A Thanksgiving Menu that Won’t Hurt (as much)
by Alison Landolt
The holidays can be stressful for everyone, but they can be especially challenging for those of us suffering from endometriosis. The unpredictable pain and fatigue can amplify the pressures of cooking or make it difficult to put on a happy face at family gatherings. Not to mention the uncomfortable questions about weight or fertility. Add in all the inflammatory foods that accompany a Thanksgiving feast and you may not feel like there’s a lot to be thankful for.
Steal back some of that holiday cheer with a little help from your friendos. Whether you’re cooking for the whole family or bringing a dish to the potluck, this recipe roundup provides plenty of endo-friendlier, lower inflammation options that still bring the fall feel. Bonus: some of them can be made ahead of time in case of flare-ups.
Carrot Ginger Soup. Make it this weekend, pop it in the freezer, and take it out to defrost the night before. Heat it up on the stove in minutes. Soup’s on!
Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Salad. Autumn in salad form. Chop everything the night before. Roast the veggies early in the day if you prefer and serve at room temp so you aren’t fighting over oven space.
Ditch the green bean casserole, and make one of these sides instead!
Green Beans with Hazelnuts. Quick, easy, crunchy, and tangy. What soggy casserole?
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Warm Honey Glaze. You haven’t had Brussels sprouts like this! Unless, of course, you follow our FMF posts. ;) Sauce the sprouts at the last minute to keep them from getting soggy.
Sumac Roasted Carrots. Easy peasy.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts. This twofer vegetable and starch dish is a time saver! Just don’t overcrowd your pan.
Cook something other than the typical belly-bloating, blood sugar-raising sides.
Acorn squash and dates are a naturally sweet alternative to sweet potato casserole.
Or go with this pear and sweet potato gratin. Cheese optional.
If you really need your Sweet Potato Casserole fix, this recipe highlights the natural sweetness of the potatoes without any refined sugars.
Skip the cornbread stuffing. Skip the mashed potatoes. Make this indulgent Creamy Pumpkin Polenta instead. Don’t miss your last chance to take advantage of Pumpkin Everything season.
Think Outside the Bird
If a turkey is too much (or not your thing), try one of these meatless mains instead.
Cauliflower steaks are perfect for an intimate, meat-free Thanksgiving dinner. Make the salsa and puree the day before so you just have to sear/roast the steaks the day-of. Recipe makes 2 steaks with plenty of extra puree. If you double the recipe, I suggest that you roast off the extra cauliflower florets instead of doubling the puree.
Sheet Pan Maple Roasted Carrots with Crispy Lentils. Another time-saving twofer combines veggie and protein in one! Make lentils ahead of time for an easier Thanksgiving day.
Don’t tell me this falafel mushroom loaf doesn’t look festive!
GF Oatmeal Cake. This gluten-free brown sugar deliciousness can be made a day or two in advance. Store securely covered at room temperature.
Everyone loves [gf] banana bread. Period.
GF Carrot Cake. I might be biased because it’s my recipe, but this is the best carrot cake ever. You can make it a day or two ahead of time as long as you have room in the fridge. Best served chilled.
And of course, we can’t forget last week’s gluten-free pumpkin cupcake recipe! It’s ok, you can use canned pumpkin.
Tips for a less stressful holiday:
Do as much as you can ahead of time. Most of the veggies in the above recipes can be chopped up and stored in the fridge the day before you intend to cook them. All of the desserts can be made 1-2 days in advance.
Don’t overdo it. Guilty! I always go overboard with holiday cooking. You don’t have to make a million things. If you are hosting, make a few nice dishes you can prep ahead of time and call it a day.
Ask for help. If other people are eating, put them to work.
If you don’t want to go, don’t go. This year, of all years, is the year to stay home. Stay home, stay safe, and keep the pandemic parties to a minimum.
What are your Thanksgiving plans? Let us know in the comments.
Alison Landolt is an EFHou cofounder.