A Wheat Belly Thanksgiving

I’m hoping that we are all looking forward to a wonderfully healthy and slender wheat-free Thanksgiving. So here are some ideas to point you in the right direction.

Let’s start with a recipe for wheat-free Thanksgiving dressing, followed by a method of making gravy without wheat flour using coconut milk and coconut flour.






Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing

This dressing is heavier than the usual bread-based dressing or stuffing. Because it contains meat, it should not be stuffed into the turkey to cook, as this will not ensure a sufficiently high temperature. While this works best as a two-step process–stove top to oven–if time-pressed, you could just cook on the stove top a bit longer.

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound pork sausage, preferably loose ground
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces Portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
4 ounce can/jar roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground tarragon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring approximately 12 ounces water to a boil in sauce pan. Toss in porcini mushrooms and turn heat down to maintain below boiling. Stir every couple of minutes for 20 minutes.

In deep sauce pan, saute sausage (if encased, remove from casing) in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with celery and onions, until sausage cooked. Drain excess oil. Place sauce pan back on low heat. Break cauliflower into small florets and add to sausage mix. Toss in drained porcini mushrooms along with approximately 4 ounces of the porcini broth (save remainder of broth to make gravy; below), remainder of olive oil, green pepper, roasted red pepper, Portabella mushrooms, flaxseed. Add onion powder, sage, thyme, tarragon, salt and black pepper and stir.

Transfer to baking dish and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes.


Wheat-free gravy
If you follow the recipe for Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing (above), you should have around 8 ounces of porcini mushroom broth left over. This adds a wonderful mushroomy-meaty flavor to the gravy, a deeper character not usually found in standard gravies. Thickness is obtained without wheat, cornstarch, or other carbohydrate-rich thickener by use of coconut flour and coconut milk.

Because the quantity of drippings obtained will vary widely, depending on the size of your turkey, ingredient quantities are not specified. Rely on taste as you prepare your gravy to gauge ingredient quantity.

Turkey drippings
Coconut milk
Coconut flour
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Sea salt

Heat drippings in the roasting pan or poured into a sauce pan on stove at low-heat. Pour in coconut milk slowly, stirring, until desired color is achieved. Gravy should be opaque, rather than translucent. Stir in coconut powder, 1 teaspoon at a time, waiting at least one minute before adding another teaspoon, until desired thickness is achieved.

Add onion powder, garlic powder, and sea salt to taste.

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Comments & Feedback...

      • dale

        There’s no coconut oil in the recipe – it’s coconut flour and coconut milk – which I would think would add some coconut flavor?

      • JoJo

        Refined coconut oil would be a bad fat. You want organic cold pressed coconut oil. Otherwise you are dealing with trans fats with the refined coconut oil.

    • It didn’t in my test.
      Coconut flour does not taste like coconut, while coconut milk can taste lightly of coconut. However, I believe that the added ingredients like onion powder and garlic tend to dominate.

      You might try tasting your brand of coconut milk (unsweetened, of course!) before using to be sure it is not strongly coconut but, having tried at least half dozen different brands, I have yet to encounter one that was strongly coconutty.

      • Nancy

        Thanks, I just tasted my coconut flour and was surprised to find that the flavor is very mild. I will give this recipe a trial run tomorrow and report my results!

  1. Well, well, I see you’re gathering your resources for the cookbook. Excellent.

    I have a lot to be thankful for, but you are right there in the top tier, just after my new car, my new pad, and my new life. It’s amazing what changes kicking wheat can bring when we’re open to them. I would have never believed any of this would be possible just 90 days ago.

    As I’ve said before Dr. Davis, thank you for my life.

    • Thanks, James!

      And I hope the recipes allow you and I to have a nice happy holiday–no moodiness, mental “fog” and diarrhea to spoil the occasion!

  2. Janne

    I am also wondering about coconut flour & milk leaving a taste. I am having a terrible time with my husband not wanting coconut and I think it’s the taste.

    • You could try just the coconut flour, Janne, without the coconut milk. Coconut flour does not taste like coconut; it smells like freshly-baked cake.

