Ask A Peninsula Chef: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

November 13, 2013 4:00 AM

(credit: Pamela Keith)

(credit: Pamela Keith)

Photo Credit: Pamela Keith


Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion for friends and family to gather together and enjoy a wonderful meal with all the trimmings. But for people who have a gluten intolerance, this American holiday can be especially challenging when traditional Thanksgiving foods like biscuits, turkey stuffing, creamy salad dressings and pumpkin pie are among their food choices. In an effort to reasonably accommodate all guests in attendance, party hosts should know in advance if someone has a food allergy such as a gluten sensitivity.

Pamela Keith
(650) 652-6500

Acclaimed Peninsula chef Pamela Keith, a classically trained chef and owner of CuisineStyle in Burlingame, is an expert in the culinary arts, whose impressive resume includes a grand-diplome from the prestigious Ritz-Escoffier École de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris, work in Michelin-starred restaurants, Culinary Director and Resident Chef/Instructor for Draeger’s and a long list of clients resembling a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies. The following are three of her extraordinarily delicious recipes for a gluten-free Thanksgiving. CuisineStyle recently launched a new product line of packaged, gluten-free cheese puffs, available at Draeger’s Supermarkets in the frozen section./p

Warm Star Anise Spice-Poached Pears
Yield: 4 servingsIngredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 Bosc pears, peeled, stem intact


  1. Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan and high heat, add water, vinegar, sugar and spices to the pan. Whisk the mixture until the sugar has dissolved, then reduce heat to a simmer.

  2. Submerge the pears in the liquid and cook until just tender, about 45 minutes. A knife should slip easily through the fruit. Remove pears from the cooking liquid. When cool enough to handle, slice 1/4 inch from the bottom of the pear so that it sits upright on a plate. Serve warm or chilled with your favorite sauce, ice cream or sorbet.

Wild Rice, Dried Cherry and Almond Stuffing
Yield: 8 to 10 servingsIngredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • l carrot, peeled, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled, finely diced
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, heated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large sauté pan, using medium flame, heat the butter and add the carrot, celery and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

  2. Stir in the wild rice, almonds, almond extract, cherries and herbs. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through and the flavors marry, about 10 minutes. During that time, in small portions, add the chicken broth to the rice mixture, stirring it in with each addition, until the stuffing clings together. Season with salt and pepper and cool completely before stuffing the turkey.

Related: Holiday Recipes from Peninsula Chefs

Rosemary and Dijon Mustard Encrusted Pork Tenderloin
With Warm Spinach, Sun Dried Tomato, Pine Nut and Sherry Vinaigrette Salad
Yield: 4 servingsIngredients:

  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 12 oz. each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bag prewashed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped olive oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted*
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Tuck the thin, narrow end of the pork tenderloin underneath the loin. If desired, you or your butcher can truss the whole tenderloin with cotton kitchen string for even shape. Season the pork with salt and pepper.

  2. In a bowl, combine the rosemary, mustard and sugar. Using medium high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil to an oven-proof sauté pan. Add the tenderloins, searing on all sides until golden brown. Remove the pork from the pan. When it’s cool enough to handle, rub the rosemary mixture on the surface. Put the pork back in the pan and place in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until an instead-read thermometer reads 155 degrees.

  3. For the spinach salad, use a large sauté pan and medium high heat. Add three tablespoons of olive oil and the spinach leaves, turning frequently until the leaves are just wilted. Add the sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. To serve, slice the pork into one-inch thick medallions. Serve with the warm spinach salad.

*To toast pine nuts, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until very light golden brown and fragrant with nut oil, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on

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