A Gluten & Dairy-Free Holiday

It started with a single cookie tin of “Kate Friendly” goodies. First to go was gluten, then dairy, and finally white sugar got the axe. Much experimentation ensued. I used to be the odd one out but over the years my whole family jumped on board.

Turns out everyone feels better watching the gluten, dairy and sugar during the holidays. Our baking traditions haven’t suffered one bit. You’ll still find my mom, sister and I in the kitchen watching White Christmas up to our ears in Pfeffernusse. Our feast has been adapted over the years too – stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, the works, all gluten and dairy free. Here are my tips and tricks for a Christmas full of cheer not bloat!

Be Ghee-ful

First things first, make a big batch of ghee. Ghee is pure butter fat (a.k.a pure deliciousness!) and it’s a real game changer at Christmastime. While technically still a dairy product ghee has no milk sugars or proteins so those of us that are lactose and/or casein sensitive can usually tolerate it.  Ghee lends an amazing caramelized butter flavor to whatever you’re cooking or baking and is also a very healthy, gut friendly fat. You’ll get the best results and nutrient value if you use organic or grass fed butter. If you’re serving vegans and want to be totally dairy free I recommend using Earth Balance buttery spreads. I like the soy free version.

Stuff Yourselves

Stuffing is no joke in my family. I’m pretty sure my sister would fill her entire plate with stuffing if she could. It’s taken a few years to find the perfect gluten free version but I think we’ve finally nailed it. The trick is to use a couple varieties of bread and toast it before combining it with the sautéed vegetable mixture. This way you avoid an overly mushy stuffing. A plain brown rice bread + Canyon Bakehouse’s 7 Grain is our preferred combo.

Groovy Gravy

Once you’ve stuffed your turkey full of gluten free goodness you’ll want to make gravy. If you’re using bouillon make sure it’s gluten free. We like to make a quick stock using the turkey bits, an onion, carrot, and stalk of celery. To thicken your gravy use cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca starch instead of flour. And don’t forget a generous splash of sherry (shhh, mom’s secret!).

Sweet Stuff

Christmas brings out the Britishness in our family. We’re fans of silly paper crowns and Christmas pud. To make a healthier and less glutinous variety try this spice cake recipe. With grated pumpkin, carrots and dates this cake is appropriate for Christmas morning too. And of course, can’t forget the custard (my custard love rivals my sister’s stuffing obsession). The key to a dairy free custard that doesn’t taste like cardboard is using coconut milk. I like Earth’s Choice for its richness. Naturally decadent and slightly sweet coconut milk is the perfect custard base. We use about 3 parts coconut milk to 1 part almond milk. Mix with custard powder and coconut sugar or xylitol to sweeten.

And of course an indulgent beverage or two makes the season merry and bright. For a warm pick me up try this Superfood Haute Chocolate with almond milk.  And if you’ve got a beer loving family member a bottle of St. Peter’s G-Free or Glutenberg would make a nice stocking stuffer (hint, hint family).  Speaking of stockings…we’ve got an amazing selection of dairy free chocolates to choose from at the store.

The holidays are a wonderful time to have fun in the kitchen. Being mindful of your ingredient choices doesn’t have to lessen that joy. Cheers to happy tummies and full hearts!

Hosting this holiday season? Check out my post on entertaining guests with food restrictions. This year, give your gut the gift of proper digestion! Check out my tips for beating holiday bloat.


Kate McMurray Certified Holistic Nutritionist