Yes, you can celebrate Thanksgiving deliciously, all while sticking with your healthy eating goals—starting with the roasted turkey. The solution for remaining keto, paleo, Whole30, or gluten-free on Thanksgiving lies in this simple recipe, which only calls for four ingredients: turkey, extra-virgin olive oil or ghee, salt, and arrowroot starch.
In this recipe, an 11-pound, pasture-raised turkey was used. Beyond being free of any flavor additives or sodium solutions, pasture-raised turkey tends to be leaner, since the birds are raised outdoors and are free to forage (rather than rely 100% on grain feed). Because the birds have space to flap their wings and move around quite a bit, even the white meat can take on a pink-ish hue. This is due to the increased muscle mass and oxygen flowing to these areas. Don’t be alarmed if your thermometer reads 165°F (74°C), but the meat is still slightly pink.
If your schedule permits, pre-salt the bird 12-24 hours before roasting and store it in the fridge uncovered to help dry out the skin. This dry-brining process will help lock in the meat’s flavor and moisture, while resulting in crispy skin. We’re taking a low and slow approach to cooking the bird, roasting at 325°F (165 °C). Always let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. That way the liquids from the meat reabsorb, so they don’t leak out when you carve. In the meantime, you can get busy preparing the gravy.
1 whole turkey, patted dry with paper towels
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
Neck of turkey (you may use giblets too)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or melted ghee)
6 cups water
4-5 tablespoons arrowroot powder
4-5 tablespoons cold water
Freshly ground pepper
Salt body and inside neck cavity. Truss legs. Place bird, breast side up, on top of a trivet (or foil ring) rested on a plate, and refrigerate uncovered for 12-24 hours. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 325°F (165 °C). Transfer bird (and trivet) to a shallow roasting pan, casserole dish, or cast iron pan.
Place in oven and roast, undisturbed, until the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). It will heat to 165°F (74°C) through carry over cooking when removed from the oven. If the top of the bird begins to brown too quickly, place a foil tent loosely on top of the turkey during the last hour of roasting. Our 11-pound bird took 3 hours and 45 minutes to cook.
Though cooking times may vary by up to 30 minutes, use this chart to estimate the roasting time of your bird:
10-14 pounds: 2½ to 3½ hours
14-18 pounds: 3½ to 4 hours
18-22 pounds: 4 to 4½ hours
22-26 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours
26-30 pounds: 5 to 5½ hours
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil or ghee over medium-high heat. Add neck (and optional giblets), and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until caramelized. Add water and allow to simmer, skimming any foam, until water reduces by half. Strain liquid into a measuring cup. Discard neck and giblets—or alternatively, chop them up finely and add them to the gravy in the last step. Transfer strained liquid back into the pot.
Transfer the turkey onto a rimmed cutting board and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour a bit of the turkey stock into the bottom of the pan. Use a wooden spoon or a whisk to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Once it has dissolved, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and transfer it into the pot with the stock. Heat it over the stove on low.
Whisk 5 tablespoons of arrowroot into equal parts cold water. Whisk mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, into stock pot until sauce thickens. The mixture should be clear, not cloudy, and coat the back of the spoon. Do not let the sauce come to a boil, otherwise the arrowroot powder will not thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. If it needs a little acid, spritz a bit of lemon. If using shredded turkey neck and chopped giblets, whisk them in now.
Serve gravy alongside turkey. Plus, a few healthy sides. Makes 24 servings.
Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):
Protein 32 g
Total fat 9 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Cholesterol 105 mg
Carbs 2 g
Fiber 0 g
Total sugars 0 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 410 mg
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.