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Food And Nutrition

How to Cook a Turkey



We are right here with a detailed guide to preparing perfect roast turkey, starting with which turkey to buy and ending with the best way to store leftovers.

Congrats, you’ve already taken the first step towards a perfect turkey: doing your research. Here, Food Network rounds up the most important tips for cooking a juicy bird with crispy, golden skin. Start by peeking at our cheat sheet immediately following this paragraph. There you’ll find some quick answers to questions we know are top of mind.

Turkey Cheat Sheet

  • How Much Meat Per Person? 1 to 1 1/2 pounds turkey per person
  • How Long Does It Take to Thaw a Turkey? 24 hours per every 5 pounds
  • How Much Salt Goes In Brine? 3/4 cup kosher salt for every gallon of water needed to cover the bird
  • How Long to Brine a Turkey? 8-plus hours in the refrigerator
  • How Long to Roast a Turkey? 20 minutes per pound
  • At What Temperature Is Turkey Cooked? The thigh meat and stuffing (if used) should register 165 degrees F
  • How Long to Rest a Turkey? 30 minutes before carving

Which Turkey Should You Buy?

Seven different types of turkey staring at you in the supermarket can be confusing, we get it.

  • Size: Smaller birds – under ten pounds – tend to be more tender than larger ones, and they also cook more evenly. If you are feeding a big crowd, it’s better to cook two smaller birds than one large one.
  • Fresh or frozen: According to the National Turkey Federation, “There is no quality difference between a fresh and frozen turkey.” It all comes down to whether or not you have time to thaw the bird.
  • Basted or Self-Basting: These birds are injected or marinated with a solution of fat, stock and spices, which increases the moisture in the meat but also can mask the natural flavor of the bird. You don’t need to brine these birds.
  • Free-Range/Free Roaming/Cage Free: Because these birds have access to outdoor space and can move around, they develop some muscle, leading to more robustly flavored and complex-tasting meat.
  • Kosher: These birds have been killed according to Jewish dietary laws, salted from the inside out, soaked and washed. The salt pulls out moisture from the meat, making for denser meat and full flavor. These birds are often more expensive than non-kosher turkeys and don’t need to be brined.
  • Natural: This simply means that the meat hasn’t come into contact with artificial or synthetic ingredients.
  • Organic: Although these birds are more expensive than others, many regard them as having the fullest flavor. That’s because they’re raised without chemicals, antibiotics, roughage fillers, chemical fertilizers and pesticides – and they’re free range.

How to Thaw a Turkey

Allow for 24 hours of thawing time per every 5 pounds. This means that for a 20 pound turkey, you need four whole days. Make some room in the bottom of the fridge – you never want to thaw a turkey on a shelf above other food, lest some raw turkey juice drip down and cause contamination. Set an unwrapped frozen turkey on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, slide it into the fridge onto that cleared bottom shelf and then let it sit.

What to Do If Your Turkey Is Still Frozen

To thaw the same day, submerge the wrapped bird in a cooler of cold water for 30 minutes per pound, changing the water every 30 minutes.

If you’re quick thawing a bigger bird, that can still mean a lot of thawing time. And if you don’t have the time, you *can* roast (but never fry) a frozen bird. Simply cook it at a lower heat – specifically 325 degrees F – for 50% more cooking time than your recipe calls for. You want a lower temperature so the turkey doesn’t burn on the outside before it’s cooked through on the inside. After about 3 hours of roasting, remove the turkey from the oven, discard the giblet bag, season the skin thoroughly with salt and pepper and brush it with butter. Return the turkey to the oven and start checking its internal temperature for doneness at the 7-hour mark.

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How to Brine a Turkey

If you’re roasting a kosher or self-basting turkey, stop right there: you shouldn’t brine these birds, they’re seasoned enough on their own.

But for all other types of turkey, brining seasons and tenderizes the meat all the way through. Curious about how exactly brining works its magic?

There are two main kinds of brining, wet brining and dry brining. Choose what’s best for you.

Wet Brining

Here, the whole bird is submerged in a flavorful salt solution.

Pros: Moist, succulent meat, short brining time – just 12 to 24 hours

Cons: Skin tends to be less crisp than dry brining, the process requires lots of dedicated fridge space

  1. Add the brining mixture – 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per quart of liquid – to a pot or container that’s large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Flavor the brine with 1 to 2 cups of juice, beer or spirits, if desired. You can also add herbs and spices.
  2. Submerge the turkey and transfer the container to the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it inside and out with cold water and pat it dry. At this point, you can let the turkey rest uncovered in the fridge for up to 1 day so the skin dries out and becomes crispier in the oven.

