Gluten-Free Holiday Meals

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While holidays are times of joy, festive meals can pose a challenge for people with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But take heart, whether you personally avoid gluten─or plan on hosting people that do─these ideas can help.

First off, if you’re a guest that must steer clear of gluten, it’s certainly permissible to ask the hostess about the ingredients in various dishes. Once friends and family understand your gluten sensitivity, they should be happy to provide you with the information you need to relax and enjoy the feast in good health.

You could also offer to bring an alternate dish, or a gluten-free version of a traditional favorite that would otherwise be off limits to you. Happily, many holiday foods─including turkey, stuffing, gravy, pies and other desserts─can be prepared gluten-free with some minor adjustments. Ready for some inspiration?

Let’s start with salads, which generally tend to be safe─minus the croutons of course─as long as dressings are gluten-free. Fortunately, these are increasingly available in stores and markets. You can also make your own. Find recipes for Raspberry Vinaigrette, Mediterranean Mint Tea Dressing, Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, Green Goddess, and many more here: http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/soupsandsalads/a/10-Homemade-Gluten-Free-Salad-Dressing-Recipes.htm

For appetizers, why not consider Fig, Brie and Rosemary Bites, Crab-Stuffed Deviled Eggs, or Roasted Pumpkin Bisque? If you want to venture beyond turkey as far as your entrée, you might try Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry-Orange Glaze, Braised Chicken with Fennel and Apples, Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach and Pine Nuts, Roasted Poblanos with Creamy Shrimp Stuffing─or Shepherd’s Pie for the gluten-free vegetarian.

Elegant side dishes could include Green Beans with Pecans and Clementine Dressing, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Macadamia Nuts, Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins, Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips, or Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries.

Now, how about some gluten-free desserts to conclude the feast? Imagine guests delving into Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze, Frosted Spiced Cupcakes, or A Fresh Take on Apple Pie? This entire array of recipes─and many more─can be found here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/recipes/glutenfree.php

With a little exploration, you’ll see that delicious, healthy, gluten-free options abound. Happy, healthy celebrating!

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