17 AIP Holiday Main Dishes

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Last Updated on September 26, 2023


I think I understand what you’re going through right about now. It’s November. November means Thanksgiving for Americans and then Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate) is not far behind.

So besides the normal holiday hysteria of menu planning (which I actually enjoy),  THIS TIME you’re on AIP (Autoimmune Protocol a/k/a Autoimmune Paleo) and you start to have a mini-meltdown. You cry. You sob. You breathe in a paper bag. Your husband finds you rocking back and forth on the floor in a corner of the kitchen. Many refer to this as “freaking out”, if you will.

I understand the pressure – believe me on that one. I’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends for the duration of my marriage (we just celebrated 20 years). And with each decade came more and more food restrictions. We began with gluten free “options” at holidays, then went to strictly gluten-free. If that wasn’t enough, we we moved to gluten-free AND dairy-free. Slowly over the years I’ve transitioned to mostly AIP holiday meals (I do serve mashed potatoes with cashew milk for those who can enjoy them) and my guests are none the wiser. (OR they are academy award-winning actors and laughing behind my back every year…it could happen).

I decided awhile ago that I’m not going to serve food with gluten at my house. No,  I’m not some gluten nazi eager to spread my message to family and friends until they bend to my will. I don’t serve gluten at my home for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I’m busting my booty in the kitchen to make a “safe” full-course meal. I make enough for everyone because, inevitably, guests want the allergen-friendly foods because they look and taste delicious. I’ve learned to make enough of the “safe” food for everyone to enjoy. When I’ve served (or someone brings) gluten-filled food (usually store bought) it usually ends up going to waste.

Secondly, gluten makes my daughter and me and really, really sick. I mean I-will-spare-you-the-gory-details sick. Gluten is also very sticky and/or crumby and easy to cross-contaminate. The older I get, the harder flare-ups are on my body. And many people don’t know what a flare looks like for me. (It differs for everyone.) You might see me smiling at church on Sunday, but don’t realize I’ve been in bed the week before writhing in pain and I KNOW you’ve not been by the house to check on me, (thankfully for both of us) because, chances are, I’m in the bathroom about as much as in the bed. Ahem.

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Suffice it to say, I do understand the awkwardness and difficulty that food restrictions make for a person who must to be faithful to his or her diet. I realize that “Aunt Tulip” might roll her eyes and say “it’s just a little wheat, can’t she just have ONE bite?”

I can’t address all of the potential problems with well-meaning family and friends in this post, but I can say that you should not have to apologize for staying away from foods that make you sick. Period. AND – you can have a delicious holiday meal without feeling deprived. I promise. Scout’s honor.

I hope this holiday main dish round-up will inspire you to ENJOY your holiday with family and friends while at the same time nourishing and supporting your body and your health. (Shared on AIP Paleo Recipe Roundtable and Allergy Free Thursdays.)


  • Honey and Citrus Glazed Ham (The Domestic Man – omit dry mustard and pepper and replace cloves with mace, cinnamon or ginger)
  • Savory Slow Cooker Ham (The Domestic Man – omit dry mustard and pepper and replace cloves with mace, cinnamon or ginger – or a combination)
  • Mandarin-Roasted Turkey (Life Made Full – sub lard or coconut oil for butter or ghee)





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