Turkey is an underrated meat. We reserve its delectability for Thanksgiving, and ignore that it’s affordable and versatile for the rest of the year. The price of turkey at my local Whole Foods was $6.99/pound. That’s a stellar price for clean meat (ethically raised, without antibiotics or pesticides).
You guys remember my motto: easy, low-stress, affordable. We’re hitting all the marks here.
I understand if you have suffered dry Thanksgiving turkey trauma – I’ve been there. The thought of producing anything delicious out of turkey after that experience can be daunting, but do not fear. This recipe is sure to turn around any trepidation you have about using turkey in new and fresh ways.
This Asian-inspired recipe has very little that is cooked – it’s somewhere between a salad and a rice bowl. Packed with fresh herbs and veggies, this is immune-boosting meal is a direct download of minerals and vitamins that your body needs to protect itself against nasty spring respiratory illness. On top of that, the flavor combinations are out of this world; if you’ve been looking to add some flavor back into your cooking, this recipe is a great way to break out of your routine and try some new tastes.
As you may know, the growing season in California is early and long. All kinds of fruit are flooding into my local produce market – peaches, nectarines, mango, watermelon. Having more seasonal fruit available has been impacting my taste in a big way, and I wanted to figure out how to combine the freshness of fruit into this tangy recipe without ruining the texture.
In comes watermelon – its consistency fit perfectly alongside cucumber and carrot, and the taste combination with the sauce is intergalactic.
I’m excited for you guys to enjoy this fresh, creative, and complex recipe! Don’t let the number of ingredients fool you – this one is dead easy to create, as most of the work is chopping fresh vegetables. Find the ingredient list and steps below.
Gluten-Free Asian Watermelon Turkey Bowl Recipe
- 3 ½ pounds turkey breast
- ¼ cup tamari gluten-free soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- ½ jalapeno sliced
- 1 lemon fresh squeezed juice
- 1 lime fresh squeezed juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 ½ packets maifun rice noodles
- 2 cups of chopped crimini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil of your choice
- 1 head fresh spearmint chopped
- 1 head fresh basil chopped ideally Thai basil but I used regular basil
- 1 head fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 small or ½ large watermelon cubed
- 2 English cucumbers cubed
- 2 carrots shredded
- ½ head of green onions chopped
- 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
Marinate the turkey
Chop your mushrooms and season them with a dash of salt.
Prepare your fresh toppings. Chop and cube your cucumber, watermelon, and green onion. Shred your carrots.
Next, chop your herbs that will also serve as toppings. These are your basil, spearmint, and cilantro.
Prepare the turkey. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a wok and heat. As your oil is heating, strain your turkey, leaving the leftover marinade in the bowl - when we cook it down this will become our topping sauce. When your oil is sizzling, add the turkey chunks. Cook until they are browned and juicy.
Place your rice noodles in a ceramic bowl and boil a kettle full of water. When your water is boiled, pour over your rice noodles and let sit for 10 minutes.
Pour your leftover marinade into a medium saucepan and heat.
Simmer until you see your sauce start to brown and thicken - this should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat, and strain into a medium bowl.
STEP ONE – MARINATE THE TURKEY
Roughly cube your fresh turkey breast and put it in a large bowl. No need to spice the meat as the marinade is going right on top.
Next, prepare all your marinade ingredients.
Combine them well and pour over your turkey chunks. Make sure to stir to disperse the marinade evenly all over the turkey. Cover and set aside (ideally for at least an hour, but you could leave for much long, or 30 minutes less depending on time constraints).
STEP TWO – SAUTE THE MUSHROOMS
Chop your mushrooms and season them with a dash of salt.
Next, put a tablespoon of cooking oil in a medium skillet and heat. When the oil is sizzling, add your mushrooms and saute until they are browned on all sides. Put in a small bowl and set aside, they are meant to be cool when used as a topping.
STEP THREE – PREPARE YOUR FRESH TOPPINGS
I always serve this meal family style, meaning that I put all my topping ingredients on big cutting boards and let folks create their own bowl by grabbing what they want. You could put all these ingredients in separate bowls if you’d like – it’s up to your preference.
Next, chop your herbs that will also serve as toppings. These are your basil, spearmint, and cilantro. Set aside on your serving table.
STEP FOUR – COOK THE TURKEY
I use a large wok for this step. If you don’t own a wok, a large skillet or saucepan will do just fine.
Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a wok and heat. As your oil is heating, strain your turkey, leaving the leftover marinade in the bowl – when we cook it down this will become our topping sauce.
When your oil is sizzling, add the turkey chunks. Cook until they are browned and juicy.
Set aside your cooked turkey chunks in a bowl and cover. The next steps will only take about 15 more minutes, so they will still be hot when you serve up.
STEP FIVE – PREPARE THE RICE NOODLES
Place your rice noodles in a ceramic bowl and boil a kettle full of water. You are boiling enough water to entirely cover your noodles. When your water is boiled, pour over your rice noodles and let sit for 10 minutes. The timing should be pretty exact, so don’t let them go over 10 minutes without straining or they’ll get mushy.
When your timer for 10 minutes goes off, strain the rice noodles and return to the bowl. Place on your serving table.
STEP SIX – SIMMER DOWN THE SAUCE
This is a good step to do in those 10 minutes that your rice noodles are soaking, but if you’re not a multi-tasker, complete this step after you strain the noodles instead of simultaneously.
Pour your leftover marinade into a medium saucepan and heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
Simmer until you see your sauce start to brown and thicken – this should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat, and strain into a medium bowl. The straining removes any cooked fat or pieces of turkey that were left in the marinade. After you strain, set the bowl on your serving table with a mint garnish.
STEP SEVEN – CREATE BOWLS AND ENJOY
Bring everything out to your serving table, and set out two small bowls with your black and roasted sesame seeds for extra toppings.
Let everyone serve themselves, or create their bowls for them. Dig in and enjoy!
This recipe packs a serious flavor punch. It is also deceivingly healthy – it’s filling, but is gluten and dairy free. It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in the fresh ingredients, but doesn’t feel like a chore to eat. In fact, it feels like the exact opposite.
This recipe would be a great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey – you could just marinade leftover cooked turkey instead of raw turkey. It’s also a creative way to get your family to eat their veggies without making them eat yet another salad.
Let me know what you thought about this fresh and easy recipe below! Did you like the watermelon? Did you forgo any of the toppings or herbs?
Happy munching, folks!