A merry little gluten-free Christmas: savoury suggestions

Just because you have food intolerances doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious festive food.

The festive season comes with many traditional foods that are laden with gluten. All of those cakes, pies and stuffings can leave someone who has food intolerances in great pain and discomfort. 

While going to festive events is great fun, having to be continuously aware of what you put into your mouth can make it an exhausting time of year.

“It’s harder because with more socialising and celebrating, comes more eating out of the home. Eating out usually means we have less control of what goes in to our food- and this can make things trickier for people with food intolerances,” says dietician Rosalyn D’Angelo

In days gone by having a gluten-intolerance or being coeliac may have meant you only get to nibble on lettuce at parties, but now there are many options and recipes that cater for everyone. 

While bread, pastry and crackers are quite obviously heavy on the gluten someone with intolerances also needs to be aware of the hidden sources such as gravies, stuffings, crumbed food and croutons.

“Ask the host what went in to making the dish. If that’s not possible, stick to fresh, unprocessed whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, fresh fish and meat and dairy- these foods are less likely to contain gluten. If it is a “BYO plate” situation- bring a gluten free option so that at the very least, you know you can safely eat the dish you’ve prepared,” says D’Angelo.

Try these gluten free recipes this festive season.

Smoked Salmon Roll Ups

Gluten free salmon rolls
Difficulty: medium
Makes 14
  • 200g smoked salmon
  • 200g light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
  1. Place softened cream cheese into a bowl and add lemon zest and dill. Add a crack of black pepper and mix well.
  2. Put cubed avocado into a separate bowl with lemon juice, onion and capers. Mix gently to combine and coat avocado in lemon juice.
  3. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and spread your salmon out on a long layer. Try to create even coverage for your base.
  4. Gently spoon the cream cheese onto half of the salmon and spread evenly using a spatula. You will need to be light handed so as not to tear the salmon.
  5. Place a strip of avocado mix next to the cream cheese and then using the plastic wrap roll the salmon up tightly into a long sausage.
  6. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours. Remove from fridge, slice into round and serve with a garnish of picked dill.

Herby roast chicken with wild rice and cranberry stuffing

Gluten free roast chicken
This stuffing can also be used for a turkey. Cook your turkey as per instructions on packaging.
Difficulty: easy
Serves 4-6
For the chicken 
  • 1 chicken
  • 2 spring rosemary, picked
  • 5 sprigs thyme, picked
  • olive oil

For the stuffing 

  • 1 tablespoon wild rice
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ½ stalk celery, diced
  • ½ small brown onion, diced
  • 5 sprigs thyme, picked
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cranberries
  • Place wild rice and quinoa in saucepan with ¾ cup boiling water and place on a low heat until water has absorbed and wild rice is cooked (about 20 minutes.)
  • Place celery, onion, lemon, herbs and cranberries into a bowl, and add cooked quinoa and rice. Season and mix well to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Place chicken on a roasting tray. Using a mortar and pestle or the butt of a heavy knife, bash your herbs to release their oils. Cover chicken with herbs, rub with a generous splash of olive oil and season well.
  • Pop into oven and cook for about one and a half hours depending on chicken. Chicken is ready when you pierce the thigh joint and the liquid is nice and clear.
  • Serve with your favorite festive sides.
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