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Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with tomato, ricotta and basil.

Continuing my experiments with cooking boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker, I decided to go back to my roots. No, I'm not Italian, but one of my earliest, and best, experiences as a food writer came courtesy of a well-known Italian-American Boston police officer. I'm pleased to share this reinvention of his recipe for stuffed chicken, which works so perfectly with turkey breast. The slow cooker frees your oven for all those amazing side dishes that taste best when cooked at the last minute, and the slow braise helps retain moisture in the meat. Be sure to buy a turkey breast that hasn't been shot full of salty brine, or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. Your butcher will be happy to butterfly it for you; unless you have mad butchering skills, leave this step to the professionals. You can do the rest. Stuff, roll, tie, cook, and collect the oohs and aahs when you bring this turkey to the table.

Turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil (slow cooker).

Slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil

From the pantry, you'll need: garlic, golden raisins, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, onion, extra virgin olive oil, dry white wine.

Serves 8.


For the stuffing:
16 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 basil leaves, minced
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup golden raisins
Fresh black pepper
Kosher salt
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For cooking the turkey:
4-5 lb boneless turkey breast, skin on, butterflied
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 cup dry white wine


In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the stuffing ingredients, and mix well.

Unfold the turkey breast on a board, with the inside facing up, being sure to open all of the flaps. Pull the skin away from one end, so it doesn't get rolled up inside the turkey. You can also remove all of the skin, if you prefer, and cook it without the skin.

Spread the stuffing evenly over the inside of turkey.

Starting at one end, roll the turkey as best you can (it won't be perfect, but that's okay; the goal is to keep the skin on the outside as you roll), and tie with kitchen twine to hold the meat together. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the oil to the frying pan, and brown the turkey on all sides. Transfer to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, along with the onion and wine.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 1-3/4 to 2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the center of the turkey.

Remove the turkey from the slow cooker, and cover with foil. You can strain the liquid and boil it down in a small pan, to make a light sauce .

Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be made ahead; let cool, and refrigerate.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More fun ways to serve turkey breast:
Turkey breast stuffed with wild rice and cranberries
Grilled Asian turkey breast with soy, garlic and chili paste
Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey breast
Slow cooker turkey breast for sandwiches, salads and pasta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Tomato basil and romano ricotta spaghetti pies, from Picky Palate
Turkey meatballs with light tomato sauce, from Inspired Taste
Sausage, spinach, ricotta stuffed shells, from Simply Recipes
Turkey meatballs in spicy tomato basil sauce with burrata, from Ambitious Kitchen
Penne pasta with wilted arugula, basil, ricotta and parmesan cheese, from Kalyn's Kitchen

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Another beauty of a bird from the slow cooker. Love the Italian flavors, and the "roll" of color is just gorgeous!

Those flavors sound very good together. This may be a silly question, but do you buy a whole turkey and then ask the butcher to butterfly the breast?
I admit I don't look into the covered meat case often, so when I think of buying just a turkey breast I'm picturing something shrink wrapped in plastic out in the 'pick it up and go' area of the meat section.

Looks great and so delicious!

You're definitely on a roll with the slow cooker turkey breasts. This one sounds just amazing!

TW, thanks. This was a real crowd-pleaser at our house.

Kirsten, I ask the butcher for what I want. Often he can get a bone-in turkey breast, and butterfly it for me. Sometimes I actually want those additional pieces of turkey for soup stock, so I'll buy a whole turkey.

Jodee, thanks!

Kalyn, "on a roll" -- that's good! I love turkey breast and it was fun to adapt an old recipe for this new use.

Love how pretty this stuffed turkey is - I'm definitely giving this a try, especially since it works so nicely in the slow cooker.

Jeanette, the colors are gorgeous (more so than in my photo), and the stuffing is gluten-free, which makes it a winner for everyone.

I admit I had the same question as Kirsten - thanks for the info and I think using spare parts for stock and things makes a lot of sense!

Carol, it helps to make friends with your butcher!

That looks amazing, Lydia! Going to add it to my own Thanksgiving recipe roundup! :-)


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