Hearty and Wholesome Thanksgiving Recipes: Lemon-Garlic Roast Turkey & White-Wine Gravy

by Kristen Carlucci on November 23, 2009

in General

Interested in what is on the Simply Savor menu this Turkey Day?  Over the years I’ve accumulated a ton of Thanksgiving recipes, and am so excited to share some of my favorites with all of you!

Whether you’re cooking a meal for a family of 3, 40, or just bringing an appetizer to a party, here are some healthy and delicious options to save you calories and fat without losing flavor this holiday season.

Stay tuned because every day until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting wholesome, new recipes for you to enjoy!

Lemon-Garlic Roast Turkey & White-Wine Gravy  from EatingWell.com.



10 cloves garlic, divided
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 12-pound natural or organic turkey, (see Shopping Tip)
1/4 cup freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth


  1. Crush 6 cloves garlic and add to a very large stockpot (or clean bucket). Stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt and 4 quarts cold water.
  2. Remove giblets from turkey (if included) and trim excess skin. Submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. If the turkey is not fully submerged, turn it every 8 hours.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well and pat dry. Discard the brine.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Place the remaining 4 cloves garlic, lemon zest, oregano, oil, pepper and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. (Alternatively, chop garlic, lemon zest and oregano on a cutting board until finely minced, then place in a small bowl and stir in oil, pepper and water.) Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the paste all over the turkey, under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and a little inside the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down in a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
  6. Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Turn it breast-side up on the rack, add 1 cup water to the pan, and continue roasting 1 hour more. Baste the turkey with pan drippings, tent with foil and continue roasting, basting every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes more.
  7. Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board; let rest for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.
  8. Meanwhile, pour any pan juices and fat into a large glass measuring cup and place in the freezer until the fat rises to the top, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, pour the pan juices and fat into a fat separator then pour the defatted juices into a large measuring cup.) Whisk flour with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.
  9. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add wine (or vermouth); bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until reduced, about 3 minutes. 10. Remove the pan juices from the freezer, skim off the fat with a spoon and discard. Add the defatted juices and broth to the roasting pan; return to a simmer, whisking often. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the flour mixture and simmer until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and serve with the turkey.


Shopping tip: Look for turkey labeled “natural” or “organic” in natural-foods stores or well-stocked supermarkets. Turkeys labeled “heritage” are also typically “natural.” If you can’t find one, don’t overlook this recipe. It works with conventional turkey, too; just skip the brining (Steps 1-2) and start with Step 3.


Per serving: 180 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 0 g fiber; 120 mg sodium; 273 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (19% daily value).

12 servings, 3 ounces turkey & 2-3 tablespoons gravy each, plus leftovers

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes (plus 24 hours brining time)


Please share some of your top turkey tips! 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean September 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Are you cooking? I decided to switch my stuffing up this year and use cornbread instead of sourdough like your latest post.

I’ve come to conclusion that there’s no way I can avoid (over)eating and dessert Thanksgiving day. Gonna try to cut back on the stuffing but who knows how that plan’s going to turn out…


Laura September 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I am definitely trying out this recipe. Even though it looks phenomenal I am disappointed I can not share in the turkey day festivities with you! Love you and we have to plan for next years get together 🙂


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