Drbouz/Getty Images

Dry Brining

A salt-spice mixture is rubbed all over the surface of the turkey’s skin.

Pros: Crisp skin and juicy meat, the brine penetrates slowly so there’s no risk of the meat becoming mealy, the process doesn’t take up much space in the fridge

Cons: Takes longer than a wet brine

  1. Dry off the turkey with paper towels.
  2. Make a seasoning blend: ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon baking powder per pound of turkey (the baking powder helps crisp the skin), plus your favorite herbs and spices.
  3. Rub the blend all over the whole bird.
  4. Refrigerate the uncovered bird on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan for 24 to 72 hours; pat the bird dry before roasting.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

How to Prep a Turkey

If you brined your turkey, pat it off if you dry brined it or rinse it inside and out with cold water if you wet brined it. Remove the giblets – they’ll be in a little sack stuffed inside the turkey. You’ll want to let the turkey stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting; this will help the bird cook more evenly, yielding juicier meat.

How to Tuck Turkey Wings

If you don’t tuck turkey wings, they’ll burn. Place the turkey breast-side up with the legs pointing towards you. Then all you do is turn the wings around so the tips point towards the front of the bird and tuck the tips down underneath the turkey. The weight of the turkey will hold them in place.

How to Truss a Turkey

Trussing helps the breast and thighs cook at the same rate and gives the turkey a plump, appealing shape. Place the turkey breast-side up with the legs pointing towards you.

Wrap the center of long piece of butcher’s twine around the neck once to attach it to the turkey. You’ll now have two ends of string attached to the turkey’s neck. Draw each piece backwards on top of the wings to pin them to the turkey’s sides. Pull the ends tightly together behind the breastplate and tie them in a knot there. Now cross the legs together, tightly wrap the twine around them twice, tie the twine in a knot and cut off any remaining long ends.

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Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

How to Season a Turkey

Transfer the turkey to whatever vessel you’ll be roasting it in. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper all over the turkey, inside and out. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. Brush the turkey all over with a fat like olive oil or melted butter.

How to Cook a Turkey

There are many ways to cook a turkey. Some people prefer a roasting pan, while others advocate that a sheet tray allows for better crisping and air circulation. Some like to spatchcock their turkey in order to reduce the cooking time. Here, we focus on the simplest, most classic technique possible.

  1. Preheat the oven. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Stuff the turkey if you wish. Fill the cavity loosely with stuffing – ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  3. Tent the seasoned bird with foil. If you followed the steps above in our section on how to prep a turkey, at this point your bird will be dried off, trussed, seasoned, brushed with oil and resting in its roasting pan. All you have to do now is put a layer of foil over the top of the roasting pan, which will shield the turkey from burning.
  4. Roast the turkey for 2 hours. Resist the urge to peak, and if possible, roast the turkey all on its own without other sides in the oven.
  5. Remove the foil and baste the bird. Brush the turkey all over again with olive oil or butter. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Increasing the temperature during the last bit of cooking time will make for extra crispy turkey skin.
  6. Cook until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. This will be for about 45 more minutes (2 hours 45 minutes total) for an 8 to 10 pound turkey. If you stuffed your bird, you’ll need to add a bit more time on because stuffing makes the bird cook more slowly. Make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F in the deepest part.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven and rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Leave it tented with foil as it rests. If there’s stuffing inside, leave it in the bird while it rests.

How Long Should You Cook a Turkey?

How long you cook your turkey depends on the weight of the turkey and whether it is stuffed or unstuffed. However, one thing’s for certain: turkey is done cooking when an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F (read on below for more info on taking your turkey’s temperature). As a general rule of thumb, plan on about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey. An 8 to 12 pound unstuffed turkey typically takes 2 3/4 to 3 hours to roast in a 325 degrees F oven. For an extensive chart that includes turkey weights and cooking times for stuffed and un-stuffed birds, check out our article How Long to Cook a Turkey.

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OKRAD/Getty Images

Where to Put a Thermometer In a Turkey

An instant read digital thermometer is your best friend when it comes to taking your turkey’s temperature. Don’t have one?

First, remove the turkey from the oven and close the door so no heat escapes. Now insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh near where the turkey breast begins. Make sure the thermometer doesn’t hit the bone. If it hits the bone, you’ll get an inaccurate reading, so start over. Once the thigh meat registers 165 degrees F, your turkey is done.

