Cooking #Glutenfree for the Holidays with Turmeric: Tips & Tricks

When the evening breeze starts feeling nippy and leafs turn from green to red, you may start thinking about Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas shopping, and relaxing vacations from school or work. As enjoyable as the holiday season can feel, though, it's also a period often full of stress, sickness and an overwhelmed schedule.

One easy - and delicious - way to keep your immune system as infallible as your holiday spirit? Adding more turmeric to your diet.

casey the college celiac

As I've written before, this yellow spice has been used (in meals and as a medicinal herb) in India for centuries. What's so great about it? Besides offering a pop of color to your meals, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, which helps your body fight foreign invaders and repair previous damage, and is packed with antioxidants. Turmeric has even been shown to improve brain function, lower one's risk for heart disease, prevent - and possibly treat - cancer, improve joint health, and even help improve depression.

So you've seen what turmeric can do for you - but what can you do with turmeric? Whether you're cooking or baking, this superfood really is super easy to incorporate - even into your favorite holiday dishes!

For a kick of antioxidants with my breakfast, smoothies are one of my favorite ways to enjoy turmeric. I personally like using turmeric powder, which doesn't have to be stored in the fridge and lasts longer before going bad, but you can also use fresh turmeric root. Either way, simply add the powder/root to your high-powered blender with the rest of the smoothie ingredients. To disguise the taste of turmeric (which is more pronounced with the root than the powder), try incorporating fruits with a distinct or sweet flavor - like orange, banana or berries. Because the human body absorbs turmeric better when it's combined with a source of fat, don't forget to add some coconut milk, coconut oil or nut butter to your smoothie either!

casey the college celiac
You can even get festive in your decorations!
If the colder weather is making you crave cozier breakfasts, you can also work turmeric into your morning porridge. Unless you feel like blending the turmeric root into your milk/water/tea beforehand, turmeric powder is the easiest choice. Just add one teaspoon or so into your usual oatmeal and dive in. (For a super bright breakfast, try using Numi Organic Tea's Amber Sun as your oatmeal liquid and shredded squash in place of zucchini.)

More of a savory food lover? Then get your curry on with some help from turmeric! While your traditional holiday feast may not feature curry, it's actually a great use of leftover veggies, potato and (optionally) meat. For instance, using roasted veggies and a leftover baked potato makes Further Food's vegan potato curry a snap to make. Because after the cooking marathon that is Thanksgiving, sometimes we need an easy meal!

casey the college celiac
Super (comfort) food!
If you're looking for a...sneakier way to add turmeric to family dinner, mac n' cheese is the ninja you need! I love adding a hefty dose of turmeric to my homemade vegan cheese sauce - which is based off of TheVegan8's fat free recipe, but I don't use the soy sauce or nutritional yeast. Even if you're cooking your favorite boxed mac n' cheese or your mom's dairy-packed recipe, you can stir a little turmeric into the mix. Start with less and add more as your taste buds can tolerate. As long as you don't include too much, your relatives will never know that their mac n' cheese is spiked with a superfood...

Finally, dessert time. While you can certainly experiment with adding turmeric to any of your baked goods - in my experience, pancakes, mug cakes, and cookies are all fair game - I always add a dose of turmeric to my homemade granola. The granola's healthy fats from coconut flour and flakes helps ensure that turmeric - and its healing properties - is fully absorbed by the body. To get into the fall spirit, try my Secretly Healthy Pumpkin Granola, which not only tastes festive, but also looks extra bright and cozy from the turmeric.

casey the college celiac
Some of my favorite festive desserts!
You can even get your turmeric fix when you don't have any oven room left to bake with. Just gather a few key ingredients - like dates, banana and coconut (or an alternative) flour. Then throw together any spices, berries, nuts, seeds or superfoods (including turmeric, obviously!) you have on hand, and roll the dough into bliss balls. Easy, healthy and very addictive. For an extra holiday flair, you can even stick to a color red/green/yellow color scheme by using ingredients like pomegranate seeds and strawberries, spirulina powder and mint, and turmeric and banana chips.

Still craving more turmeric treats for your holiday dining? Then check out these recipes from the blogosphere!

Whether you're trying to stay healthy during the cheery chaos of the holidays or just add some color to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turmeric is a delicious and easy addition to any diet. Who knows. Maybe turmeric is how Santa Clause keeps his energy up for his gift-giving marathon!

*Also found at Inspiration Monday, Tasty Tuesdays, Turn it Up Tuesdays, Wine'd Down Wednesday, What's Cookin' Wednesday, VegetarianMama, Saucy Saturdays, Snickerdoodle Sunday and Totally Terrific Tuesday!*

Do you ever try to add more antioxidants to your diet during the holiday season? How would you update holiday favorites with turmeric? Let me know by commenting below!


  1. A meal doesn't go un-touched by turmeric in this house!

  2. Thanks so much for the ideas to sneak turmeric into! I love secret food ninjas that do a lot of good stuff for the body behind the scenes.. like cinnamon!

    1. "Secret food ninjas" is now my new favorite phrase! ;) And I'm addicted to cinnamon good and so good for you!

  3. I will admit, I don't use turmeric a whole lot because of its bitter flavor, but I know it's super-duper healthy and great for your immune system, as you've pointed out. Thanks for these creative ideas for finding ways to add it to your diet. I really like the idea of adding it granola! I also had turmeric-ginger tea the other day and really liked it.

    1. Turmeric tea is such a tasty treat! I hope you enjoy sneaking it into granola as much as I do!


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