If there's any food tougher to avoid than turkey on Thanksgiving, it's grains. From flaky pie crusts, to starchy stuffings, to butter-smeared dinner rolls—grains certainly play the supporting role on the big bird's big day.
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But if you subscribe to a Paleo or other grain-free lifestyle, you're not destined for food envy. William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly Total Health offers up grain-free holiday swaps that'll hit the spot:
Seasonal Swap: Coconut flour instead of wheat flour or corn starch.
You can still create a thick and satisfying gravy without resorting to processed grains (try this homemade gravy recipe), but be conservative when you're adding it to the pan. "Too much too soon will yield a too-thick end result," says Davis. Stir drippings or broth over low-heat, adding in one teaspoon every minute or so. "This allows the unique hygroscopic (water-absorbent) action of the coconut flour to work," he says. Season with pepper, salt, thyme, and other herbs to add flavor and mask any traces of coconut flavor that can sneak through.
Seasonal Swap: Cauliflower instead of bread crumbs.
Steaming cauliflower and then pulsing it in your food processor or food chopper will make a healthy, grain-free base for your turkey dressing. "Unlike conventional dressings that send blood sugar sky-high, a cauliflower version has zero unhealthy implications," says Davis. Bake or stir over medium-heat in a skillet and add mushrooms (porcini is Davis's pick because of its unique flavors), sausage (be sure to cook thoroughly), and herbs of your choice.
Seasonal Swap: Pecans instead of graham crackers or wheat flour.
Ground pecans make a super satisfying grain-free base for your favorite pie fillings. An egg, your favorite fat (coconut oil or organic butter are good choices), and a bit of cinnamon will make a dough that you can form by hand into a crust, then bake after you add your filling. "I like to add a teaspoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder, as well, to add a little interesting dimension to the crust," says Davis.