Gluten Free Thanksgiving Side Dish

Sometimes I want to shake up the turkey table a little and introduce a new side dish into our Thanksgiving Feast.  This is a great replacement for stuffing for those that have a gluten and/or dairy intolerance.  I find it adds just a touch of elegance to the festivities. It’s also a fantastic potluck dish during the season of holiday parties.

Basil Polenta
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  1. 3 cups water
  2. 2 cups organic milk (1% or skim) *low sodium vegetable broth can be substituted
  3. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  4. ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1 cup ground yellow cornmeal
  1. In a medium saucepot bring the water, milk, basil, and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal until it is well combined.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir occasionally. Be careful and make sure to reduce your heat because the polenta will bubble like hot lava. Cook for 15 -20 minutes.
  3. Polenta should be the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes, stir in a bit of water if it becomes too thick.
  1. Kitchen Notes: For a vegan meal, use broth for the polenta and omit cheese and use roasted pine nuts as garnish. To roast pine nuts, heat conventional oven to 425 degrees, place pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes; watch carefully not to burn.
The Fresh 20
Italian Mushroom Ragu
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  1. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
  2. 6 ounces of Italian brown mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  3. 4 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  5. 2 – 14.5 ounce cans organic, no salt added diced tomatoes, with liquid
  6. ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
  7. 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  8. 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  9. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  10. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  11. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  12. 2-14.5 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  13. Optional: Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper from the pantry
  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat; once hot add, add in the onions, mushrooms, and spinach. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the garlic, tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt & black pepper, and beans (optional red pepper flakes). Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  1. Serve a scoop of polenta in a shallow bowl topped with mushroom ragu.
The Fresh 20

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