This cranberry and pistachio stuffed turkey breast with an orange honey glaze makes a healthy, flavourful and lean source of protein to serve up for those holidays and special occasions. It has a beautiful presentation and is perfect to serve for company!
For as long as I can remember, every year during the holiday season, the biggest question in our household was always, “how the HECK are we going to cook the turkey this year?”
I remember my mom and dad battling it out with that turkey every single holiday.
One year, they tried cooking it for a shorter period of time, another year, they tried cooking it longer.
Another year, they tried cooking it with stuffing and another year without.
And then, ONE YEAR, they decided to get really adventurous and cook the turkey in a bag which resulted in a super overdone turkey that practically exploded when we went to cut it.
Yeah. We were basically the Griswalds on the National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation.
Needless to say, when it was my turn to host Thanksgiving this year in our new house (AKA the new gathering place), I was a little terrified to cook a whole turkey. After past experiences, let’s just say, I didn’t want to go there.
So instead, I opted to go with a turkey breast.
Now my husband always likes to buy me cooking magazines when he’s out and about since he knows I love getting inspired by the recipes and photography (thoughtful guy, right?) The last time he went out, he purchased a holiday cooking magazine for me that had this amazing looking stuffed turkey breast.
As soon as I set my eyes on it, I got a little burst of excitement. I knew that THAT turkey breast was happening for our Thanksgiving dinner.
So I got to work preparing the turkey breast. And it turns out that despite it looking fancy, it was really quite simple.
The first step was finding a good turkey breast that’s the right size and shape for stuffing. I went to our local butcher and they gave me a huge turkey breast that resembled the shape of a freshly baked loaf of bread. That’s the shape we’re going for. Roundish without being too flat.
The next step was slicing the turkey length ways, without cutting all the way through, so that we could insert the stuffing in the middle and close it up afterwards. It was like doing some major surgery and then stitching everything back up.
Next, you want to mix together the ingredients of the stuffing, which is really quite simple. Basically, you just mix together some chopped pistachios (I like to buy them without the shell to make it even easier), fresh thyme leaves, dried cranberries, almond flour and panko bread crumbs.
Insert the stuffing into the middle of the turkey breast and close it so that the top half folds over the stuffing and touches the bottom half.
Next, you want to get some kitchen string and tie it around the turkey breast to bind it together so that the stuffing doesn’t fall out. We tied it about three times. On one end, the other end and in the middle.
Next, you can prepare the glaze in a small pot. The glaze is what gives the turkey a beautiful crispy outside and an amazing flavour. You will use this glaze for basting the turkey throughout the cooking process and will also reserve some to serve as a sauce once the turkey is cooked.
Next you’re going to pop the turkey breast in the oven, basting it every once in a while throughout the cooking process. The beauty of this turkey is that it only takes about an hour and a half to cook. That of course, depends on the size of your turkey breast and your oven, but we used a 3 lb turkey breast and it only took about 90 minutes.
So from start to finish, the turkey was prepared and ready to go in only about 2 hours. I always remember the turkey being an all day affair growing up, so having all of this done in less than 2 hours is practically a miracle in this house.
Furthermore, the fact that the turkey breast is cooked with the stuffing already inside not only gives it a beautiful presentation, but it also lends a wonderful flavour to the turkey AND saves you time from having to make a whole separate stuffing recipe.
The slightly sweet and salty stuffing paired with the citrusy glaze is a refreshing way to serve turkey if you’re accustomed to simply serving it with gravy, although you could certainly add some gravy to the mix too if you’d like.
The more, the merrier.
And let’s just talk about the health benefits of turkey for a second. Turkey breast, in particular, is an excellent source of lean protein, niacin, vitamin B12, iron and zinc! And it also happens to contain the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood. No wonder we were so happy after eating this turkey!
And while we’re discussing nutrients, the stuffing is full of healthy fats and is also lower in carbs than your typical stuffing since it’s made with almond flour and pistachios instead of primarily consisting of bread. Not to mention, it’s also a great source of potassium, vitamin A and K from the spinach!
The whole family was pleasantly surprised at how well this cranberry and pistachio stuffed turkey breast turned out. We served it along with this gravy without drippings, healthy cranberry sauce, healthy mashed potatoes and oven roasted carrots, but it would also taste amazing with any of the following sides:
- Sweet Potato Coconut Mash
- Roasted Beet & Carrot Kale Salad
- Green Bean Almondine Recipe
- Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Apples
- Sauteed Green Beans with Red Peppers & Almonds
- Healthy Squash Casserole
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
Such a delicious way to use up that turkey!
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Pistachio & Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breast with Orange Honey Glaze
For the stuffed turkey breast:
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries chopped coarsely
- 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios chopped coarsely
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs can also sub in gluten-free bread crumbs, if necessary
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 3 lb frozen ready-to-roast turkey breast
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- Additional fresh thyme sprigs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place spinach in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over the spinach and allow to sit for one minute. Drain and cool under cold running water. Squeeze small handfuls of spinach to remove excess liquid. Chop and place in a back in the bowl. Stir in the cranberries, pistachios, panko bread crumbs, almond flour and thyme. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Place turkey breast on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Slice the turkey breast in half lengthways, without cutting all the way through. Open so that the breast is flat.
- With a spoon, spread stuffing over one cut-side of the breast. Fold the other side of the turkey breast over stuffing to enclose. Tie kitchen string around turkey to secure and prevent stuffing from falling out.
- Brush the surface of the turkey breast with olive oil.
- Meanwhile, prepare the orange honey glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Divide the glaze mixture into two separate bowls, reserving one bowl to use as a sauce after the turkey is cooked.
- Using mixture from one bowl, brush glaze evenly over turkey breast and top with thyme sprigs.
- Transfer the turkey breast on parchment paper to a roasting pan. Roast for 50 minutes. Brush with additional glaze and cooking juices.
- Roast for an additional 20 minutes and brush with more glaze. Roast for an additional 10-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Serve turkey sliced with reserved orange honey glaze.
Recipe adapted from “Food to Love” Magazine
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