How to Make Turkey Gravy

A good time to make your gravy? While the turkey is resting. We’ve detailed some simple steps for you, but if you’d like to customize your gravy further, head over to our guide How to Make Perfect Gravy. If you’re short on time, you can also make gravy in the microwave.

  1. Pour the turkey pan drippings into a fat separator or measuring cup. If you’re not making the gravy in the roasting pan, you’ll want to deglaze the pan with some warm stock and rub up all the caramelized bits on the bottom. Pour this through the fat separator too.
  2. Spoon off the fat collected on top.
  3. Create a roux. Add turkey fat or butter to the roasting pan or saucepan. Then sprinkle flour over it in a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is light brown and fragrant.
  4. Gradually whisk in hot stock. If you’re cooking in the roasting pan, rub the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to collect all the tasty caramelized bits on the bottom.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to low.
  6. Add the roasting juices from the fat separator.
  7. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy thickens. The gravy should coat the back of a spoon.
  8. Season the gravy and stir in other flavorings. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a splash of brandy or fresh herbs like thyme.
  9. Strain the gravy. This will get rid of any last bits of fat.

How to Carve a Turkey

By now, you should have rested your turkey, removed the stuffing and made your gravy. It’s time for carving. Want even more details, including step-by-step photos and a how-to video? Check out our guide, How to Carve a Turkey.

  1. Place the turkey on a cutting board, breast-side up.
  2. Remove the legs. Slice through the skin between the leg and body on one side; pull the leg away from the body, then cut through the joint to remove the leg. Repeat with the other leg.
  3. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Locate the joint in the middle of each leg and cut through it.
  4. Pull each wing away from the body and cut through the joint to remove.
  5. Remove the breast meat. Slice downward along the breastbone, following the curve of the ribs on each side.
  6. Place each breast on the board skin-side up and slice.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Turkey

As soon as you’re done eating the big meal, it’s time to store your Thanksgiving leftovers (according to the USDA, leftovers should be stored within 2 hours of cooking). Carve the turkey from the bones and store it in shallow, covered containers for up to 4 days.

When reheating, warm up only what you’ll be eating rather than the entire portion to preserve moisture. We like to submerge the turkey in gravy and gently reheat it on the stove until it reaches 165 degrees F.

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Food And Nutrition

A Bevy of Milk Alternatives.




Today’s dairy case contains numerous milk alternatives, derived from plant-based sources including soybeans, almonds, peas, oats and others. Made by processing water with nuts, grains, legumes or seeds, then straining out any solids and adding thickeners, emulsifiers and other ingredients, the resulting drinks vary widely in taste, thickness, nutrition and, in some cases, best uses.

Legumes, grains and nuts have qualities that naturally lend themselves to milky beverages. When cooked, legumes and grains both absorb water and become creamy. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee explains that the fats in nuts and soybeans feel naturally creamy, not greasy, on the tongue.

Grains, legumes and nuts also have specific flavor compounds, which are sometimes detectible in plant-based drinks. McGee explains that the unsaturated fatty acids in legumes and nuts can have notes of floral or mushroom flavor, while the phenolic compounds in whole grains can have vanilla and toasted flavors.

Most plant-based beverages are marketed for use in cereal, smoothies, coffee and occasionally as an ingredient in baked goods and cooked savory dishes. Depending on the production method, some can separate when heated such as with soups. While this separation is not harmful, it may be undesirable, depending on the recipe.

Nutrition Overview

Plant-based milks do not have some components found in cow’s milk, including lactose and casein, which is helpful for those with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Dairy milk from cows is pasteurized and fortified with vitamins A and D, but beyond that, cow’s milk is one ingredient in its natural form.

Some plant-based drinks have fortification of nutrients at levels above those of dairy milk; amounts vary by brand, and some evidence suggests absorption may not be equal to that of cow’s milk. Unsweetened and fortified nondairy milks may be a choice if a child is allergic to cow’s milk, is lactose intolerant or does not eat dairy foods, but are otherwise not recommended as a full replacement for dairy milk. Like dairy milk, plant-based alternatives should not be used as infant formula or introduced to a child before age 1.


To turn a plant into a beverage, more processing is required, including cooking a grain or hydrating a seed, removing most fiber-rich solids, and in many cases adding additional protein, fat, preservatives, flavorings, thickeners, emulsifiers or other additives. As a result, the nutritional profile of plant-based drinks varies widely.

