Photo courtesy of Emily Hanson

When many think of Thanksgiving foods, they picture turkey with gravy, stuffing, pies, creamy mashed potatoes, and all kinds of breads and desserts. For those with food allergies to dairy or gluten, or others who are vegetarian or vegan, holiday meals can be challenging. I’m here to tell you, though, that there are plenty of options for those following a special diet: enjoy some roasted potatoes and vegetables, dairy free pumpkin meringue, or gluten free stuffing with rice. New York Times Cooking also put out a wonderful collection of gluten and dairy free recipes, so even those with food allergies can partake in the enjoyment of the holiday!

Emily’s Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe 

Here’s an example of a recipe that is very allergy friendly (but watch out, it’s packed with plenty of sugar). I haven’t had access to a kitchen until this semester, so I finally got to experiment with making my favorite Thanksgiving side dish, cranberry sauce. I’ve discovered that not only is it super simple to make an amazing cranberry sauce, it is also super cheap and comes together with so little ingredients (great for a dorm kitchen), and takes so little time.

(It’s also tried and true; I made this recipe for the Writers House Thanksgiving and it was a hit!)

All you’ll need is 12 oz of frozen cranberries (or fresh, if you’d like), 1 cup of orange juice, 1 cup of sugar (or a sugar substitute for a lower calorie option), and ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. 

First dissolve the sugar into the orange juice at medium heat. After about a minute, add your cranberries into this mixture, and cook them for at least 10 minutes at a boil, so that the pectin in the cranberries can react with the sugar to form the gel-like texture we know and love. I’d recommend cooking for closer to 15-20 minutes to boil off more of the liquid. 

Make sure to stir often, cooking roughly until the cranberries burst. Once they start to get soft, you can mix in the pumpkin pie spice, and start pressing them gently against the side of the pan. 

When you finish cooking, transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it cool at room temperature for about an hour. Don’t be afraid if the texture is too thin at first; it will thicken as it cools. Once thicker, transfer the sauce to the fridge and chill before serving. 

This recipe is so simple and so great, just make sure you don’t eat it all before Thanksgiving!

Junior Emily Hanson is the Arts & Leisure Editor. Her email is Senior Lily Vining is the Managing Editor. Her email is