Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving.
This healthy protein deserves a place on your plate all year long.
Turkey may be a November tradition, but this nutritional all-star is worth savoring throughout the other 11 months too as part of your healthy diet.
For starters, turkey is low in fat and high in protein. A 3.5-ounce portion of skinless breast meat is only 161 calories and has 4 grams of fat. If you’re a dark meat lover, don’t fear: While dark turkey meat has roughly double the fat of white meat, it’s still leaner than beef, making it a smart alternative to red meat.
Like its poultry cousin, chicken, turkey provides a source of iron, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. It also offers zinc, which helps boost the immune system and aid healing, and may keep vision loss at bay.
Turkey is also packed with tryptophan, the amino acid that is often blamed for making you sleepy after that Thanksgiving dinner. But tryptophan only works as a sleep aid if it’s taken by itself—so it is not the culprit for your afternoon catnap on Turkey Day. Tryptophan does have an effect on how you feel, though. When it makes its way to the brain, tryptophan turns into serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. So while a dose of turkey might not put you to sleep, it could help you feel happier.
Instant Pot Turkey Dinner with Vegetable Stuffing & Gravy
- 1 2½-lb boneless turkey breast (skin on)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper, divided
- ¾ tsp sea salt, divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- ½ bulb fennel, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 4 cups 1-inch cubed stale whole-wheat sourdough bread, toasted
- ⅓ cup chopped unsalted pecans
- ¼ cup dried naturally sweetened cranberries
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 2 tbsp poultry seasoning or rubbed sage
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 3 tbsp whole-wheat pastry flour
1. Season turkey with ½ tsp each pepper and salt. Press Sauté on Instant Pot and set to More/High; heat 1 tbsp oil, then swirl to coat bottom of pot. Add turkey breast, skin side down. Cook without moving until skin is golden brown, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add onion, celery, carrot, fennel and remaining ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 5 minutes. Press Cancel.
3. To a large bowl, add cooked vegetables, bread, pecans, cranberries, 2 tbsp parsley, poultry seasoning and ½ cup broth; stir to combine. Pour stuffing mixture into a 7-inch round metal dish (about 3 inches tall). Cover tightly with foil; set aside.
4. To Instant Pot, add remaining 1½ cups broth, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot. Place a trivet (with 2-inch legs) into pot. Place turkey breast, skin side up, on trivet. Place covered stuffing dish onto turkey so it rests on top. Lock lid and set release valve to Seal. Press Pressure and set to More/High; adjust cooking time to 30 minutes.
5. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes (don’t move the vent), then carefully set release valve to Venting. When metal pin in lid falls and all pressure is released, unlock lid. Meanwhile, position oven rack 4 inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. With sturdy tongs or heat-resistant gloves, remove stuffing from pot; discard foil and set aside. Using an instant-read thermometer, check that the thickest part of the turkey reads 165°F. (NOTE: If meat is not done, return turkey to trivet, loosely cover with lid, press Sauté and set to Less/Low; simmer until turkey reaches 165°F.) Transfer turkey to cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
6. Place stuffing under broiler; broil until golden and crisp on top, 4 minutes.
7. To a small bowl, add flour; gradually whisk in ¼ cup water until mixture is smooth. On the Instant Pot, press Sauté and set to Normal/Medium. Pour flour mixture into pot and whisk into cooking liquid; simmer until gravy is thick and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining 1 tbsp parsley. Slice turkey and serve with warm stuffing and gravy.
Turkey Tetrazzini with Broccoli & Parmesan
- 1½ tbsp organic unsalted butter
- 2½ cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup dry sherry, vermouth or white wine
- 2 tbsp white whole-wheat flour
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
- 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey breast
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
- 8 oz whole-wheat rotini pasta
- 2½ cups small broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp lemon zest + 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- In a large skillet on medium-high, melt butter. Add mushrooms and leek and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle in flour, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in broth and cream. Add turkey, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until thickened and bubbly, 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook pasta al dente according to package directions, adding broccoli during last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain and stir into turkey mixture. Stir in cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Turkey Lettuce Cups
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 12 oz ground turkey
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp peeled and minced ginger
- butter or romaine lettuce leaves, for serving
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1. In a large skillet on medium, heat oil. Add turkey and cook for 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Add onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add bell pepper and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes more. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Whisk together sauce ingredients. Return turkey to pan, add sauce and cook until turkey is heated through. Serve in lettuce leaves. (Makes 3 servings.)