With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I want to share my recipes for our traditional holiday meal. My family and I refuse to feel deprived because we make the choice to eat healthy and feel energetic instead of overweight and foggy during the holidays. We want our focus to be where it should be: on gratitude and helping others. We feel blessed and we want you to join us too. Enjoy the holidays more than ever with this simple, brain-healthy Thanksgiving menu.
For a moist and delicious turkey, try soaking it in wet brine for 18 hours before moving to the preparation steps below, but beware – you will become the designated turkey maker in the family forever!
1 12-pound free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free turkey
1 1/2 cups macadamia nut or avocado oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Cheesecloth for baking the turkey
Optional: 1/2 cup ghee or grass fed butter for basting
Preparation to be done the day before cooking:
Start with a fully thawed turkey. Remove innards from cavity (set aside for stuffing if you choose) and rinse turkey well. Pat dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin from the turkey, being careful not to remove the skin completely. You just want to separate the skin from the meat. Try not to puncture the skin. The skin will remain attached at the leg attachment points.
- Mix all ingredients for the marinade with a whisk prior to marinating the turkey.
- Evenly apply the marinade around the turkey meat, under the skin with clean hands (always being careful to handle ALL meat with clean hands and not touch anything else prior to washing). Be sure to apply a thick coat of marinade.
- Apply a final, thin coat of marinade to the inside cavity of the turkey and the outer skin. If you don’t have enough left, you may choose to use salt with a little olive oil.
- Cover turkey and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If desired, wrap turkey in cheesecloth to hold juices in during basting phase. Place turkey, breast down (for the most moist breast meat) in a roasting pan or directly on the lower rack above a roasting pan. Cooking time varies, but a general rule is about 15 minutes for every pound.
- After 30 minutes, reduce the cooking temperature to 350 degrees F for the next two hours, and then reduce it again to 250 degrees F for the remaining time. Use a baster to retrieve juices from the bottom of the pan and baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so. Add ghee to roasting pan and add a bit of chicken stock if desired.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is fully cooked. The white meat should have an internal temperature of about 165 degrees F. For the last 20 minutes of cooking time turn the turkey over and turn the temperature up to 300 degrees F. This will brown the skin of the breast.
- The turkey recipe can be adapted to roasted chicken. Cut ingredients in half and marinate according to same instructions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and roast for an hour and a half. Keep chicken breast side down for the first hour and turn over for the final 30 minutes. This recipe requires marinating the turkey for 6- 24 hours prior to cooking.
2 tablespoons of grass fed butter or ghee, or drippings from any meat or poultry you are cooking
1 onion, chopped
2 cups low sodium chicken broth or bone broth (BWW Cookbook, pg. 89-90)
1-2 tablespoons arrowroot, depending on desired thickness
2-4 garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped
Optional: ¼ cup precooked meat of your choice
- In a medium size pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Allow onions to caramelize, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until onions are a light brown/translucent color. Be sure not to burn onions, turning down the heat, if necessary. After 5 minutes, add garlic cloves to the onions, adding a bit more butter or ghee, as needed.
- Add broth and turn up heat until mixture comes to a boil. Slowly add the arrowroot, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Add desired spices and herbs. Reduce heat, add meat or poultry for flavor if desired, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove half of the mixture from heat and transfer mixture to a high-powered blender. Add coconut cream and blend on medium-high setting until gravy is smooth. Stir the smooth gravy mixture back to the remaining chunky mixture. Ladle over turkey or other favorite dish.
Cauliflower Garlic Mashed “Potatoes”
2 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth or purified water
1 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter substitute
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
2 teaspoons arrowroot (mix with purified water)
2 tablespoons purified water (mix with arrowroot)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons chives finely chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves
- Pour vegetable broth or water into a medium pot. Put cauliflower florets in pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While cauliflower is cooking, combine almond milk, Earth Balance, garlic, Italian seasoning, and basil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it reaches a boil, add the arrowroot/water mixture, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain as much liquid from cauliflower as possible and place florets in a food processor or blender, blending on high for about a minute. Add sauce and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add sunflower seeds and chives.
- Serve hot over a bed of spinach.
2 cups finely shredded kale, thick stems removed
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (BWW Cookbook, pg. 257) or vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1/3 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Optional: Use 1 cup prepackaged coleslaw mix instead of cabbage
Optional: 1/2 pkt. Stevia
- Combine kale, cabbage, carrot, and cashews. In a small mixing bowl, combine Nayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise, vinegar, herbs, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and Stevia, if desired. Whisk until mixture is blended well. Toss with kale mix. Allow salad to refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving if possible so flavors can “marry”.
- Tip: Try combining above for dressing ingredients, from vinegar down (except vegan mayonnaise) in a blender or food processor with ¼ cup sesame oil and ½ cup raw almonds. Puree and pour over salad blend. Toss well. Top with sunflower seeds and a few dried cranberries.
7 apples, peeled and chopped (Try using the slicer attachment on a food processor as a shortcut)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ginger
Coconut oil spray for pan
Optional: 1⁄2 cup erythritol
1⁄4 cup pecans or walnuts
1⁄4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat apples in a large saute’ pan over over medium heat. Apples will release fluid and begin to dehydrate after a couple of minutes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and erythritol, if desired. Cook until apples are hot and soft, about 15 minutes. Don’t allow apples to dry out and burn. Remove apples from heat and pour into a 9 x 9-inch greased baking dish.
- Mix nuts, flour, almond butter, and dates in food processor until well blended and chunky. Remove crumble topping from food processor and sprinkle on top of the apples in baking dish. Bake the apple crisp for 15 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon small portions into dessert bowls. Serve warm or cold.
I hope everyone has an amazing holiday with your loved ones! If you enjoy the recipes above, I invite you to check out The Brain Warriors Way Cookbook. I have provided over 100+ brain healthy recipes to cook for your families on holidays.