  3. AllisonK

    Interesting that this thanksgiving (I’m in Canada, so we had it in october) was the first one ever that I didn’t feel the need for a nap after. So while my parents and siblings went off for a nap, I had fun playing with my son.
    I avoided the stuffing and the potatoes and gravy. Everybody thinks it’s this chemical(tryptophan??) in the turkey that makes you tired, but really it’s all the bread!
    My question for you is how much contamination do you think would be in a turkey slow roasted with bread stuffing inside? Just a guess, I’m sure you’ve never measured it. And how much contamination do you think might be in the turkey drippings to make gravy?

    • Anne

      A turkey stuffed with bread would need to be avoided if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The cross contamination is too big of a risk. The gravy would be very contaminated from a stuffed turkey. When I use to make gravy from drippings there was always bread in the bottom of the pan that I stirred into the gravy.

    • Iva

      I always thought it was the turkey making me tired after a meal, too. This will be our first Thanksgiving that will be gluten free as a family. (My husband eventually wants to lower carbs, but since he was instructed by his doctor to cut out gluten, we are focusing on this first. We will add the lower carbs as we get more accustomed to the gluten-free lifestyle).

      Something else I thought was funny about this over previous years was the fact that in previous years, I would LIVE for the Thanksgiving holiday because of food. It was all about the food. Heck, even a month ago, I was talking about all the delicious foods. But now that we’re going gluten-free, I’m finding that I’m not quite as excited about the food (which is as it should be – Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the many blessings we all have, not food.)

      Over all, I just find that I don’t THINK about food as much as I used to. And the fact that I had a bad episode a couple of days ago when the family and I had some left over cheesecake from my son’s birthday (we’ve only been gluten-free for just over a week), I think the pain is enough to keep me from being tempted from my old favorites – because believe me, I am NOT tempted! Pain is a huge motivator!

    • Great, Allison!
      Yes, the part about tryptophan is funny. As always, we’ve all been misled in what foods we should blame.

      Wheat contamination from the bread stuffing is likely only an issue for the most gluten-sensitive, not for most people. It sounds like you did okay. The gravy might be a different story and likely had substantial residues.

  4. Jeff

    As an alternative, gravy can also be thickened with konjac flour (shirataki noodle flour) available from http://www.miraclenoodle.com: “Use it as a thickener as you would corn starch, one teaspoon acts more like 10 teaspoons of corn starch. Add to gravy or soup or cooking sauces as a thickening agent without calories, without carbs, just added soluble fiber…”
    It is rather xpensive, as “flours” go, but so little is used for gravy thickening that it seemed worth it for me.

    • Thanks, Jeff.

      Yes, use very sparingly, else you will have solid gravy! Also, xanthan gum and guar gum can work, but also use very sparingly.

      I thought the coconut flour would be the most available and is easiest to use, but the others also work.

  5. Sharon

    I have been using coconut flour and milk in recipes and I do not taste the coconut. I bought it from Tropical Traditions on sale. I have found that I am allergic to flax seed and sesame seed. Could you substitute chia seed or xanthum gum instead. This looks great.

  6. Debbie Odowichuk

    Dear Dr. Davis: I am in the middle of your book ‘Wheat Belly’ and am intrigued. I have been off sugar for about a month and off wheat for a week. Happy that I found this site for the recipes and information. I am not writing for myself but my daughter. She is 34 years old and has suffered with diahrrea since birth. This past September she spent a week in the hospital trying to stop the diahrrea and keep from dehydrating. She has tried everything known to man and has been off wheat for quite sometime with no noticeable change other than she has more energy. I suspect that she has Celiac disease and has had from birth. Why hasn’t she seen a difference since going off wheat? She has kept a detailed diary of all of her treatments and medications and since September she has been on prednisone and is just weening off that, because, as I am sure you already know, it has stopped working for her. She saw her GI specialistyesterday and they were considering putting her on immuno suppressent drugs, but they decided to try her on yet another ASA medication, in pill form, that will probably not be absorbed and takes 3 months before noticing any relief. We are fearful as this last bout in hospital scared here alot. I don’t know how else to contact you and hope to hear back from you. If you feel you could help we would be forever grateful. If we need to fly down to see you, I would do my best to facilitate that. Thank you for your time and consideration.
    My daughters name is Elisha.

  7. Hi, Debbie–
    This is a tough issue, i.e., only partial response to wheat-elimination in someone with either extreme gastrointestinal wheat intolerance and/or celiac disease.

    Issues to consider:
    1) Dysbiosis–i.e., disruption in bacterial count or type. This is a crucial question.
    2) Pancreatic insufficiency–The disruption of duodenal signaling to the pancreas and/or direct injury to the pancreas needs to be assessed.
    3) Hidden wheat residues, e.g., in medications, should be sought.
    4) Other intolerances–e.g., lactose, nuts, etc. should be considered.

