Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Dairy Free Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away, and most us of are already planning either our menu or where we are going to spend the day. For those of us with food intolerances or allergies, this can turn into a rather difficult challenge. Most holiday food, especially for gatherings, has a lot of dairy in it that is both hidden and obvious. If you are playing hostess for the day, trying to decide what to serve non dairy-free people can be tough, especially if they are used to eating all things with cream, milk, butter, and cheese.

This year we are going to be spending the day with my parents. It's no secret that Thanksgiving is my Mom's holiday in our family. She hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, I get Christmas Day. It works out very well. Ever since I was a kid she always made the dinner, and it was/is always absolutely delicious. My favorite smell (other than the smell of my babies) is walking into her house on Thanksgiving Day. It takes me back to my childhood every time.

~Thanksgiving a few years ago~

There have been a few years in my adulthood that we haven't spent Thanksgiving with my parents, but not many. Usually the years they go to visit my brother and his family we spend the day with my in-laws, and I host at our house. But even the few years we have been on our own, I have stuck with her traditional menu. Last year we hosted friends of ours from South Africa who had never celebrated Thanksgiving. They brought a few of their traditional foods to share, such as Bobotie and a Trifle. We watched the Macy's parade, made Shirley Temples for the girls, drank mimosas, and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. This year they have taken our holiday back to South Africa with them and are sharing the day with friends of theirs who also used to live in the States.

~Last year's Thanksgiving~

Mom and I have come up with our traditional Thanksgiving menu this week so we can get our shopping done early. My oldest has also picked out the centerpiece she wants to make.

What we have to look forward to:
*denotes what I am bringing

~Veggies and a dairy free sour cream dip*. (this dip is a tradition in our family- Mom has been making it for years, and luckily I have figured out a way to make it dairy free. I will share the super simple recipe in a later post)
~Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Dip*
~Mini Crab Cakes*

~Fresh- not frozen- Turkey: simply oven roasted, not stuffed (takes longer and dries out the breast meat)
~Mom's homemade Stuffing. So simple, yet SO GOOD.
~Mashed Potatoes
~Mashed Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Nutmeg*
~Roasted Acorn Squash (Recipe will be posted after Thanksgiving)
~Green Bean Casserole*
~Candied Yams
~Sweet Potato Cornbread*
~Mom's Homemade Cranberry Orange Relish (recipe will be posted)
~Dinner Rolls
~Stuffed Celery Plate*
~Pickle and Olive Platter

~Apple Pie
~Sweet Potato Pie*
~Pumpkin Pie*
~Pumpkin cupcakes

Of course we will also have wine with dinner, coffee or tea with dessert.

That's a lot of food and we are definitely going to have leftovers! Luckily it will be cooked between 2 kitchens. Seems like a lot of work, but between Mom, Dad, David, and myself we get it all done very efficiently. This year my oldest is also very excited to get to help make dinner. Last year she got to help make dessert.

So there you have it- our Dairy Free Thanksgiving. Just because you are Dairy Free does not mean you have to miss out on a good meal. And it does not mean you need to spend hours slaving over a meal of fancy or strange dishes that dairy loving people may not like. You can have a simple, elegant, comforting, delicious meal and no one will ever even know you cook without dairy. Sometimes simple is better.

What is on your Dairy Free Thanksgiving table this year?

Happy Cooking this Thanksgiving!!


  1. So, all of those dishes you listed are dairy free? would you be willing to share links to recipes. my son is very allergic to dairy and so he can't even attend our big family thanksgiving but i'd love to make a few things here at home for us to share with him. i would esepcially love to hear if you have a dairy free pumpkin pie you love?

  2. Yes! Every single thing on our table will be dairy free. I linked to a few on my blog already (I used to be able to use small amounts of butter, but now I can't so on some recipes use Earth Balance instead), but most don't have recipes online. I just haven't had a chance to blog them yet. I can tell you how to make the items you are interested in if you would like. :-)
    I do have a dairy free pumpkin pie. I will make it this weekend (we love pie!) and post it for you:-)
    We can also chat back and forth on my FB page if that's easier. Any way can help just let me know!