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Ask A South Florida Chef: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Increasingly, people are choosing a gluten-free diet. Some use it for weight loss while others use it as a way to combat celiac disease, which affects one in 133 people nationwide. Several South Florida establishments offer gluten-free options that are surprisingly delicious due to high demand for this diet. However when Thanksgiving arrives, many gluten-free establishments are closed, leaving limited options at the family dinner for dieters. So if you live the gluten-free life, have celiac disease or are preparing a feast for a family member who does, here are a few gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes from vegan chefs Avril Johnnidis and Keith Kalmanowicz of Love & Vegetables' pop-up kitchen.

Mr. Moe's Restaurant & Bar

Avril Johnnidis & Keith Kalmanowicz
Love & Vegetables
Earth 'N Us Farm
7630 N.E. 1st Ave.
Miami, FL 33138
(786) 273-7181

Love & Vegetables is a pop-up, vegan cafe that spreads goodwill by trading food in exchange for volunteering or money. It's the brainchild of founder and co-chef, Keith Kalmanowicz with Avril Johnnidis serving as director of operations and co-chef. Johnnidis is also the founder and personal vegan chef for The Sprouting Almond and Kalmanowicz is a personal chef to the stars. Together, they are currently pursuing a 501(c)(3) to open a non-profit, plant-based community cooking school to educate the Miami community about the importance of growing your own food. Reservations for Love & Vegetables can be made through an online booking system and meals are served once a month at Earth 'N Us Farm in Little Haiti, O Cinema in Wynwood and other participating locations.

Stuffed Baby Pumpkin Squash with Cranberry Sage Quinoa and White Beans
Serves 8


  • 4 acorn/carnival squash
  • 4 tsp coconut oil, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 leeks, washed, thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh sage
  • 4 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (can also be found in the frozen section)
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Rub insides with 2 tsp coconut oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place squash, cut-side down, on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife can be easily inserted.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tsp of coconut oil. Add leeks, sprinkle a pinch of salt and cook until softened (7 minutes). Stir minced sage and oregano, whole cranberries, mustard, maple syrup and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa and white beans until combined and warmed through.
  5. Stuff each squash half with quinoa mixture and return to oven for 7-10 minutes.

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Cranberry Chutney


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Florida orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Florida Crystals Cane Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly minced cilantro
  • 1 large chili pepper, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste


  1. Add coconut oil to saucepan and bring to medium heat.
  2. Add cumin, mustard and coriander seeds to oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until seeds begin to pop.
  3. Add ginger, cinnamon stick and chili pepper to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add cranberries, orange juice, sugar and a pinch of salt to small saucepan and cook uncovered on a low-medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes until cranberries are tender. It should be cooked through but not falling apart.
  6. Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Meal stays fresh up to a week if refrigerated. 

Potato Au Gratin


  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
  • 5 hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • Grape seed oil for layering


  1. Sweet potato purée: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potato cubes and cook for 20 minutes until soft. Drain and blend with the coconut milk in a food processor or blender. Add coconut oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Grease casserole dish with grape seed or coconut oil.
  3. Arrange layers of gratin: On the bottom of the pan, arrange a thin later of potato slices. Sprinkle with salt, chopped thyme leaves and a splash of grape seed oil. Distribute the oil evenly with your finger. Top it with a layer of the sweet potato purée. Repeat until all ingredients are used.
  4. Sprinkle top layer of grain with thyme, salt and hazelnuts.
  5. Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork.
  6. Uncover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

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Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at

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