My friends from The Clean Team (good old Dr. Junger & Dhru Purohit) sent over some great recipes to prep you for next week’s Thanksgiving’s festivities. I love a brined, stuffed and roasted turkey as much as anyone, but if you’re just cooking for two, maybe a smaller bird is more up your alley – and coupled with a beautiful side and a delicious dessert, you will be The King or Queen of happy bellies & full hearts. Between their beautiful roasted chicken preparation drizzled in a silken mushroom and leek gravy, an acorn squash wedge salad on the side, and almond butter bites (dipped in chocolate)…well, I would say this is some gobble gobble good cooking. Plus, there’s no carb coma aftermath because as you can imagine, they are all Clean Eats. Thank the good doctor!
Oven Roasted Chicken Breast with Mushroom and Leek Gravy
Mushrooms have been shown to boost vitamin D levels, heighten immunity and make a delicious gravy when combined with sautéed leeks and fragrant herbs. This would make a great meal anytime of the year, but it’s also a wonderful alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey, in case you didn’t get a free-range turkey this year.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 free-range chicken breasts (skin on and bone in)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 tablespoon sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
For the Gravy:
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large leeks, greens removed, white section sliced in half (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups bone broth (or vegetable or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme
Squeeze of lemon
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons ground kudzu root combined with 1⁄4 cup water (arrowroot powder will also work)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken breasts on a baking dish then drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt, black pepper, and a generous sprinkle of crushed fennel seed. Move the chicken into the oven and depending on the thickness, bake for 20-25 minutes. While the chicken cooks, prepare the gravy. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, then add the leeks. Stir, then allow to soften, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add in the mushrooms, stir to combine, then continue to cook and allow the ingredients to lightly brown. Stir in the garlic, cook until fragrant, then pour in the bone broth. Bring to a simmer and allow the liquid to reduce slowly over medium heat. Once the chicken is done, remove from the oven and allow to rest. Finish the sauce by dissolving 1 tablespoon kudzu root in 2 tablespoons of water, then adding it to the gravy. Once the liquid thickens, pour half into a blender and purée. Pour the purée back into the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon, the fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of sea salt. To serve, slice the chicken against the grain, then cover with the gravy.
Roasted Acorn Squash Wedge Salad
This is a great way to enjoy some of the last fall greens, or if lettuce is no longer available where you live, try heartier mixed greens or just the acorn squash and sauce alone. Sunflowers are high in vitamin E (the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant), magnesium and selenium, and this delicious sauce has many uses, so don’t be surprised if it becomes a regular in your kitchen.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1-2 hearts of romaine (or a few handfuls of any mixed greens)
1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed, then cut into wedges
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
A sprinkle of sea salt
For the Sunflower Sauce:
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. After slicing and removing the seeds from the acorn squash, place the wedges onto a baking dish, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for about 25 minutes or until soft. Once cooked through, remove the squash from the oven and let cool to room temperature. While it’s cooling, make the toasted sunflower seed sauce by blending all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy, using as much water as needed to reach desired consistency. Serve large wedges of romaine on each plate along with the acorn squash slices, and drizzle a generous amount of the toasted sunflower seed sauce over the top. Enjoy!
Almond Butter Bites
These protein packed little treats are not only delicious and taste like dessert, but they’re easy to whip up. They keep for a long time and are great to take with you on all of your adventures. Nourishing and hunger satiating, these truffles make a great breakfast, post-workout snack, mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or dessert. You can even dip them in chocolate and give them as a beautiful gift. And instead of snacking on processed candy this Thanksgiving, use these goodies as a yummy, clean alternative.
Makes: approximately twelve one-ounce truffles
1 cup of almond butter
1⁄4 cup almond flour (plus a little extra for sprinkling at the end)
2 tablespoons mesquite meal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (omit this ingredient if on Gut Cleanse)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
*If you can’t find mesquite meal, you can replace the mesquite with almond flour, carob or cacao powder. The flavor will be different but still tasty.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Roll out 1 ounce balls and place them on a lined baking sheet or plate. Note: these will soften more the longer they sit out at room temperature. Put them in the fridge or freezer to firm up. They are best eaten right out of the fridge or you can take them out of the freezer and enjoy once slightly softened. You can leave the truffles as they are, or you can roll them in any topping of your choice. We rolled the truffles in almond flour, but you can also roll them in coconut flakes, cinnamon, coconut sugar or cacao nibs. You can even roll them in melted chocolate and then put them back into the fridge or freezer to firm up. These truffles will last for months in the fridge and even longer in the freezer.