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Cranberry Quinoa Stuffed Turkey with Olive Oil Herb Pesto Rub


  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup celery, stalk and tender leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon, finely grate zest and separate juice
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil plus 2 Tbl
  • 1 (12 pound-14 pound) organic whole turkey, rinsed, pat dry, heart, and gizzard removed for stock
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups chicken stock
Cranberry Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Alter Eco Rainbow Quinoa (about 3 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 teas bags Numi Organic Savory Carrot Curry Tea
  • 3 Tbl California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup whites and tender green chopped leeks
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice
  • 2 Tbl turkey broth from cooked turkey or chicken stock
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbl chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans


  1. Remove turkey from refrigerator 2 hours before baking. About 1 hour after the turkey has been removed from refrigerator, remove packaging, remove giblets, pat the cavity and outside dry with a paper towel. Separate the turkey breast skin from the meat by gently sliding hand between the two. Rub the Herb Pesto between the breast skin and meat, and into the turkey’s cavity. Cover and allow bird to sit at least 1 more hour. Alternative method: Prepare the herb pesto and rub on turkey as directed above, wrap turkey in plastic wrap, set into a large roasting pan and refrigerate overnight. Remove turkey from refrigerator 2 hours before baking.
  2. To make Herb Pest Rub: Place parsley, celery, basil, thyme, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Add ½ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and pulse until pesto like in consistency.
  3. Set rack on lowest position in oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Pour chicken stock or turkey giblet stock into roasting pan with prepared turkey. Add carrots and onions into the cavity of the turkey and into the stock. Sprinkle salt and pepper over skin and in the cavity of the turkey. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at high heat. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Baste with garlic-lemon olive oil and pan juice.
  4. To make Lemon-Garlic Olive Oil: Combine 2 tablespoons California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oill, 1/2 lemon juiced, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, and a few grind of black pepper.
  5. Baste with Lemon-Garlic Olive Oil and pan juice every 30 minutes until turkey reaches 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, about 2-2 ½ hours.
  6. Transfer turkey to a baking sheet, insert warm cranberry quinoa into cavity, if desired, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Cranberry Quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Place quinoa, water, and tea bags in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook 15 minutes on low. Uncover, remove tea bags, fluff quinoa with a fork, cover and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet, add leaves and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery and garlic and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add quinoa, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and stir in about 2 tablespoons of cooking broth from turkey or chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste; cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Toss parsley, cranberries, and pecans into seasoned quinoa pilaf. Stuff into cavity of a cooked turkey or transfer to a serving dish and serve.

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