Healthy Turkey Rub Recipe
Healthy Holiday Foods don’t have to be boring! I know some people love to spend all day in the kitchen when it comes to the holidays . . . I’m just not one of those people. Even on special occasions I’m still a cook that likes fast and easy. Luckily this seasoning only takes about five minutes. And, this herb rub is not only super quick to make, it also does double duty. It can be used as a turkey rub recipe or a roasted vegetables seasoning. Make one batch and add it to both foods.
I grew up with the whole basting the bird concept – lots of butter rubbed on the turkey and then the butter and turkey fat religiously moved from the drippings pan every hour and lathered onto the turkey. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against butter, but over the years, more and more of my family have needed to monitor the amount of added fats they eat. So, this turkey rub recipe has become a staple in our house. Plus, in truth, don’t tell my mother, but I actually like the taste of these healthy holiday foods better.
Fresh or Dried for Healthy Holiday Foods
Right around the end of October frost begins to hit our area. Which means it’s time to cut back all the herbs and hope they’ll survive the winter and give us fresh new herbs come next Spring. We dry the herbs for future use. Sometimes I dry them as full pieces and sometimes I’ll make this type of herb rub and dry the combination (same with the herbs for Italian Dressing). I love that dried herbs can be put in a clean jar and stored for up to a year! Obviously the flavor of the herbs degrades over time so try to use them as soon possible for the best taste.
When ever possible though, I love adding fresh flavors to our foods. This turkey rub recipe is perfect for making healthy holiday foods. Using the fresh herbs gives a beautiful flavor that I think is better than any butter basted turkey. I’m sure there are people that would disagree with me but I challenge you to try it . . . this seasoning really does add so much flavor.
Using the Seasoning
Dried or fresh there’s a couple different ways to use this herb rub for turkey breast seasoning. If you have a skinless breast you can just rub into onto the meat. If you have a full turkey or a breast with the skin still attached, I recommend gently lifting the skin from the meat (but don’t remove the skin all together). Cover the meat with the rub, including the breast and legs of a full turkey, then replace the skin to keep the herbs in place and the moisture in the bird. So, the herbs are between the meat and the skin.
When using this recipe for roasted vegetables seasoning, toss the vegetables with the herb rub until the seasoning is evenly distributed among the vegetables. I like this herb rub on pretty much any type of vegetable. Here’s a video if you need more ideas.
Mix Up the Ingredients
I’m giving you my basic recipe here but feel free to mix it up depending on what you are cooking. With turkey I use more sage than rosemary. With vegetables I use more rosemary than sage. When roasting a chicken I sometimes use tarragon instead of sage. With lamb I add mint. If I’m pairing with a tomato sauce I use marjoram instead of sage. There isn’t any one size fits all – it depends on what your family likes.
Also, this basic recipe uses Herbamare and white pepper. First, Herbamare isn’t essential you could use good old sea salt. I just like the additional dried flavors of celery, leek, cress, onion, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and kelp. Most larger grocery stores now carry it or you can buy it online. Second, sometimes I use black pepper and sometimes I use white pepper (one time I used tri-colored peppercorns). The decision mostly depends on how “spicy” I want the outcome. White pepper has a tendency to be a bit spicier than traditional black pepper. Sometimes it’s also a visual. I don’t like seeing black flecks on chicken or turkey but they disappear into lamb. Again, use whatever you think your family will like best.
Herb Rub Ingredients:
- 2 bunches of fresh sage
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon Herbamare
- Ground white pepper
- Remove leaves from sage and rosemary stalks. In a small food processor, pulse herbs, garlic, Herbamare, and white pepper until pretty fine.
- Use fresh or allow to dry. If drying, store in tightly sealed jar for up to a year.
If you’re more of a visual learning, here is the video on making this recipe.