Now that we’ve had snow, it finally feels like December. I can’t believe how quickly the year is flying by.
For many people, the holiday season is one of the most challenging times to be gluten-free. Food is everywhere, and there’s lots of temptation. I’ve shared some of my favorite tips for a balanced and delicious holiday season.
For most of us, it’s important to keep the spirit of the season and enjoy our favorites…just with a new twist.
By now, there are recipes for just about every holiday staple imaginable. But…some of us aren’t all about mixing 5 different gluten-free flours and whipping out the xantham gum. I’ve collected a list of NATURALLY gluten-free desserts over the years—tried and true recipes that aren’t specialty cooking, but just happen to be marvelously, naturally gluten-free.
Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises. A surprising number of chocolates may contain traces of gluten, including Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva and many of the Trader Joe’s options. I’ve got lists of chocolates listed gluten-free here and here.
This list has a range of options, from allergy-friendly, grain-free, low FODMAP, low sugar to completely decadent options. Your call! There are enough options to choose from that you can surely find something that works for your lifestyle/food restrictions that you and your family can enjoy together.
Low FODMAP? I’ve italicized recipes that are FODMAP friendly, or easy to adapt and I’ve also put a bunch of low FODMAP recipes together here. Remember, portions matter.
- Baked apples or apple roses
- Candied orange peel (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Caramelized bananas or Bananas Foster
- Candy canes! Dipped in (dairy free) chocolate or plain (DF, EF, NF)
- Chocolate bark (DF, EF)
- Chocolate Honey Mint Cups
- Chocolate mousse (NF)
- Christmas pudding/plum pudding
- Crème brulee (NF)
- Cheesecake-use any gf cookie crumbs for the crust, or do a crustless cheesecake (NF)
- Chocolates: make your own with a mold or buy
- Chocolate covered: strawberries, cherries, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc. (can be DF or NF)
- Clementines (DF, EF, NF) Of course, they’re more festive when dipped in chocolate 😉
- Clementine cake (DF)
- Custard (NF)
- Dessert soufflé
- Dried fruit (DF, EF, NF)
- Divinity (DF, NF)
- Flourless tortes (use a dairy free version of nutella to make this low FODMAP), and watch portions!
- Fondue, using chocolate and a variety of fruit and GF cookies (DF*, EF, NF)
- Fruit crisp (any gf flour or quinoa flakes for topping) (DF, EF)
- Fruit and whipped cream (EF, SF, NF)
- Fudge (EF)
- Hard candies (DF*, NF*)
- Hot chocolate–or hot vanilla! (EF, NF)
- Ice cream/frozen yogurt (check labels, especially for malt!)
- Jello (DF, EF, NF)
- Mango with sticky rice (DF, EF, NF)
- Marshmallows (DF, NF)
- Marzipan (some say glucose derived from wheat, so beware)
- Meringue cookies (DF, SF, NF)
- Mint Chocolate Egg cream (DF, EF, SF, NF) and low FODMAP
- Nut or seed brittle (DF*, EF)
- Panna Cotta (EF)
- Pavlova (meringue cake) (DF)
- Peanut butter cookies or a nut free, use sunbutter (DF)
- Peanut Butter Fudge (DF, EF, SF)
- Poached pears (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Popcorn clusters or caramel corn (EF)
- Popcorn cake (EF)
- Pralines<–this version is dairy free (EF)
- Pumpkin seeds (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Pudding pie with almond or cookie crumble crust
- Rice pudding ( EF, NF)
- Rice krispie bars using puffed rice (EF)
- Roasted chestnuts. (DF, EF, SF) Not quite dessert, but an amazingly seasonal yummy snack.
- Sorbet (DF, EF)
- Toffee (EF)
- Truffles (EF)
- Watermelon (DF, SF, EF, NF)
Italicized=low fodmap or easy to adapt, dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free) *=check labels
The Washington Post even has a 2017 “Cookie Generator” with a gluten-free option. Of course, you need to make sure the ingredients are be mindful of cross contamination, etc. but this is an easy way to keep traditions without venturing into specialty flours and unfamiliar territory.
My personal favorites? My Bittersweet Chestnut Fudge and my Vegan Pralines.
And for my low FODMAP friends, here’s a round-up of low FODMAP holiday desserts. Just watch the portion sizes.
Oh, right, and there’s holiday food, too. I’ve got a G-Free Turkey and Ham list.
More recipes from around the web:
- A roundup from the Food Network of Holiday Favorites
- A roundup of gluten-free favorites on GFE & Gluten-free Homemaker
- Holiday appetizers from Gluten-Free Easily
- Gluten and grain free options from Genius Kitchen
- The Dec 2017 issue of Simply Gluten-Free is online and in stores. It has many beautiful recipes!
- Cookies & desserts from Elana’s Pantry
- 25 Christmas cookies from Only Taste Matters
- 20 Gluten-Free recipes from The Kitchn
- Jules Shepard hosts a g-free cookie swap, where you can get a ton of ideas, or enter to win prizes. Or you can just ogle the pictures. 😉
- 50 gluten-free & grain free holiday desserts from Gormande
- G-Free Kid has a PDF of holiday favorites
- Some Paleo Christmas treats from Paleo Parents
- Gluten Free Girl and the Chef has a great selection of cookies
- A gargantuan Home for the Holidays from GFE and many others
- Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Christmas recipes
- 25 days of Christmas from Gluten Free Easily
- Celiac Family’s Favorites
- Gluten and Dairy free Holiday tips from Gluten Free Goddess
- Christmas Cookie Roundup (from my cookie exchange)
- Christmas cookie roundup from Ginger Lemon Girl & I’d also recommend her GF 101 Cooking e-book!
Wishing you a peaceful & joyful season!
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax, VA. She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, digestive issues, food allergies, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great! Email or call 571-271-8742.