    This evaluation should be conducted by an informed gastroenterologist. My experience with over 90% of gastroenterologists, however, is that they don’t think about anything that they can’t see with their scopes, just as my colleagues don’t want to be bothered with you unless you need a heart catheterization. This is the sad byproduct of procedures-pay-better-than-thinking. You might consider seeking out a truly diagnostically-oriented gastroenterologist or a functional medicine doctor. Unfortunately, this is so far from my area of expertise that I am not really suited to perform such an evaluation, which requires such things as stool exams.

  8. Heather

    I was reading the gravy recipe and noting the comments and concerns about the coconut milk and flour. Not to mask the flavor but rather to adjust the flavor you could easily add more “poultry seasonings” to the gravy mixture. I have not had coconut milk or flour because like many others I don’t like the flavor. But I could see adjusting seasonings to just about any recipe to enhance the flavors. Of course adding small amounts at a time as you can always add more but it’s a bit harder to take away seasonings if you over do it.

    Many blessings to everyone here who is now happily wheat free!

  9. Jessica

    Each Thanksgiving we make turkey dressing using homemade almond flour bread cut into croutons, tossed with butter and baked in the oven until toasty. We use these croutons in place of wheat croutons and make our otherwise traditional recipe including: onions, celery, mushrooms, butter, chicken broth (GF), sausage, turkey giblets and seasonings to taste. (My hubby is picky about too many veggies in stuffing). It is better tasting than the usual wheat laden stuffing! Here’s the bread recipe I use to for this.Low Carb Gluten Free Bread Recipe
    Almond Meal Bread
    Makes One Loaf
    * 2-1/2 cups almond meal/flour
    * 2 eggs plus egg white from 3rd egg
    * 1 tablespoon baking powder
    * ½ cup melted butter or melted coconut oil
    * ½ cup water
    * ½ tsp. salt

    1. Butter a large loaf pan and set aside
    2. Combine dry ingredients, and whisk together well
    3. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly
    4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean
    5. Allow to cool, and break into chunks or cube for crouton. Allow to dry for about 24 hours before making stuffing.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Anya

      Wow, this sounds really cool! Thanks for posting and sharing this! I have not found anything like this before!

    • Nora

      Jessica–I have a loaf cooking in the oven right now!! Thanks so much. I love stuffing and was just going to do without this year because the commercially made gluten free breads looks so gross. I will think of you and your kindness, while eating my stuffing with my gravy (made with coconut flour) on Thursday!!

    • Iva

      Thank you for this recipe. I haven’t tried commercial GF bread, nor have I tried making my own since slowly weaning my family off gluten these past two weeks. However, since it’s because of my husband that we’re going GF, I will have to see if he’d be willing to try this. If not, we’ll skip dressing complete. Thanks again!

  10. Mary

    As always, Dr. Davis, thank you for your wonderful suggestions and insight to the benefit of us all. As of today, I have been wheat free for 9 months and I have lost 65# without exercising. I also have lost a whopping 20 inches at my waist. I wish I had taken other measurements but alas, that didn’t happen. I did start at a size 22W and now I am a very happy size 12 but my goal is another 35# and to be a healthy, fit and strong, size 8. Since my husband and I found your website one year ago this month, we have convinced our parents to go wheat free so our Thanksgiving will be wheat free as well, of course.

    Our Thanksgiving actually won’t be much different than usual since my family is from the South. We’ll have roast turkey, cornbread dressing (substituting the 2Tbs of wheat flour with rice flour makes a velvety smooth cornbread), brussels sprouts w/ pancetta & garlic, green beans w/ mushrooms and carmelized onions (I did find an amazing mushroom soup concentrate at Whole Foods that’s gluten free and very yummy!), roast cubes of butternut squash and sweet potatoes, cauliflower gratin, and for dessert, a pumpkin cheesecake w/ a pecan crust. A few sugary items, yes, but given the diverse group we have, everyone can have a little something that is an extravagant luxury for us. Most importanty absent: my mother’s honey yeast rolls. Maybe some day I’ll try to rework the recipe w/ coconut flour and who knows, it may end up tasting like a Hawaiian sweet bread!

