The weight loss blog

Thanksgiving turkey cooked the healthier way

November 19 2018
Sarah Davison
By Sarah Davison

Our tender, juicy bird will be the star of your Thanksgiving spread. Better still, you can eat it freely and lose weight when you’re following Slimming World’s Food Optimizing eating plan

Thanksgiving turkey cooked the healthier way

Rosemary and lemon turkey with caramelized onion gravy

8 SERVINGS, plus leftovers
COOKING TIME 3 hours 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME 3 hours 40 minutes, plus 15 minutes standing time


For the turkey:
1 ready-to-cook whole turkey (10-12 lbs.), neck and giblets removed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, cut into wedges, plus extra for serving
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 bulb garlic, top and bottom cut off to expose cloves
3 sprigs fresh sage, thyme and/or rosemary, plus extra for serving
Cooking spray

For the caramelized onion gravy:
2 large sweet onions, halved and cut into ¼”-thick slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Rinse the turkey body cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the parsley, lemon zest, rosemary and minced garlic, then season with salt and black pepper. Use your fingers to loosen the turkey skin, then spread the herb mixture under the skin over the breast and legs. Put the lemon, onion, garlic bulb and herb sprigs into the cavity.
  2. Place your turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and lightly spray with cooking spray. Insert an oven thermometer into the center of an inside thigh (the thermometer should not touch the bone). Cover loosely with foil and roast for 2½ hours. Remove the foil and roast for 30-45 minutes more or until your thermometer registers at least 175°F.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy: Lightly spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over a medium-low heat. Place the onions and garlic in the skillet and season with salt. Cover and cook for 13-15 minutes, or until the onions are tender and release some liquid, stirring occasionally. Uncover the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes more, or until the onions are golden, stirring frequently.
  4. Combine the caramelized onion mixture, stock and vinegar with some black pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the sage. (Reheat the gravy before serving, if needed.)
  5. Remove your turkey from the oven, cover with foil and let it stand 15 minutes. Discard the lemon, onion, garlic and herb sprigs from the cavity. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and carve, removing and discarding the skin. Serve with the gravy and your favorite Food Optimizing Thanksgiving sides.