomes too dry, add spoonfuls of reserved broth. Cook, stirring often, for another 5–10 minutes, until onions are tender. Add cooked quinoa and mix well. Remove from heat and stir in nuts, mint, parsley, and salt to taste.
- Divide mixture among squash. Sprinkle with reserved broth if filling looks dry. Return to oven and warm through. Serve.
Last but not least my cheesecake recipe. I use gluten-free ginger snaps for the crust, just like you would with graham crackers.
I use a 10 inch spring form pan, but this is for a 9 inch one, which I think more people have. (if you want the 10 inch version leave a comment and I will get you the measurements) Preheat oven at 350 degree’s. I use a water bath method. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, 2 sheets overlapping to form a T usually work well for me. I also flip the pan bottom to the smooth underside. It helps release the cake better from the bottom than the ridged side. I use all organic, but if you want to save a little money, go conventional.
- 1 1/2 C. crushed gluten-free gingersnap or ginger cookies (I use either Pamela’s or Mi-del cookies)
- 1/2 C. finely chopped pecans
- 1/3 C. butter, melted
- 4 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 C. sugar or turbinado sugar
- 1 C. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. ground ginger
- 1 T. vanilla
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt
Pulse the cookies and pecans in a food processor until well combined and the crumbs are uniform. Transfer to a medium bowl; add the melted butter. Combine thoroughly, first with a spoon and then with your fingers, until the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Heat a kettle of water. With an electric or stand mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add this mixture to the cream cheese. Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the bowl after each. Blend in the vanilla and pumpkin.
Scrape the batter into the cooled crust. Tap the pan gently once or twice on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set the pan in a larger baking dish (a roasting pan is good), and add enough hot water from the kettle to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top of the cake looks deep golden and burnished and the center is set (the cake may just barely begin to crack), 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. The cake will jiggle a little bit when tapped. The top may rise a bit but will settle as it cools. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides (this will prevent the cake from breaking as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.
*Cook’s Note: The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.
Last hint, for a gluten-free gravy use arrowroot instead of flour or cornstarch to thicken the gravy. With either arrowroot or cornstarch you don’t need to make a roux, just whisk 2 tablespoons for each cup of gravy with a little of the drippings and pour back into pan with all the drippings. If you like the deep rich roux style of gravy try some King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour. This blend works just like regular flour in a roux—a 1:1 ratio of flour to butter. Cook it until it’s slightly browned, then add to your stock and pan drippings and whisk away.
Even if you aren’t going gluten-free, these are great alternatives to try! Wishing you a great holiday with friends and family. Hopefully I will remember to get some photo’s of the finished products posted up.