Photo: Jade Lott Photography

Are you trying to think of a delicious allergen-free holiday side dish to make? One of the hardest things to let go of when you’re the parent of a child with a food allergy are those treasured Christmas recipes from your own childhood.

When I was growing up in Georgia, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole were staples on our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. Those were the flavors and smells that I associated with the excitement of Christmas presents and seeing extended family. Those were memories I was excited about sharing with my own children one day. But then, life threw some kinks our way when our oldest son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. All of a sudden I had to re-think those holiday meals … and I’ll admit it, it was depressing to think I wouldn’t be able to share family recipes that had been passed down from my Southern grandmothers and my own mother.

Thankfully, Amber Hunter, owner of Nourish Meal Planning, is no stranger to crafting delicious meals for clients with different dietary needs. With the rise in food allergies and with folks looking for healthier alternatives, she has become adept at tweaking recipes.

For 30A Kids Club she’s modified three classics and made them either vegan, dairy free or gluten free. Even if you don’t have a family member with a food restriction, these are great to make.

Photo: Jade Lott Photography

Sweet Potato Casserole

For the potatoes:
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tsp coconut oil
1 Tsp Vanilla extract  (make sure it is GF)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk

For the topping:
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dates, soaked in warm water for 30 min
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 325
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and cook until tender, approximately 25 minutes.
Carefully drain water. Add coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract.
With a potato masher or hand held blender, carefully start incorporating the cashew milk slowly into the sweet potatoes. Add more or less to get desired consistency. (Should be the consistency of mashed potatoes).
Spray a 8 x 8 Pyrex dish with cooking spray and add the sweet potatoes.

For the topping:

Drain the dates from the water and add to a high speed food processor. Pulse until broken apart. Add to a large bowl.
Add pecans and walnuts to food processor and pulse 3-4 times until they are broken into small pieces.
Add nuts to dates mixture. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Stir. Spoon topping over sweet potatoes.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

4-6 servings. GF, DF & Vegan


Photo: Jade Lott Photography

Green Bean Casserole

1 lb green beans, washed trimmed and cut in half
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms
2 Vidalia onions
4 tablespoons gluten free flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup broth
1/4 cup cashew milk

Preheat oven to 350
Chop onions into very thin slices. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt to onion slices. Put parchment paper onto a cooking sheet and add the onions. Bake for about thirty minutes, turning onions every ten minutes. (Cook and additional 5-10 minutes until onions are crispy).
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place beans in ice cold water.
Heat non stick skillet to medium high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add mushrooms and sautée for approx five minutes until they are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Break up with a wooden spoon while cooking if pieces are too large. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Remove mushrooms and garlic and set aside.
Reheat skillet to medium and add butter. Once butter is melted, add flour until well incorporated into the butter. Slowly whisk in broth and milk until you get desired consistency. The consistency should be pretty thick, similar to cream of mushroom soup. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Turn heat to low and add mushroom mixture and stir.  Add green beans to pan.
Spray an 8×8 Pyrex dish with cooking spray. Add the bean mixture.
Spread onion mixture evenly over the green beans.
Bake for 30 minutes on 350.

4-6 servings. GF

Photo: Jade Lott Photography

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

3 acorn squash
1 pound Italian sausage (make sure Gluten free)
8 oz button mushrooms
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 Tsp sage
1/2 Tsp thyme
1 Tsp rosemary
1 Tsp basil
4 Tbsp pomegranate

Photo: Jade Lott Photography

Preheat oven to 400.
Turn acorn squash on side and carefully cut through the middle with a sharp knife. Cut off stem if not laying flat. Scoop out seeds and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake with open end up for 30 minutes or until soft but not mushy.
Meanwhile, heat skillet to medium high heat. Add sausage and sprinkle with salt. Break apart with wood spoon. Set aside when completely cooked.
Reheat skillet and add about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Add mushrooms, all seasonings and chopped onions and sautee for about ten minutes until soft. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Turn down to medium to prevent burning. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add sausage to the skillet with mushroom mixture.
Turn down oven to 350.
In a baking dish, add softened acorn squash. Spoon in mushroom and sausage mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.
Once slightly cooled, sprinkle pomegranate on top and serve.

6 servings. GF DF

Nourish Meal Planning is a dream come true for busy families. Amber cooks and preps dinners, lunches and snacks for her clientele depending on their dietary preferences. She cooks in your home and stocks your refrigerator with labeled meals for the entire week.