    We all agreed that since we are very stringent w/ the sugar contect we eat that we could indulge in a tiny bit on this day. Trust me, none of us have any desire to return to what we were before! All together, my husband & myself, my mother, my MIL & FIL have lost an amazing 225#! Wow, that’s like a typical football player!

    Again, and always, thank you, Dr. Davis. You have given myself and my family a life that we had not thought we would ever regain. I am truly thankful for your inspiration and courage to fight this very important battle!

    • Iva

      Congratulations, Mary on your husband’s, your parents’ and your success! That is amazing.
      I’ve cut out gluten for just two weeks and the bloat in my belly is GONE. Basically, I went from looking like I was 8 mos pregnant to looking like I’m 5 mos pregnant. (Still depressing considering I’m NOT pregnant, but it’s a start!) Oh, and I’ve lost four pounds! (Husband has lost six, the kids have lost 2 and 3!)

    • Wow, Mary! 20 inches off the waist is truly an incredible feat. Congratulations!

      I think that Thanksgiving is a great day to indulge a bit . . . provided it’s not wheat. While a sugar indulgence has implications for just that moment, wheat indulgences trigger appetite over and over again. So that’s the one thing to be strict about.

      • Mary

        No worries on the wheat front, Dr. Davis. Absolutely none of us ever even WANT to go back to wheat. Living life wheat free is just too good to mess up! Thank you again! (and again, and again, and again…!!!)

  11. mama kass

    I love reading the testimonials from your readers. They are so inspirational . I have been WF for 8 weeks and I have only lost 3lbs. I have not cheated once.. I had my GP send me my last labs. I am on 125mg of levothyroxine, 25mcg of amyltriptoline and 80mg of propranolol daily. My TSH is 1.600 and my freeT4 is 1.77.
    In spite of the lack of weight loss, I feel better than I have in years. and for that I am very grateful. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year because I am going to stay the WF course and not feel like a beached whale after my usual two helpings of everything!

    Thank you for caring Dr Davis. May you and your family have a bountiful and blessed Turkey Day.

    • Thank you, Mama. But there’s no mention of one of the most important measures of all: free T3.

      Can’t neglect it, else there’ll be hell to pay in health consequences.

  12. Louise

    Thank you Dr Davis… So much appreciated.. I will be making these two recipes this year.
    Wondered about a cranberry dish and and pumpkin pie option that would be good for us.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all..

  13. Sue

    I just made the “dressing” and I’m calling it Cauliflower Casserole. It is a delicious meal by itself. I was never a fan of cooked cauliflower but now I feel very lucky to have a recipe that uses it AND is delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Eliza

    Tried the mushroom-cauliflower dressing today and it was fabulous. Rave reviews all round.
    I will never make regular wheat bread stuffing again! Also I made a cranberry salad with sugar free raspberry jello, about 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (first whizzed in the food processor), walnuts, and coconut milk. Also very delicious. Thanks for all the information and encouragement. I love your book that I got on Amazon.

    • Great, Eliza! I’ve made the mushroom-cauliflower dressing twice this week; the leftovers make a great breakfast alongside a fried egg or two.

      I love the cranberries, walnuts, and coconut milk idea.

  15. MFarabo

    Hello. I am very interested in this diet, but I have some questions. In a reply to a comment about thickeners, Dr. Davis suggested using guar or xanthan gum “sparingly.” I’m wondering 1) what he would deem sparing, and 2) why he warns against more frequent use. If possible, reply with citations.

    Thanks again and happy holidays,

    • Hi, MF–

      No citations and not because of unhealthy effects. These thickeners will thicken stuff up excessively if used too freely.

      To be safe, add a small quantity, e.g., 1/2 – 1 teaspoon, and test how it performs.

      • MFarabo

        Hey, thanks for the info! I’ll add a little at a time.

        I emailed your TYP website with a question. Maybe you can field it here? I am wondering if you can point me toward some research demonstrating the link between amylopectin-a and small LDL. I couldn’t find anything on google scholar, but I’m probably just searching clumsily.

        Thanks again!

  16. Rose

    oh man that turkey looks like it’s to die for! YUMMMMMM and I can’t seem to get ENOUGH veggies these days for some reason!

    Thanx Dr. D. for all the recipes! My daughter ordered your cookbook for me for Christmas. I told her it wasn’t ready until the day before Christmas but that was ok. Would be AWESOME to have your autograph in it to!!! :-)