Photo Credit: KDKA

People choose a gluten-free diet for a variety of reasons. Gluten is an agent found in wheat products which causes distress to those with celiac disease. Wheat products can also be difficult to digest and have little nutritional value, but going gluten free can be difficult when trying to search out foods that are tasty to serve with your Thanksgiving meal. According to Bill Fuller, Executive Chef of Big Burrito Restaurant Group, filling up with vegetable side dishes that are full of flavor can help. A tasty, warm cranberry sauce can please your sweet tooth and roasted cauliflower can prove just as tasty as a dinner roll. Bill offers some of his favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving sides for you to enjoy this year.

Bill Fuller
1150 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 201-5656

Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 bags fresh cranberries (Go ahead and make two bags. It will be great on toast later and it keeps forever in the refrigerator.)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Zest and juice of 5 oranges
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4-5 cardamom pods, gently crushed, green shell discarded and black seed kernels retained
  • 10 coriander seeds, crushed
  • Apple cider

There are two ways to make this: chunky and smooth. For chunky, omit the last step. Chef Bill prefers chunky, but often people accustomed to traditional cranberry sauce balk at the texture.

Place everything in a non-reactive pot. Cover by approximately 1/2 inch with apple cider. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook while stirring for about one hour. The sauce should thicken nicely. Serve warm or cold as desired. For smooth sauce, run it through a small holed blade in a food mill. In the absence of a food mill, push through a medium mesh strainer.

Brussels Sprouts with Virginia Ham


  • 1/2-lb piece of uncooked Virginia ham (Chef Bill prefers the 12-month aged ham. The six-month will work as well. Bacon, prosciutto and pancetta all will work well.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp duck fat (you probably don’t have rendered duck fat at home so use your favorite oil)
  • 3 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Black pepper
  • Salt to taste (be careful)

Dice ham into 1/8-inch pieces. Be careful and use a sharp knife as the ham has a very heavy texture in this state. Dice the onion into small pieces. Trim hard root ends off of the Brussels sprouts. If they are not small, halve or quarter each sprout. Place duck fat in a shallow pot. Add onions and ham. Place on medium flame and bring up to a sizzle. Sauté/sweat ham and onions until lightly browned. Add Brussels sprouts and cider. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Lightly season with pepper. Cook with occasional stirring until Brussels sprouts are tender and cider is evaporated (20 minutes to half an hour). Season with salt only at the end and only if necessary.

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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Rosemary


  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florettes
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup picked rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Approximately 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Place sheet pan(s) in a hot (425°) oven. Place cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and pine nuts. When sheet pan(s) is(are) hot, pour cauliflower in a single layer. Return to oven.
Allow it to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove and pack in a casserole dish. Meanwhile, place breadcrumbs in a skillet with the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Toast with stirring until breadcrumbs are well browned and aromatic. Sprinkle over cauliflower in casserole. Grate parmesan over the top in abundance. Hold in oven until ready.

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Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at