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4 Gluten-Free Holiday Side Dishes

Melissa Roja Lawlor
Nov. 1, 2012

Chef Amy Fothergill shares different versions of traditional recipes as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Everyone knows there are lots of treats around the holidays. Amy Fothergill's philosophy is simple; prepare something that tastes great and has a healthy spin. Adults love her food, and kids dig it too -- she works hard to make sure her recipes are healthy and kid-friendly without sacrificing the adult palate.

Fothergill knows quite a bit about serving a great meal with something for everyone. After 25 years of cooking experience, the chef and blogger at Amy the Family Chef has developed quite a few recipes for every kind of eater -- including the gluten-free kind!

She shared with us four great recipes for kids and adults alike, gluten-free and not! Check out her spin on these fun and fresh holiday foods!


This spicy garlic shrimp is a great dish over pasta and a fun spin on a traditional seafood dish for Christmas Eve dinner.

Makes 4-6 servings


1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if your family does not like spicy food)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dry white wine or fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley for garnish


  1. In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and then the shrimp. Stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly, until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, red pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes or until wine begins to cook off.
  3. Turn off heat and immediately add butter. Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve over pasta.

There's nothing like a good mashed potato recipe -- make it a bit more nutritious with cauliflower. Unless the potatoes are very large, is 1 potato per person and 1/2 of a potato per child. If you want leftovers, use more.

Makes 4-6 servings


1 pound (about 3-4) Russett potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in quarters (you can optionally leave the skin on if you are short on time; just make sure to wash well)
About ½ head of cauliflower (or 1 small head), chopped
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4-1/2 cup milk (whole works best but you can use any type)


  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes and cauliflower with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and cover. Bring to boil and lower to a simmer.
  2. Cook until both the cauliflower and potato are fork-tender and drain, leaving a little liquid in the pot.
  3. To the drained potatoes and cauliflower, add butter, pepper and 1/4 cup of the milk and mash well. To make extra fluffy, whip with the masher or blend with a hand mixer. Add more milk as needed.
  4. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or butter if needed. If mixture is too thick, add more milk.

Tip: Cutting the cauliflower smaller than the potatoes means that they will cook in about the same time. Otherwise, the potatoes will become mushy before the cauliflower is done.

Variation: Dairy-free/Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Substitute 3-4 tablespoons butter substitute or olive oil for the butter. Use plain unsweetened milk substitute like soy or coconut milk for the regular milk.

To keep the fat and sugar down, try pumpkin muffins (which could also be called cupcakes)! This is a winning recipe, whether you make it regular or gluten-free.

Makes 12-16 muffins

Dry Ingredients

2 cups Amy's Gluten-Free Flour Blend or regular all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if not making gluten-free)
1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
1/2 -3/4 cup organic sugar or other natural sweetener
1 tsp vanilla
OPTIONAL: 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans and/or raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line muffin pans with paper cups or grease tins generously. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs. Add the pumpkin, butter or oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently.
  4. Portion out regular or mini muffins into pan 2/3 full. Bake regular muffins for 20-25 minutes or mini muffins for 12-16 minutes.

    Tip: Always test muffins 1-2 minutes before the recommended time in case your oven is hotter than normal. For regular muffins, insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin. When it comes out dry with some crumbs, it is done.

    For gluten-free muffins, instead of using a toothpick to test for doneness, press your finger into the muffin. When it springs back, it's done. If it leaves an indentation, continue to bake and test in 1-2 minute intervals.

  5. Once done, allow muffins to cool for about 2-3 minutes and then remove from the pan.

If you're gluten-free, it's time to treat yourself! This gluten-free recipe for brownies is melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.

Makes 1 8" x 8" pan (approx. 16 brownies)


4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup oil, melted coconut oil, or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar (or brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8" x 8" square baking pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate with the oil or butter either in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave. If you use the microwave, make sure to stir every 30 seconds until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, agave nectar, eggs, vanilla, and salt, whisking until they are mixed together. Finally, pour in the chocolate mixture and stir, carefully, with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has become smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out slightly wet. Be careful not to overcook.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate bar
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and stir with a whisk or fork until well mixed. Use immediately. Spread over brownies.

> All recipes have been republished with permission from AmytheFamilyChef.com

Get more family-friendly recipe ideas in our Care.com Interview Series: 16 Easy Holiday Recipes That I Would Actually Eat »

Amy Fothergill is a chef and author of the blog Amy the Family Chef. She resides in California with her husband and two children, and specializes in making delicious regular and gluten-free meals. She just released an e-cookbook called Your Gluten-Free Holiday Meal. You can also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos used with permission from Amy Fothergill.

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