The green grocer


Welcoming gluten-free guests



Dear Green Grocer,

My son is bringing his new girlfriend to Christmas dinner and she’s gluten-free. I think she could be the one, and I’m eager to make a good impression. What should I do?

Confused in the Kitchen

Dear Confused,

First off, don’t be confused! Gluten-free cooking isn’t the esoteric practice it’s made out to be. In fact, it’s likely that some of the dishes you would have served are already gluten-free and can stay on the menu. For example, did you know that all whole fresh meats are gluten-free? So that turkey or ham you had in mind will work beautifully. Additionally, all fruits, vegetables, beans and rice are also gluten-free, so a side of green beans and another side of squash would not only be festive and colorful, but accommodating. 

Since traces of gluten can exist in processed food, it’s smart to read labels, and if you’re unsure about anything just ask a staff member at the co-op before you buy it. And remember, just because you have a gluten-free guest, doesn’t mean every dish on the table has to be gluten-free. Most people with diet restrictions are used to eating creatively and don’t expect their hosts to change an entire menu to accommodate them. Providing at least three different options would fine. 

You could also consider inviting your guest to help you with the meal preparation. Cooking together is a great way to get to know someone and you will be confident that you’re providing something she can eat. (Plus you’ll probably end up with a couple great new recipes for yourself!)

But if you really want to go the extra mile, make the gluten-free dessert below. Not only will your guest be touched that you made the effort, but she’ll probably ask for the recipe as well!


Happy holidays!


The Green Grocer


Upside Down AND Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Pie





1 heaping (and I 

mean heaping) cup 

pecan halves

Olive oil spray


1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled, peeled and 

chunked sweet potato (approximately one 

large sweet potato)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup maple syrup or ¼ cup brown sugar 

plus 1/4 cup milk or nut milk

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. To prepare nut topping, lightly oil or spray a nine-inch glass pie pan. Arrange pecan halves attractively to completely cover bottom of pan (kids love to do this).

3. To prepare filling, mix together remaining ingredients using blender, food processor or mixing bowl and hand mixer until ingredients are fully blended and mixture is smooth and thick. Gently spoon filling into pie pan being careful not to disturb the arrangement of nuts. Cover nuts completely with filling and use a spatula to even out filling surface.

4. Bake 45 minutes, or until blade of sharp knife comes out of filling clean. Remove from oven and cool. When completely cool, run knife around edge of pie pan to release sides. Place a large plate on top of the pie and invert. You now have a lovely sweet potato upside-down pie with a pecan garnished top! Serve plain or with whipped cream.


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