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Back Pocket Recipe: Julia Turshen’s Thanksgiving Menu

Back Pocket Recipe: Julia Turshen’s Thanksgiving Menu

Words Julia Turshen

OXO friend Julia Turshen, author of the bestselling cookbook Now & Again, is known for her go-to recipes, inspired menus and endless ideas for reinventing leftovers. It’s only fitting that we share the Thanksgiving menu that Julia relies on year after year.

We all have recipes that we keep coming back to. They’re the ones we lean on for dinner parties or potlucks. The ones we make when we aren’t feeling ambitious, but still want impressive results. We make them over and over again and always get rave reviews. At OXO, we like to call them our back pocket recipes.

These recipes are too good not to share, and that’s what inspired us to start collecting them. So we’re getting back pocket recipes from our favorite chefs, influencers, cookbook authors and OXOnians, so you too can have a back pocket recipe to rely on.

OXO friend Julia Turshen recently published her latest cookbook, Now & Again. The book features go-to recipes, inspired menus and endless ideas for reinventing leftovers. It’s only fitting that the book includes a Thanksgiving menu that Julia relies on year after year. Check it out below.

Roast Turkey Breast + Onions with Mustard + Sage

I often make one small whole turkey and an extra turkey breast for my Thanksgiving. Most of the crowd at my house prefers white meat, and I really like it left over for sandwiches, so this plan makes the most sense for our holiday. This is my go-to recipe for turkey breast that is the opposite of dry and boring and also cooks so quickly, which is the antithesis of most Thanksgiving turkey. The real trick here is getting boneless, skin-on turkey breasts, which you essentially treat as really large boneless chicken breasts. To serve twelve, you’ll need more than one turkey breast. If you don’t have a roasting pan large enough to roast the turkey breasts in a single layer, use two pans (double the onions, oil, and water and rotate the pans halfway through roasting).: Serves 12


½ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground

black pepper

1 large bunch fresh sage

6 lb boneless, skin-on turkey breast halves, at room temperature, patted dry with paper towels (see Note)

2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced (as if you were making onion rings)

2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced (as if you were making onion rings)

2 tablespoon olive oil

¾ cup water


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, salt, and pepper. Pick 12 sage leaves from their stems (reserve the stems and the remaining sage), mince them, add them to the mustard mixture, and mix well. Rub the mixture all over the turkey breasts. If you have time, it’s nice to let the meat sit at room temperature for an hour with the seasonings before roasting (or up to overnight in the refrigerator, but bring it back to room temperature before roasting).
  3. Place the onions on the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey breasts comfortably in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and arrange the remaining sage (including the stems from the leaves you minced) over the onions. Place the turkey breasts, skin-side up, on top of the onions. Pour the water into the pan, being careful not to pour it directly on the turkey.
  4. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°F and continue to roast until the turkey is firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each breast registers 165°F, 25 to 35 more minutes, depending on the thickness.
  5. Transfer the turkey breasts to a cutting board and let them rest for at least 15 minutes. Remove and discard the sage leaves from the roasting pan and transfer the onions to a serving platter, preferably a warmed one.
  6. Transfer the pan juices to your gravy and let them simmer and make the gravy even better than it already is. Alternatively, if you’re not making gravy, keep the pan juices for serving.
  7. Once rested, slice the turkey as thinly or thickly as you like. Place the slices on top of the onions and drizzle with the gravy or pan juices. Serve warm.
  8. Note: If you can find only bone-in turkey breasts, either have your butcher take them off the bone or do it yourself (it’s not as hard as it seems; just get a sharp knife and follow the bones) and use the bones for stock for your gravy. If you buy turkey breasts on the bone, note that they should weigh more (add about 2 lb to the total weight). If your turkey breasts come tied like a roast or in netting, remove all of that and just keep them nice and flat (this way they will cook more quickly and are less likely to dry out).

Sheet Pan Bread Stuffing with Sausage + Spinach

Since stuffing rarely appears separate from Thanksgiving, it’s an inherently nostalgic and meaningful dish. I bake my stuffing on a sheet pan so the crispy-to-soft ratio is basically one to one. If you prefer it softer, bake it in a smaller vessel like a baking dish.: Serves 12


1¼ lb country bread or sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 9 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb Italian fennel

sausages, casings removed

2 yellow onions, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt

12 large fresh sage leaves, tough stems discarded, minced

1½ cups chicken or turkey stock

One 10-oz package frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry, and roughly chopped

2 large handfuls of fresh Italian parsley leaves (a little bit of stem is fine!), finely chopped

3 eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, finely diced


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and toast, stirring now and then, until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set the bread aside to cool. You can skip this step if you use stale bread.
  3. Meanwhile, put the olive oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage and cook, stirring now and then, until all of the fat is rendered and the meat is crisp and browned, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and turn down the heat to medium. Cook the vegetables, stirring now and then, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sage and stock and turn the heat to high. Once it is at a boil, turn off the heat. Stir in the spinach, parsley, and reserved bread. Taste the mixture and season with salt if more is needed. Add the eggs and give everything one good final stir.
  5. Line the sheet pan you toasted the bread on with parchment paper. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the pan and spread it out in an even layer. Dot the top with the butter. Bake until the top is browned and the edges are nice and crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Julia Turshen Thanksgiving

Radicchio + Roasted Squash Salad

This salad is especially great for the holiday not only for its wonderful fall flavors but also because it’s hearty and can sit on a buffet table for hours without losing any integrity or flavor. In fact, you can mix the whole thing up to a day before, refrigerate it, and then bring it to room temperature before serving. If you can find delicata squash, try it (just seed it, no need to peel it). Note that if you can’t find squash (or if you dislike it), sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute.: Serves 12


3 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise, tough skin peeled and ends trimmed and discarded, seeded, and cut into 1-in pieces

¾ cup olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

3 heads radicchio, each about ½ lb , cored and thinly sliced


  1. Position one rack in the center of your oven and a second rack in the top third and preheat to 400°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Divide the squash evenly between the prepared pans, then drizzle each pan with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss everything.
  3. Roast the squash, stirring once or twice along the way and switching the pans between the racks and rotating them back to front halfway through the roasting, until softened and browned, about 30 minutes. Set the squash aside to cool down a bit.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, vinegar, and garlic. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining ½ cup olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the reserved squash and the radicchio to the bowl and use your hands to combine everything gently (messy, but fun).
  5. Transfer the salad to a serving platter and serve immediately (or within a few hours; it holds well at room temperature).

Squash Grilled Cheese

Make delicious vegetarian sandwiches by spreading mayonnaise on both sides of two slices of bread, top with your favorite melting cheese (such as Cheddar or Muenster), and add a large handful of leftover radicchio and squash salad. Close the sandwich and cook in a skillet until browned on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 1½ minutes per side (the mayonnaise will help the exterior brown). Serve with mustard and pickles. See the cover of the book if you need any convincing!

Use our essential guide to Thanksgiving cooking tools so you have everything you need in preparation for your holiday cooking.

Recipes reprinted and adapted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018

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