Foods such as barley, short-grain rice, oats and split peas become creamier, more gelatinous or thicker than others, such as quinoa. These hydrophilic plants “melt” into water. Still, to yield a mouthfeel similar to cow’s milk, several issues need to be resolved, including grittiness, sandiness, separation of solids and thin, watery consistency.

Soy and pea proteins: These are used to increase the protein content of drinks made from other plants, which are generally much lower in protein than dairy milk (except for soy, which is a complete protein). Soy and pea proteins can provide one of the creamiest textures compared to other plant proteins because they are some of the most soluble. Both also help emulsify beverages into a unified liquid because they hold water well. While these proteins solve many processing problems, they’re usually used in an isolate form, meaning they have been stripped of some minerals, fiber and healthy fats.

Calcium fortification: For added nutrition that’s closer to cow’s milk, calcium is often added in the form of calcium phosphate or calcium carbonate.

Potassium fortification: Dairy milk is a natural source of potassium, with about 390 milligrams per serving of 2% milk. Dipotassium phosphate and potassium citrate are buffering agents used to regulate pH, prevent coagulation and stabilize a drink; in “barista” beverages, these ingredients also can balance out the low pH of coffee so curdling doesn’t occur when added to a hot liquid. Fortification also results in higher potassium content, with some beverages having more than dairy.

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Emulsifiers and thickeners: Commonly used to keep fat and water from separating and solids from settling on the bottom of beverage cartons, soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin are two examples of emulsifiers. Lecithin is a mixture of fatty acids naturally derived from plants (as well as animals) that attracts both water and fats. Chicory root fiber, pectin and native starches, such as tapioca starch, can give a drink a thicker mouthfeel. Locust bean gum and guar gum are derived from vegetables, whereas xanthan gum is obtained via microbial fermentation; all are used to create a thicker, more stable liquid. Seaweed and algae gums including agar-agar, alginic acid and carrageenan polysaccharides act as stabilizers and thickeners. Gellan gum, which can grow on aquatic plants but also is produced commercially through bacteria, is often used with fortified beverages to keep calcium suspended so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the container.

Natural flavorings: These may include cinnamon and vanilla, for example, and often are proprietary. Therefore, the U.S. Food and Drug Association allows “natural flavors” to be listed in the ingredients list.

Added sugars: Most plant-based milks have a plain variety, which is generally free of added sugars. Some drinks taste especially sweet due to the natural flavors of the plant, such as barley and oats. Beverages with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and even “original” may contain added sugars. Check the label for cane sugar and other sweetener ingredients or look at the amount of added sugars.

Plant-Based Beverages

Calcium-fortified soy: While milk-like drinks have been made from soybeans for centuries, commercial soy milks are produced using different processes than traditional Chinese and Japanese methods, which involved the use of natural enzymes to break down soybeans, yielding a milky product with a strong soy flavor.

With a similar nutrient profile to dairy, this is the only plant-based drink that is acceptable as a dairy alternative, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fortified soy milk also is the only plant milk that is recognized as an acceptable substitute for dairy milk in federal nutrition programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

The fatty acid profiles and types of proteins differ between dairy milk and soy drinks, but the total grams of protein are similar: 7 to 9 grams per serving. Soy beverage also has comparable levels of vitamins A and D, riboflavin and more vitamin B12 due to fortification. Soy drinks are usually made with whole soy beans, not soy protein isolates, so they are included in the soy foods that may bear an authorized health claim in relation to their soy protein content and risk of coronary heart disease.

Soy beverages generally yield more comparable baked goods to those made with dairy milk, rather than items made with other plant drinks. Soy beverages can be used in cooked dishes, too, such as bread pudding, strata and custard, which is unusual for plant drinks.

Pea: A newer option on the market, it is made with yellow pea protein powder, which is easier to emulsify in a liquid than some other plants. Therefore, most manufacturers can use less emulsifiers and thickeners while still producing a thicker viscosity. The nutrition profile of some plain pea drinks is similar to soy beverages. One brand touts protein levels around 8 grams, 50% more calcium and half the carbohydrates of dairy milk. Some brands use fortification to provide DHA and up to 100% of the daily value for vitamin B12 , which is important for vegetarians and vegans.

Results from baking and heating pea beverages are similar to those with soy drinks. Pea beverages also are very versatile in smoothies and baked goods. When heated or added to other hot drinks, some brands become even thicker.

