My husband's side of the family enjoys a traditional Christmas brunch. This year we are planning on joining them — and it's an event we are all looking forward to. I am making sure I cook plenty of gluten- and dairy-free options for my daughter. With a higher prevalence of food allergies and intolerances, many are doing the same across our country.
Admittedly, I could run to our local store and pick up a wide variety of packaged products that would fit the bill of being gluten- and dairy-free — but the vast majority of these products aren’t very healthy. For example, there are gluten-free cinnamon rolls near me, but they contain even worse ingredients than a normal cinnamon roll! I’d rather make nutritious, allergy-free food. If you are in the same place as me, here are my tips and recipe ideas for a gluten- and dairy-free brunch.
We are big egg fans around here. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, easy to make, and well-liked by us. We like them scrambled, fried and poached. For a special occasion, adding in bits of bacon, diced tomatoes and a little green onion is nice in scrambled eggs.
Baked eggs are delicious as well. The concept is easy. Butter six ramekins and pour in 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (or heavy cream, for those who can have dairy) and two eggs in each. Top with salt, pepper and herbs, and broil for 5-6 minutes, until the egg whites are just about set. While very easy to make, it looks and tastes very special.
Bacon, sausage or ham
Bacon, sausage or ham can contain gluten, so even here we need to be careful. Certain brands are gluten-free. Because I also try to buy high-quality, I'll be buying bacon from my local store, New Seasons Market. They have two options that I like. First, they sell several organic brands that are gluten-free. The second option is their house-cured bacon bought at the meat counter. Because I am able to get a full ingredient list, I know it's gluten-free.
For more help in finding gluten-free hams, sausages or bacon, I found this list helpful. While this list is somewhat related to the San Diego area, I found many of the brands are available in my area as well.
Rather than filling up on a lot of empty calories — gluten-free or not — I like to make my baked goods delicious and more healthy. For gluten-free baked goods, there are a couple of routes you can take. I like to use either more nutrient rich gluten-free grains, like millet, amaranth or even quinoa. The other option is simply to make it grain-free by using fiber-rich coconut flour or protein-rich almond four. There are many seasonal, beautiful baked good recipes that use these two options. Whether you want to make almond flour biscuits, Spiced Apple Muffins with coconut flour, or Pumpkin Cupcakes made with millet flour (just lower the sweetener in the recipe for muffins), you will have a delicious, healthier baked good to share that everyone will enjoy.
It's a shame not to include beautiful vegetables at a brunch. My personal favorite is Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Sauce. It's not in season right now, but I won't tell if you indulge with imported asparagus. But roasting works incredibly well with winter vegetables as well — everything from squash to broccoli to root vegetables.
One of my favorite, more frugal and family friendly beverage ideas is to combine a 100 percent frozen juice concentrate with soda water for a sparkling juice. It makes ordinary juice extra special. Another idea, given to me by a friend, is orange juice combined with 100 percent cranberry juice, which is supposed to be delicious. I am definitely going to try it this year.
Putting it all together, here is a sample menu. Enjoy!
Gluten- and Dairy-Free Christmas Brunch Menu
Eggs: Confetti Scrambled Eggs
Baked good: Spiced Apple Muffins
Vegetable: Herbed Roasted Winter Vegetables
Beverage: Hot organic coffee and sparkling juice