Thanksgiving for two: Hazelnut Crusted Turkey Breast

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Thanksgiving is pretty much a family event, but if like us, you are saving your vacation days for Christmas, you’ll be spending it alone. Last year we just ordered Chinese food, but this year I thought I would try to keep a little of the day’s spirit by making a mini version of the meal. I thought briefly about buying a whole turkey to eat for the next year but my horrible apartment oven likes to turn off without warning, and I couldn’t risk having a half-cooked giant bird in a broken oven. But since turkey was a must, and since I could not find a turkey leg in the whole city, I grabbed a couple turkey breasts instead. I usually avoid turkey breast because it’s devastatingly dry and flavorless, but this recipe is nice and juicy thanks to a good long brine.

Crushed hazelnuts add some healthy fat, wonderful crunch, and a welcome, unexpected flavor.

Paired with my grain-free stuffing, you have a simple, delicious, guilt-free Thanksgiving meal.

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Thanksgiving for two: Hazelnut Crusted Turkey Breast

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Top this easy dish with chopped dried cranberries for a kick of tart sweetness.


  • 1 lb turkey breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • For the brine: 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)


  1. Mix together salt and sugar with a little hot water to melt the sugar, and fill a large bowl half with cold water and let the turkey sit in the fridge for about an hour.
  2. While turkey is brining, crush the hazelnuts with a mallet in a plastic bag, pulse in a food processor, or, my favorite method, grind up in a clean coffee grinder for a few seconds. Be careful not to overdo it or you'll end up with hazelnut butter.
  3. Mix the crushed hazelnuts with thyme, salt, and pepper, and pour onto a large plate.
  4. In a small dish, beat an egg with a little salt and pepper, and pour onto a plate.
  5. Drain and rinse turkey, pat dry and dunk it first into the egg mixture, and then carefully roll it in the nuts. place in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the turkey is completely cooked through.

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One Response to Thanksgiving for two: Hazelnut Crusted Turkey Breast

  1. Eugene says:

    It looks like you made a extra one… send it over :)

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