The words “stuffed” and “turkey” are usually only used together around the holiday season. But they don’t need to be limited to that time of year.
Turkey tenderloin is an often underappreciated cut of meat — and one that can be really versatile to work with. It’s technically turkey breast tenderloin, making it a leaner option. In addition to being a great source of protein, turkey also offers B vitamins, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and choline (an important micronutrient in pregnancy).
The recipe below is for a stuffed turkey tenderloin entrée with spinach and goat cheese, and includes instructions on how to safely cut the tenderloin to prepare this. If you’re apprehensive about making those “cuts” to prepare it, you can ask your friendly Hy-Vee meat department team to make the “pockets” for you. For this recipe, you’d ideally want to aim for four 4- to 5-ounce cuts of turkey tenderloin. Then either you or the meat department team can cut the “pockets” into each portion.
The stuffing process doesn’t have to be fancy and, as this recipe shows, it doesn’t have to use many ingredients, either. This simply calls for spinach, goat cheese and some seasoning. Pair with a side of baked sweet potato and asparagus, and you’re good to go! It’s a meal that feels fancier than the preparation actually is.
You can also freeze these to cook at another time. To do this, just follow the recipe through step 4. Instead of doing step 5, unwrap the turkey tenderloin from the plastic wrap, re-wrap each portion in some parchment paper, place the portions wrapped in parchment paper into a gallon-size freezer bag, and transfer into the freezer, where it can stay for up to 3 months.
To prepare, simply transfer the gallon-size freezer bag with the meat into the refrigerator to thaw overnight, dispose of the used parchment paper, and bake on a prepped cooking sheet as you usually would.
If you’ve been following this column, you know I typically like to provide an option for creativity alongside the recipe suggestion shared. This recipe calls for the stuffing to be spinach + goat cheese, but feel free to mix it up with your “stuffing” choices. Sundried tomato + fresh basil, roasted red bell strips in olive oil + feta cheese, or asparagus + pesto are a few ideas you could consider. In general, a vegetable + creamy pairing seem to make for the best taste profiles in this style of cooking.
Eating for one? Prep all four, freeze two raw, and cook two — one for dinner and one for leftovers. Serving more than four in your family? Double the recipe to make eight, freeze your extras, and cook the amount needed. There’s room for flexibility and adjustment — with this recipe and with balanced eating in general.
Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin
All you need:
4 (4-5 ounces each) turkey breast tenderloins
2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
6 ounces semisoft goat cheese (chevre)
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
All you do:
Make a pocket in each tenderloin portion by cutting lengthwise from one side almost to — but not through — the opposite side; set aside.
In a bowl, combine the spinach, cheese and black pepper. Spoon spinach mixture into pockets.
Use two toothpicks in each turkey tenderloin cut to hold it together so the stuffing doesn’t fall out.
In small bowl, combine olive oil and paprika; brush evenly over tenderloins. Wrap tenderloins individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap turkey and place in a shallow roasting pan. Roast about 40 minutes or until turkey reaches 170 degrees.
Enjoy! Remember to remove both toothpicks from each piece before eating.
Recipe source: Adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens recipe (www.bhg.com/recipe/turkey/spinach-stuffed-turkey-tenderloins)
Amanda Moder is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.