My family loves Thanksgiving, and even with my daughter Alex's food allergies, we love Thanksgiving foods. With a little bit of tweaking, it is absolutely possible to have an allergy-friendly Thanksgiving feast:
Turkey. We use Alton Brown's recipe for roast turkey. Not only is it delicious, it is also free of the eight most common food allergens. There is no stuffing in the bird, which is great because that's often an obstacle for food allergies.
Mashed Potatoes. My husband, Jonathan, makes the most delicious garlic mashed potatoes. The most important ingredients, garlic and potatoes, are extremely allergy-friendly. He also has tweaked his recipe to completely eliminate cream, so that's good for those suffering with dairy allergies. If there's usually butter in your recipe, Fleischmann's makes a good dairy and soy free butter that is available at Sendik's.
Corn. This is a staple of my family's Thanksgiving feast. My daughter Wendy could make an entire meal out of corn. We prepare this very simply; we just cook frozen sweet corn with a little water over medium-high heat until it's thawed. Then, for an allergy-friendly side, we add dairy and soy-free butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Green Beans. Green bean casserole is delicious, but it's a roadblock for those suffering from dairy and wheat allergies (French fried onions sold in stores often either contain or are cross-contaminated with wheat.) In order to get the same great taste of green bean casserole, you can saute some green beans in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. In the meantime, fry some sliced onions. Top the green beans with the onions and enjoy!
Stuffing. Our challenge with stuffing is usually egg. But it's pretty easy to avoid adding an egg to stuffing because its only purpose is as a binder. Bread is a little trickier to avoid; one solution to this problem is to use a different grain, such as rice. This rice stuffing with apples, herbs, and bacon is a delicious allergy-friendly option.
Cranberry Sauce. It isn't difficult at all to provide this Thanksgiving meal staple in an allergy-friendly manner. In our house, we actually just crack open a can of the jellied stuff because it's just so delicious and sweet and nostalgic. But, if you're into homemade, here's a great recipe that is very simple – just orange, cranberries, and sugar.
Bread. Bread is definitely tricky for those with wheat allergies. It can be difficult for those with egg allergies too, but I use a great egg-free bread recipe that Alex loves – While Wendy's eating her nothing-but-corn Thanksgiving feast, Alex could be right next to her, scarfing up only this bread. There are options for those with wheat allergies too; here's an example of a similar bread recipe that is completely wheat-free.
Dessert. Here's where we usually run into trouble when we're eating outside of the house. Trusting baked goods when you have allergies is just so difficult; even if you do your best to leave out the actual allergens, cross-contamination is a scary reality. May I offer a delicious alternative that achieves all the wonderful flavors of the holiday season without any of the top eight allergens? Baked apples – just load those babies up with lots of brown sugar, cinnamon, and dairy and soy-free butter, bake till bubbly, and you won't even miss the pie!
Amy Schwabe is the editor of Metroparent, and has been cooking without eggs and nuts for the past eight years.