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A Fresh Take on Thanksgiving

**This is sponsored in partnership with Walmart and SheKnows Media.

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving | Bakers Royale

We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving. Are you ready to feast? This year, I’ve partnered with Walmart to bring this fresh and healthy Thanksgiving menu that features: Orange and Sage Turkey, Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa Salad and a Blistered Green Bean and Zucchini Slaw with Pesto.

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving via Bakers Royale

I love that Walmart can handle all my Thanksgiving needs – from main dish to side dishes, and even the tabletop, they have it all handled. That means, less time running from store to store and more time for prepping and merry making. In keeping with that, you’ll notice that the recipes are easy to make and come together quickly. Each one starts with fresh ingredients, with some of them like the sweet potatoes, green beans and carrots are already prepped and packaged for convenience.

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving | Blistered Green Beans and Zucchini Salad with Pesto | Ingredients via Bakers Royale

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving | Blistered Green and Zucchini Salad with Pesto via Bakers Royale

I’m all about the shortcuts that Walmart’s Marketside pre-prepped vegetables provide because as much as I love to cook, I want to be out of the kitchen sooner rather than later. For me the holidays are all about the family, friends and the gathering. With that, this year I skipped the making homemade rolls for the buttery Marketside rolls because my boys love them for the flavor and flaky texture. Of course I do too, but even more so because that is one less thing to make.

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving | Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa Salad | Ingredients via Bakers Royale

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving | Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa Salad via Bakers Royale

Now all I have to figure out is how to get ready in less time than my current 30-minute routine. There’s always sleeping with eating pants to shave a few minutes off, but Matt keeps telling me that’s probably not acceptable—insert big sigh here.

Healthy ish Thanksgiving Bakers Royale1 600x600

this recipe

A Fresh Take On Thanksgiving

Yield: Serves 6 to 8


Orange and Sage Turkey | Serves 6-8

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours

  • 1 8 to 10 lbs. turkey, giblets removed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •  Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa Salad | Serves 6-8

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 12 oz. diced sweet potatoes,
  • 1 large red apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 8 packed cups of mixed greens

Citrus and Shallot Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh citrus juice
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blistered Green Bean and Zucchini with Pesto | Serves 6-8

Prep time: 20 minutes |Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves (about 3 large bunches)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • zest of lemon
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 oil packed anchovy
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz. green beans, stem end trimmed
  • ½ lb. carrots
  • ½ lb. zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)



Orange and Sage Turkey

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat turkey dry with paper towel and place it on a rack in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, orange zest, sage, garlic, salt and pepper to create a paste. Lift the turkey’s skin at the neck and gently separate the skin from breast meat. Rub about half of the compound butter under the skin, covering the breast meat. Rub the remaining butter over the skin of the turkey and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey for  about 2 to 3 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F. Start checking for doneness at 1 hour and 45 minutes. Make sure to baste the turkey every 30 minutes with drippings. If the the skin starts too darken too quickly, tent it with foil.  Remove the turkey from the oven and let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.

To make Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa Salad: 

For each quinoa, bring to cups of water to boil. Add 1 cup of quinoa , cover and simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa, spread it out on a baking sheet and refrigerate to chill about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the the sweet potatoes onto a baking a sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once, until golden and softened. Let cool.

In the meantime, make the vinaigrette by adding all the ingredients to a small jar, close and vigorously shake until well blended.

In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, parsley, basil, pine nuts and greens. Drizzle vinaigrette on top, gently toss and serve immediately.

Blistered Green Bean and Zucchini with Pesto

To make the pesto: Add the basil, oil and lemon juice into in a food processor bowl and process until well blended. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until paste forms, stopping to scrape side of bowl and push down the mixture as needed.

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, stir to coat. Cook until green beans are slightly charred and crisp-tender about 4 minutes. Transfer green beans to a plate. Heat two more tablespoons of oil, add the zucchini and cook until slightly charred, stirring once for even cooking, about 4 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to plate with green beans. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, add the carrots and stir to coat, cook until tender about 4 minutes. Add the the green beans, zucchini and carrots into a bowl with 1 cup of pest and stir to coat the vegetables generously. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.