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Gluten Free Thanksgiving: Turkey & Orange Cranberry Sauce

Nov 8, 2013 | Recipes | 1 comment

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Turkey and Cranberries

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, do you have your gluten-free Thanksgiving menu set?

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is cranberry sauce, in part because I only make it on Thanksgiving. I've been making my own cranberry sauce for years and to be honest I'm usually one of the only people to eat it…. but it stores well and I love serving it on a cheese platter (like a chutney) later that week. And it's so easy to make! You can add spices like cinnamon & cloves, but my favorite version uses fresh orange zest and orange juice.  This is a great paleo Thanksgiving recipe too!

Here's the recipe:

Thanksgiving Turkey Breast
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5 from 1 vote

Orange Cranberry Sauce


  • 10 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 T orange zest (from ~2 oranges)
  • 1 cup orange juice (I use fresh-squeezed, but from a carton works too)
  • 1/4 cup honey


  • Place all ingredients in small pot place on high heat, bringing to a boil, lower to low heat, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer to bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.

When I'm hosting a smaller Thanksgiving I will sometimes buy a turkey breast instead of a whole bird (even though I prefer the dark meat). Using only a breast frees up a lot of oven space!  Here's my favorite method for prepping a turkey breast:

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Turkey and Cranberries
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5 from 1 vote

Rosemary-Citrus Turkey Breast


  • 1 bunch rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • ~4 lb bone-in turkey breast


  • Zest oranges & lemons and then juice.
  • In a large storage container, stir together citrus zest and juice, chopped rosemary and garlic, 4 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup water, and 2 Tbsp salt.
  • Add turkey breast to marinate.
  • Marinate turkey for 24 hours (or a minimum of 1 hour up to 48 hours)
  • Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
  • Remove turkey from marinade and place in baking pan. Put in oven at 450 for 5 minutes.
  • Lower temperature to 400 F and continue to roast for ~1-1.5 hours or until internal temperature of 165F.


If using store bought broth, read all ingredients and avoid added sugars and other unnecessary fillers.

Both of these recipes can easily be made the day before, keeping you stress-free on Thanksgiving Day.  

What is the nutrition like for these gluten free Thanksgiving recipes?

Thanksgiving is obviously more about flavor and feasting than nutrition, but it's still nice to know that what you're serving provides some nutrition to your family. Here are some of the nutritional highlights from these gluten free Thanksgiving recipes:

Turkey (B Vitamins, Selenium, Zinc)

In addition to being a low fat source of protein, turkey contains significant amounts of several vitamins and nutrients. Due to its high B vitamin content, eating turkey may help support energy levels and red blood cell production.

Oranges (Vitamin C, Folate, Thiamine, Potassium)

While oranges are famous for their vitamin C, they're also rich in folate, thiamine (vitamin B1) and potassium. In addition, the flavonoids found in oranges may protect against heart disease. Furthermore, their citric acid may help protect against kidney stones.

Cranberries (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K1, Manganese, Copper, Antioxidants)

Similar to many other fruits and vegetables, much of cranberries' nutrition is in the skin so you don't get it if you drink cranberry juice. Cranberries are perhaps best known for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) but studies show they may also help prevent ulcers, stomach cancer and heart disease.

Garlic (Beneficial Sulfur Compounds, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium)

Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer. Eating garlic may also help prevent colds and other minor illnesses. Scientists believe these substantial health benefits may stem primarily from garlic's sulfur compounds such as allicin, diallyl disulfide and sallyl cysteine.

Rosemary (Antioxidants)

Did you know that even just smelling rosemary can give you a brain boost? Inhaling the scent can improve memory, focus and mood. Rosemary is also full of antioxidants! Many studies on rosemary focus on the extract or essential oils so more research is needed to understand the positive impact of adding rosemary to your diet.

Thanksgiving Tips I Have to Share

In addition to my favorite turkey and cranberry sauce recipes, I just had to share these Thanksgiving tips. They'll make your feast both tastier and easier to prepare.

  • The best way to chop rosemary: I'm a big advocate of home cooks learning the best way to chop different items. It makes cooking more efficient, and also more pleasurable. Watch my short video to see the best way to chop rosemary.
  • Don't throw out those turkey bones! This is more of a post-Thanksgiving tip but please save those turkey bones if you do go for a whole bird rather than a turkey breast. These bones are excellent for making homemade broth. If you've never made broth, you'll be so surprised at how easy and how delicious it is. Listen to this episode of my podcast Meal Prep Monday to learn how.
  • Get the right tools: Make sure you have a good zester or microplane so you can easily get the citrus zest you need to make these recipes shine.

Do these recipes work for Thanksgiving meal prep?

If you know me at all, you know the answer is yes! I'm always all about meal prep but that's never more true than for holidays. If I'm going to enjoy a holiday like Thanksgiving, I need to know that I'm going into it prepared.

As much as I love cooking, I don't want to spend the whole holiday in the kitchen. But I do want to serve homemade food my friends and family will love. Enter, meal prep!

To prep ahead, you can absolutely make the whole cranberry sauce recipe a couple of days ahead of time. If you don't want to do that though, definitely zest and juice your oranges.

For the turkey, make the marinade a couple of days ahead so it's easy to add the turkey breast to it 24 hours before you cook.

Tackling little tasks like this ahead of time really makes a difference when Thanksgiving day arrives!

Thanksgiving Meal Prep

Looking for more Gluten Free Thanksgiving recipes and resources?

When it comes to cooking a big holiday meal, you can never be too prepared! Here are a few of my favorite resources.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup: From appetizers to dessert, we've got you covered! These 15 gluten free Thanksgiving recipes can all be prepped ahead. Trust me, this is such a game changer when it comes to holiday stress!

Thanksgiving Activities and Traditions: Because, while the meal brings everyone together, Thanksgiving is about more than just the food. Try one of these activities this year to get everyone in the spirit of gratitude.

Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes: If you need more gluten free & paleo Thanksgiving recipes, my dairy-free mashed potatoes are a must! With only 5 ingredients, these are so simple and every bit as good as their dairy-filled counterparts. I also made a quick video for this recipe if you're a more visual person.

Prep Dish Entertainment Guide: If you'd like a prep-ahead plan for your entire Thanksgiving meal, check out my Entertainment guide. This bundle includes a Prep Dish style Thanksgiving menu so you can prep ahead for the big feast and relax and enjoy the day with your family. It also has a whole year's worth of celebratory, prep-ahead menus so you can always feel prepared and focus on making memories…not last minute dishes.

Want to pair with the perfect wine?

If you're looking for the perfect wine to serve at your Thanksgiving table, I highly recommend checking out Dry Farm Wines! It's organically farmed, sugar free, lower in sulfites and free of toxic additives. It's also keto and paleo-friendly!

Perhaps most importantly, it tastes great and always leaves me feeling good the day after I drink it. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

What's on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Are you planning to make recipes in advance or do most of the work the day of?  Share your ideas and pictures on Facebook or Instagram @prepdish or leave a comment below.

This page contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of Prep Dish!

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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

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1 Comment

  1. Allison Schaaf

    5 stars
    I make this every year at Thanksgiving! Leftovers are perfect on a charcuterie board 🙂


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