A Middle Eastern Take on a Classic Holiday Feast

Lynn Crawford

Give your holiday table a flavourful twist with this menu from Canadian celebrity chef Lynn Crawford. Photo: Courtesy of Think Turkey

Tired of the tried-and-true turkey with all the traditional trimmings? Give your holiday table a far-flung and flavourful twist with this menu from Canadian chef and Food Network celebrity, Lynn Crawford.

Main Dish

Ras El Hanout Spiced Turkey Breast With Minted Pomegranate Yogurt

Serves 8
Prep time: 3 hours to overnight (for marination)
Cooking Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


2 boneless turkey breasts, with skin on, about 1 pound each
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp lemon puree or 1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Minted Pomegranate Yogurt

(Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl)

1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp Ras el Hanout spice
2 tbsp chopped mint


1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, anchovies, lemon, capers, mustard herbs, and spices together to form a loose paste.

2. Rub the turkey on both sides and inside where the bone was removed with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, for maximum flavour, or at least 3 hours.

3. Turn the oven on to 400F.

4. To cook the turkey, remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about an hour. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, then lay the turkey, on a rack, in a large roasting pan. Place turkey in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350F. Continue to roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers to 165F about 1 hour. Transfer turkey to platter and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

5. Sprinkle 1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Serve with minted pomegranate yogurt.

Nutritional info (per serving): 

Calories: 355
Protein: 28 g
Carbs: 11 g
Fat: 22 g
Sodium: 399 mg




Photo: lisegagne/Getty Images

Kale Salad With Falafel Croutons and Sumac Dressing

Serves 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes



Makes 10-12 pieces

1 cup drained and rinsed canned chicken peas
Half of a small yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1 lemon zest and juice
4 to 6 tbsp chickpea flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying


Salad and Dressing:

6 cups stemmed and finely chopped kale leaves
1 1⁄2 cups cooked farro
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, well drained, and towel dried
1⁄4 cup salted, toasted pumpkin seeds
1⁄4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp pumpkin oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Zest & juice of half an orange
2 tsp sumac
Pinch cayenne
Falafel balls (recipe above)
1⁄2 tsp kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Seedlings for garnish



1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, add chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, baking powder, cumin, salt and lemon zest and juice and pulse- chop until combined.

2. Add chickpea flour a tablespoon at a time until a soft, pliable dough is achieved, pulse-chopping after each addition.

3. Divide dough into equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

4. Fill a small saucepan half full of oil, set over medium-high heat and heat to 350°F.

5. Working in batches, if necessary, deep fry falafel balls until crisp and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to paper towel to drain and season lightly with kosher salt.

Salad and Dressing:

1. In a large bowl, toss together kale, farro, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and pumpkin oils, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, orange zest and juice, sumac and cayenne until blended, then pour on kale mixture, toss well to coat, season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon kale salad onto a serving platter.

3. Tear the falafel balls into small pieces and toss salad with feta and seedlings and serve.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

Calories: 524
Protein: 14 g
Carbs: 30 g
Fat: 40 g
Sodium: 751 mg



Photo: Fuzullhanum/Getty Images


Jewelled Moroccan Couscous

Serves: 8
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


1 3⁄4 cups turkey stock or water
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp Ras el Hanout spice
1 1/2 cup instant couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1⁄4 cup golden raisins
1 can chickpeas (19 ounce/540 ml) rinsed and drained
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped
1⁄4 cup dill, chopped
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp mint, chopped


1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock, salt, butter, and spices to a boil.

2. Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for 5 minutes.

3. Use a fork to fluff the couscous and break up any clumps, keep warm.

4. In a large skillet over medium high heat add olive oil, onions and garlic and cook until softened and caramelized.

5. Add sundried tomatoes, raisins and chickpeas, stirring together.

6. Add lemon zest and juice, season mixture well with salt and pepper.

7. In a large bowl, fluff the couscous with a fork to separate the grains.

8. Add the chickpea mixture, parsley and dill and toss to combine, season with salt and pepper.

9. Serve in a large serving bowl and garnish with almonds and mint.

Nutritional info (per serving):

Calories: 320
Protein: 12 g
Carbs: 42 g
Fat: 11 g
Sodium: 923 mg


Dukkah Spiced Heirloom Carrots

Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


Dukkah Spice Blend:

1/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


2 bunches heirloom carrots (about 5 carrots), peeled and cut into 1⁄4 inch rounds
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dill


1. Heat a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat. As it heats, combine hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a small bowl.

2. Sprinkle the mixture into the pan and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and light brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Return to the bowl to cool. Transfer the nut mixture to a spice grinder, mini food processor or blender; pulse until almost evenly ground.

3. Season with salt, peppercorns and cayenne; stir to combine and break up any clumps of nuts and seeds.

4. Set a medium saucepan half full of water over medium-high heat and bring to boil, then add carrots and blanch 3-4 minutes, until al dente, then drain well and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add olive oil and melt butter, then add honey, carrots and dill and sauté until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add Dukkah mixture and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

Calories: 143
Sodium: 322mg
Protein: 2 g
Carbs: 12 g
Fat: 10 g



Photo: los_angela/Getty Images

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake With Caramelized Pears and Pistachios

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes



8 sheets of phyllo dough
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 pounds ricotta cheese
1⁄4 cup 35% cream
1⁄2 cup honey
1⁄2 cup sugar
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, juice and zest

Caramelized Pears:

2 fresh pears, cored and sliced into 1⁄2 inch
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar


Caramelized pears
1/3 cup pistachios
Honey, for drizzling


1. Turn oven on to 350F.

2. Grease 9-inch spring form pan.

3. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a clean counter and brush with melted butter. Repeat, layering 1 more time, placing the sheets of dough over top of each other.

4. Transfer the buttered phyllo sheets to the prepared pan, gently pressing it to fit inside the pan. Repeat, overlapping each layer 3 more times until you have completely covered the bottom and sides of the pan to create the crust, with the layers of phyllo hanging over the end of the pan, to be folded over the top once filled with the cheesecake mixture.

5. In a food processor, combine the ricotta and cream. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

6. Add the honey, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice. Blend until well combined about 2-3 minutes.

7. Stir in the lemon zest.

8. Pour into the prepared phyllo pan,
and then fold over the phyllo to completely cover the top of the cheesecake.

9. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, then turn oven off leaving cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

10. Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

11. Toss the pears in the butter and sprinkle with brown sugar.

12. Place the pears in the pan, cut side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the pears.

13. Remove from heat, reserve to garnish cheesecake.

14. Garnish with caramelized pears, pistachios and drizzle with honey.

Nutritional info (per serving):

Calories: 569
Protein: 20 g
Carbs: 58 g
Fat: 30 g
Sodium: 232 mg

Recipes courtesy of Lynn Crawford

A version of this story was originally published on Oct. 5, 2021


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