I named this recipe Cranberry Brussels Sprouts with Turkey because the Brussels are the featured ingredient — the turkey is delicious and turns this into a one-pot meal (which I love for weeknights — easy setup, easy cleanup), but you can do this without the turkey and it will be just as wonderful as a side (and totally vegan if that’s your thing). I promise.
This combination of ingredients might seem weird (it did to my husband), but I can promise you that it’s delicious and totally not weird! We both wolfed it down for dinner last night, and I happily ate leftovers for lunch today. I happened to already have ground turkey cooked in the freezer for this dish (a great versatile ingredient to have on hand, by the way!), but in case you don’t have cooked ground meat ready to go, I have quick instructions right before the main recipe to help you out. (it will add about 15 minutes to your total cook time).
You might read this recipe and think to yourself “This sure seems fattening.” It’s true that there’s a lot of fat in this recipe. Between the coconut oil, macadamia nuts, and the olive oil, it adds up. However…
Fatty doesn’t equal Fattening
Dietary fat doesn’t necessarily lead to body fat. In truth, excess carbohydrates (especially the refined, high-glycemic ones) are more likely to lead to fat storage over time, according to a number of studies. It’s also true that some fats are better than others, and this recipe is jam-packed with some of the best fat there is. In fact, coconut oil has been shown in a host of studies to promote fat LOSS. And macadamia nuts are rich in Omega 3s, the heart healthy fat that most of us don’t get enough of. Olive oil is a delicious, monounsaturated fat that brings another awesome set of nutrients into your system to promote fat loss.
Of course, adding excessive calories to your diet won’t help you maintain your weight, but replacing refined carbohydrates, sweets, and/or grains with highly beneficial fats, proteins, and veggies most certainly will. (And please note that I add the extra virgin olive oil after cooking, not during. Avoiding the heat keeps all the healthy attributes intact.)
As someone who has trouble moderating sweets, I have noticed that I often crave them right after a meal. It’s almost this primal feeling within me that I won’t be satisfied until something sweet hits my tongue. Fat is a great source of satiety in food. I’ve personally found that when I replace carbohydrates with healthy fats in a meal, my need for sweets at the end is all but gone. This is, in part, due to a hormone called leptin, which tells the brain that we have had enough and our fat stores are sufficient. Don’t just take my word for it though, Dr. Ron Rosedale and Dr. Mercola have a good bit to say about leptin that reflects the advice I’m giving here:
“The solution is to … eat a diet that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes — in short the dietary program … [that] emphasizes healthy fats, lean meats and vegetables, and restricts sugar and grains.”
After this meal, I didn’t even think about dessert. And coming from me, that’s a pretty big deal.
Cranberry Brussels Sprouts and Turkey
Serves 4 or 3 very hungry people
If you need to cook your turkey, start here:
- Heat your skillet
- Add ghee or coconut oil
- DON’T salt the meat, just throw it on (about 1 lb)
- Cook until browned and most of the liquid has cooked off, then add in whatever herbs, spices, and salt you’d like – for this particular batch, I used garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh parsley and oregano from the garden.
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped and rinsed
- 1 lb cooked ground dark meat turkey (as always, shoot for organic here)
- 1/4 cup fresh cranberries (this is the part Loren thought was weird)
- 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I just pulsed them a few times in the food processor to break them up)
- 1-2 tbs coconut oil
- aged balsamic vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- REAL salt or sea salt
- black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 500F
- Heat a large skillet
- (Cook meat here and then remove if you haven’t already done that, no need to clean the pan, just go to step 4)
- Add coconut oil and cranberries and cover on medium high until they soften
- While that’s cooking, chop and rinse your Brussels
- Add in the Brussels, stirring until coated
- Drizzle the aged balsamic over Brussels and stir in (shouldn’t be more than a tablespoon, but use your judgment) until coated
- Cover for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Stir in salt, chopped nuts, and cooked meat (if you’ve already salted the meat, go easy on the extra salt)
- Place skillet in the oven for about 15 minutes
- After removing from the oven, drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons EVOO over the top
- Serve piping hot