While roasting your Thanksgiving turkey is typical, that’s not your only option. Using a jerk marinade or seasoning can add some spice without affecting how healthy your main dish is. You can even play around with the level of heat you add to your turkey. If you haven’t tried spicing up your Thanksgiving turkey, now’s your chance! It might just become your go-to recipe moving forward.
Why You Should Switch It Up
Well, there are two good reasons to make the switch from a traditional roast turkey recipe to a spicy healthy alternative. The first is how many calories and fat are in the usual recipe. It’s common for the regular roast turkey to contain over 500 calories and 11 grams of fat – and that doesn’t even include the stuffing!
A healthy variation of a Thanksgiving turkey recipe is a great way to ensure that you’re not overdoing it. In fact, the recipe below only packs 300 calories and about 8g of fat.
The second reason to try a jerk turkey recipe is to have a different flavor on the table. Yes, Thanksgiving is all about tradition but things can get predictable that way. There’s always space to add your own spin on the food.
Your Healthy Jerk Turkey Recipe
3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1⁄4 cup freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 1⁄2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1⁄2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus wedges for serving
1 1⁄2 Tbsp. soy sauce
6 cloves garlic
2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chilis, stemmed and chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 whole turkey (12 lb.)
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine ¼ cup oil, sugar, scallions, ¼ cup pepper, 2½ tablespoons salt, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, chilis (or Scotch bonnet peppers), and ginger; purée until smooth and set aside.
- Mix the butter with the remaining ½ cup oil; set aside. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt and pepper; let it come to room temperature.
- Transfer the turkey to a rack set inside a roasting pan, tuck the wings behind the turkey, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Brush the turkey all over with the butter mixture, reserving some for brushing.
- Pour 2 cups water into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey, brushing once with some of the reserved butter mixture, for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue roasting, brushing occasionally with the butter mixture, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh, without touching the bone, reads 150°F, about 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and baste completely with the reserved jerk sauce.
- Return the turkey to the oven and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 20 to 25 minutes more.
- Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 30 minutes before carving; serve with lime wedges.
The Health Benefits Of A Spiced-Up Turkey
Turkey is a great source of lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. When you add the herbs and spices of