Gluten-free holiday: 5 gluten-free holiday sides

From stuffing to dinner rolls to casseroles, the holiday season is full of temptations that aren’t on the menu for those with gluten sensitivities. Luckily, there are lots of options for delicious gluten-free holiday dishes that are perfect for those with and without allergies alike. From warm winter vegetables to hearty grains, there are plenty of ingredients to make tasty holiday dishes that are healthy and delicious!

Start with soup. A hearty soup is a great gluten-free appetizer to get the party started. Try a warm butternut squash soup or hearty minestrone for a yummy dish that provides a serving of vegetables with no worries about allergies. My soups are always dairy-free and gluten-free, so they’re a great choice when you have several dietary needs to accommodate. 

Here is one of my favorite holiday soups: Dairy-free cream of carrot soup with almond croutons. 

This warm winter soup is perfect for accompanying any holiday meal and is one of my favorite recipes of all times. The sweet and creamy carrot soup is contrasted with savory and crunchy almond croutons so every bite is bursting with texture and flavor. Cozy herbs like sage and tarragon make this a great dish for a holiday meal. 

Go for the gluten-free grains. Stuffing is a classic holiday side. Traditional stuffing recipes are loaded with bread, but there are lots of ways to make tasty stuffing dishes using gluten-free breadcrumbs or healthy gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet or buckwheat. Add dried fruit, chopped raw nuts, fresh herbs, mushrooms and fruit like apples and pears for a sweet and savory stuffing that’s full of flavor and nutrients. Check out my crash course to a gluten-free Thanksgiving for six tasty stuffing combinations like Pear Walnut and Mushroom and Herb. 

Load up on veggies. There are endless vegetable-based sides that will surely keep you from going hungry. A colorful array of produce will also make for a beautiful table of food. Try roasting fresh veggies like Brussels sprouts, squash, green beans, asparagus and tomatoes. Most veggies can be roasted with olive oil and spices for an easy dish. A big salad is another great way to ensure plenty of gluten-free food. Acorn squash is one of the best winter vegetables. It’s so full of warm rich flavor that all you need is a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of garlic for an out of this world dish that’s perfect for a winter feast.

Don’t forget fruits. While veggies tend to be more common at holiday meals, there are lots of fruit dishes that also make great sides. The natural sweetness of fruits is the perfect way to complement the other savory dishes in your feast. To accent you dinner with sweeter sides, try homemade cranberry sauce or cooked pears or apples with cinnamon. Another way to incorporate fruit into your meal is with a grain salad like a cranberry quinoa salad. This dish offers a light option to pair perfectly with bold holiday dishes like meats and roasted vegetables

Pass the sweet potatoes. Toss the white potatoes and add nutritious sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are another great gluten-free side dish for the holidays. Whether you like them mashed with maple syrup and pecans or stuffed with quinoa and black beans, these tasty and nutritious starches are a food the whole family can enjoy. For an even healthier dish, add pureed cauliflower and squash. Mashing isn’t the only way to prepare sweet potatoes. Try this sweet potato and quinoa soup for a healthy side that combines grains and vegetables for tons of flavor and nutrition. 

Don’t forget to relax. Eating with food allergies and intolerances like gluten or dairy can be stressful, especially when dining with large groups of people. If a recipe you create doesn’t wow your taste buds, don’t fret- there are loads of other recipes out there, and everything tastes better with practice. During dinner, stick to the dishes you know are gluten-free so you can feel good and spend the day focusing on friends and family.

Amie Valpone is a celebrity chef and nutrition expert who healed herself from a decade of chronic illness. She is the author of the new cookbook Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body and the founder of Amie has been featured in numerous magazines and TV. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.