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Almond: The nutrient profiles of different brands of almond beverage vary greatly. A few brands use only almonds and water, yielding a very watery consistency but a short ingredient list. Other brands add emulsifiers, thickeners and ingredients such as oats for a blended drink. In general, most almond drinks are low in protein and carbohydrates and are fortified with minerals and vitamins including vitamin E, which is naturally found in almonds.

Almond milks can sometimes add a pleasantly nutty flavor to baked goods, but this flavor is often undetectable when drinking it. Baked items made with nut milks tend to brown quicker and have a more golden hue and squishier texture than those made with dairy milk. While it is not recommended to boil almond beverages, they can be heated into sauces or soups and a slightly sweet flavor may be present.

Rice: Some are made with partially milled or brown rice, which is preferable because more of the germ and bran of the whole grain remain. Per cup, rice drinks generally contain 1 gram of protein, 2 to 3 grams of fat (mainly from canola, sunflower or safflower oils) and most are fortified with calcium and vitamins A, D and B12 at levels close to cow’s milk. The carbohydrate count is 13 to 23 grams, with about 13 grams of natural starch — higher than most plant-based milks. Products made from rice may be a source of arsenic, so it is recommended to consume a variety of foods to limit exposure, especially for young children.

In general, rice drinks are very thin and watery, a consistency that lends itself to smoothies and other liquid recipes. Because of the beverage’s high carbohydrate content, most baked recipes can be successful. The bland, blank-canvas flavor is helpful when making savory dishes, but it should be heated at lower temperatures for the best texture in soups.

Coconut: While both are made from grated coconut flesh, refrigerated varieties of coconut beverage are diluted with more water than canned coconut milk. The refrigerated type also may contain more additives to maintain a thicker texture without the same amount of saturated fat in the dense canned kind. Different refrigerated brands often have unique fortification amounts, including a high amount of vitamin B12, which may be helpful for vegetarians and vegans. Coconut beverage is low in protein and carbohydrates, and many have about the same amount of total fat as 2% dairy milk but a higher amount of saturated fat.

Refrigerated coconut milk tends to have excellent frothing abilities and works well in smoothies and frothed warm drinks. Do not use it as a substitute for canned coconut milk in baked or stovetop recipes, since it is much lower in fat and the coconut flavor is less pronounced.

Sesame: Sesame beverage is rich in calcium, both naturally and through fortification (390 milligrams per 1-cup serving). One sesame drink maker uses sesame seeds after they are pressed for oil, upcycling a product previously considered food waste into a sesame protein concentrate. Other ingredients, such as pea protein, are added to increase the viscosity and protein (8 grams in regular and 4 grams in barista per 1 cup). Use the “barista” blend for frothy warm drinks and the regular version for baked goods to avoid altering the pH.

Oat: Because oat is a sweet grain that is naturally thick and gelatinous when hydrated, it produces a sweet and naturally thick drink. Surging in popularity, oat became the second best-selling plant-based drink in the United States in 2020, with almond as the top-selling plant drink and soy third.

The main ingredients are oats and water, with some additives and fortification. One manufacturer uses natural enzymes to break down the sugars in oats into maltose, creating a sweeter taste. The FDA considers these sugars “added,” since they were created during the production process.

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In general, oat beverages have around 2 to 5 grams of fat, 16 to 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber (with 1 gram soluble and some brands retaining the healthful beta glucans), 2 to 3 grams of protein and are fortified with calcium, potassium and vitamins A and B12. Oat drinks perform well in baked goods and can produce a slightly sweet flavor when cooked.

Hemp: Hemp seeds are soaked until they swell and are then wet-milled and strained to produce this drink. Thickeners, emulsifiers, flavors and sweeteners are usually added. Because of their amino acid profile, hemp seeds are considered a source of high-quality protein. However, most hemp drinks contain only 2 to 3 grams of protein per serving. Hemp seeds also contain high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. While amounts vary between brands, some hemp beverages contain up to 3.5 grams per serving of these healthy fats. Unsweetened varieties contain no carbohydrates. Hemp beverages are best used in cool preparations, as cooking and baking can produce a strong flavor.

