Thanksgiving Turkey Breast, Pot Pie, and Pumpkin Cannelloni

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on August 20, 2014
From the WebMD Archives

This Thanksgiving, many Americans will sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a big oven-roasted turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, and perhaps a pie or two.

A classic Thanksgiving is always fun. But what if there are just a few people and you don't want to cook a whole bird? What if you're vegetarian? Or, if you do go for the whole turkey, are you ready to try something new with the leftovers?

Try these recipes for a grilled turkey breast with a fresh-herb rub, a quick turkey pot pie, and a vegetarian Thanksgiving entrée -- pumpkin cannelloni.

Grilled Herbed Turkey Breast

You'll need a large indoor grill for this recipe.


2.5- to 2.75-pound turkey breast (if bone is included)

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1.5 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves

5 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Remove skin from turkey breast and discard. Cut the turkey breast away from the bone into two equal-sized fillets.
  2. Start preheating your indoor grill on high. Meanwhile, combine herb rub ingredients -- parsley, sage, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil -- in a processor bowl by pulsing for about 10 seconds.
  3. Use your hand or a spatula to spread the herb rub on both sides of each fillet. When grill is ready, arrange turkey fillets on grill so that the grill top rests evenly on both pieces of turkey. Cook about 14 minutes (if fillets are 2 inches thick). Test the thickest part of the turkey fillet to make sure it's cooked throughout. Collect some drippings in the tray of your grill -- you can use this and scrapings from the top and bottom grill plates to make a gravy.
  4. Remove turkey fillets to a serving platter and let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 215 calories, 39 grams protein, 0.3 grams carbohydrate, 5.5 grams fat, 0.9 grams saturated fat, 3.6 grams monounsaturated fat, 0.8 grams polyunsaturated fat, 106 mg cholesterol, 0.1 gram fiber, 63 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 23%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.1 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = 0.7 gram.

Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie

This is a great option for people who want to have turkey but have a smaller gathering and don’t want to go through the hassle of roasting a whole turkey. It's also a good use of leftover turkey.

You can find whole-wheat pie crust in tins at supermarkets. You can let the crust defrost in the pan, and then invert the pan over a sheet of parchment and roll it out to create a flat crust.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

3/4 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper

1/3 cup unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

14 1/2-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth (or 1.5 cups broth made from packets or cubes)

1 cup whole milk (2% low-fat milk or fat-free half-and-half can be substituted)

2 to 2.5 cups roasted turkey, diced or shredded into bite-size pieces

1 cup frozen shelled edamame (soybeans) or peas

1 whole-wheat pie crust (packaged or homemade)


  1. Coat a deep 9-inch cake pan or pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Add oil to large saucepan and add in the onion, mushrooms, celery, and red pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, combine the flour, poultry seasoning, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to blend.
  3. Once the vegetables are just tender, stir in the flour mixture and immediately add the broth and milk all at once. Cook, stirring over medium heat until thickened and bubbly (about 3 to 5 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the turkey and edamame. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.
  4. Lay the prepared crust over the filling. You will have extra pie crust around the edges of the pan. You can tuck the extra crust under to form a side crust, turn the edges of the crust under and flute the top edges of the dish, or trim the excess with a knife and cut out small leaves or other shapes to decorate the pie's top.
  5. Place the dish on a jelly roll pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 321 calories, 23 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 6.5 g monounsaturated fat, 3.3 g polyunsaturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 232 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 35%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.3 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = 3 grams

Pumpkin Cannelloni

This vegetarian dish uses thyme Parmesan crepes for the cannelloni dough. To make this dish dairy-free, substitute soy milk for the fat-free half-and-half or milk, delete the Parmesan cheese, substitute silken or mashed firm tofu for the ricotta cheese, and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the top instead of browned butter.

Ingredients for the thyme Parmesan crepes:

1 large egg

1 1/8 cup fat-free half-and-half (low-fat milk or whole milk can be substituted)

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (you can turn shredded parmesan into grated by running through a food processor)

1 teaspoon French thyme, dried

Ingredients for the pumpkin filling:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1.5 cups canned pumpkin (about one, 15-ounce can)

2/3 cup part-skim or whole-milk ricotta

Ingredients for the topping:

1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons whipped butter, salted

2 tablespoons sliced or chopped fresh sage, packed


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 7 X 11-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl, blender, or food processor, combine the egg with the fat-free half-and-half or milk. Add in the whole-wheat and white flours and continue to blend until the batter is smooth.
  3. Stir the Parmesan and thyme into the batter with a whisk or spoon.
  4. Place a 6-inch crepe pan or 8-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, coat with canola cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and tilt pan to cover the bottom with the batter. When edges dry and start to pull away from the pan, turn the crepe over to cook the other side (about 30 seconds).
  5. Remove crepe to plate and repeat with remaining batter. When all the crepes are cooked, continue with the recipe.
  6. To make filling, heat olive oil in nonstick medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in onions and sauté until golden (about 3 minutes). Turn off heat and stir in brown sugar. Once brown sugar has liquefied somewhat, stir in the pumpkin and ricotta cheese.
  7. Lay one crepe on plate and spread a slightly rounded 1/4 cup of pumpkin filling down the center. Roll the crepe into a tube and place in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and crepes -- there should be enough filling to make 8 crepes. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top of the crepes, cover dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes more.
  8. Once crepes are baking for the final 10 minutes, add whipped butter to a small nonstick saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the butter has foamed up and then died back down. The butter will be a golden color with dark brown sediment at the bottom, and it will have a caramel-like fragrance. Turn off heat and stir in the sage.
  9. When the cannelloni has finished baking, drizzle the browned butter with sage evenly over the cannelloni in the dish and serve.

Yield: 8 crepes

Per crepe: 209 calories, 9.5 g protein, 23.5 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 3 gram monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 205 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.1 gram. Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.4