Pistachio: As of May 2022, the three most widely available pistachio drinks do not have any added oils. This is unusual as sunflower, rapeseed/canola, coconut and palm oils are generally added to help emulsify the solids, fats and liquid and give plant drinks a creamy texture. Therefore, most of the total fat listed on the Nutrition Facts label is from pure pistachio unsaturated fats. These drinks provide varying amounts of potassium due to natural potassium and dipotassium phosphate, which may be added to avoid curdling when added to hot coffee, for example. Even without oils, pistachio drinks froth up nicely and cook well, with baked goods having textures similar to those made with almond and cashew beverages.

Barley: There are two barley milk beverages on the market as of May 2022. One is made from spent beer brewing grains, previously a waste product that is upcycled. While most plant-based drink companies market their products for sustainability, this spent-grains process is unique (although somewhat similar to the production of sesame drink). In the process, sugars are extracted from malted barley and sent to fermentation for beer; what’s left is a protein-rich substrate called “brewer’s spent grain.” Using a special process, the spent grain is converted into a highly soluble protein to make barley beverage.

Nutrition profiles for plain and flavored varieties range from 3 to 8 grams of protein, 0 to 12 grams of added sugars and 70 to 140 calories; fortification provides 35% of the daily value for calcium and 25% to 50% of the daily value for vitamin D. Using barley beverage in recipes with cold and warm preparations works well.

Cashew: This is one of the only milk beverages that can be made without straining after solids are blended with water. Because the nut is softer, some companies produce drinks in which more of the whole nuts remain. Depending on fortification levels, some brands fortify calcium at levels above the 300 milligrams naturally found in 1 cup of dairy milk. Some cashew beverages separate when cooked on the stove top. Baked goods turn out similar to those made with other nut drinks.

Blended: A mix of several plant-based beverages and ingredients, these drinks have qualities not found in a single-origin beverage. For example, pairing a fruit flavor such as banana with sunflower seeds to increase protein and healthy fats, or adding oats for viscosity and pea protein for thickness and protein. With the substantial growth in plant-based milks, the blended category continues to produce innovative options.

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Food And Nutrition

Preparing Cacio e pepe




Three ingredients, three steps to a speedy midweek supper of trendy cacio e pepe (‘cheese and pepper’). Tangy pecorino cheese combines with the pasta cooking water to make a creamy sauce that clings to the pasta.


  • 200g/7oz spaghetti
  • 80g/2¾oz pecorino, finely grated
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


  1. Cook the spaghetti in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. About halfway through cooking, scoop out a mugful of the cooking water from the pan.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the cheese and pepper. Gradually incorporate 2–3 tablespoons of the pasta water to create a thick paste. Using the back of a dessertspoon, spread the mixture evenly up the sides of the bowl.

  3. Drain the pasta and leave it to rest for 1 minute, then transfer it to the bowl, quickly swirling the pasta around so that the cheese melts and coats the strands, adding little drizzles of the starchy cooking water as you go to create a glossy sauce. Serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

Use your finest grater to grate the cheese: a small hand-held grater designed for zesting citrus would be ideal.

The grated cheese and pasta cooking water should be at room temperature so they emulsify to make a creamy sauce: this might take a bit of practice. If you can’t get the hang of it after a couple of goes, try adding a slick of double cream to the mix as you add the pasta to help the mixture emulsify.

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Food And Nutrition

Preparing Easy sausage rolls




I make these easy sausage rolls often – they are always welcome at a picnic or party. Feel free to enhance them as you like.


  • 500g/1lb 2oz ready-made puff pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 8 herby sausages (the best you can afford), cut in two
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • small handful fresh thyme leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a rectangle of about 48x32cm/19×12½in and bash the pastry with the rolling pin a bit. Puff pastry is made of fine layers and normally you have to be very delicate with it. For sausage rolls the pastry needs to be slightly puffed, but not too much, so bashing it with a rolling pin reduces the amount it puffs up.

  3. Cut the large rectangle in half lengthways, then cut both smaller rectangles into eight equal sections. You now have 16 rectangles in total.

  4. Cut the large rectangle in half lengthways, then cut both smaller rectangles into eight equal sections. You now have 16 rectangles in total.

  5. Brush one end of each rectangle with a little of the beaten egg, lay a piece of sausage at the other end, then season the sausage with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Roll the sausage up in the pastry to enclose and repeat with all the sausages.

  6. Put the sausage rolls in the fridge for 20 minutes for the pastry to harden. Once the pastry is hard, remove the sausage rolls from the fridge and score the tops with a sharp knife for decoration, or prick with a fork.

  7. Brush well all over with the rest of the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry has turned golden-brown and looks crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before serving.

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