Published Friday, November 20, 2020

Guilt-free tropical turkey

By Melissa Pette

We are less than a week before the big Thanksgiving Day dinner. Many of us feel guilty after eating almost all those traditional feast dishes, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, candied yams, cornbread, pumpkin pie or my favorite cinnamon roll apple pie. I'm gaining weight just by writing this!

But here is a solution to allow us to enjoy dinner without regrets, thanks to Al Kaufman, who shares his recipe for a low-calorie tropical turkey dinner.

Al allowed me to tell you that his family used to order an already cooked Thanksgiving Day turkey for delivery. When he got married, he and his wife, who lived in Baltimore County in the U.S. state of Maryland, resumed the tradition of making dinner at home. "After many faux pas we managed to make our version of the Thanksgiving dinner," Al said.

After raising his two daughters, Al made the decision 5 years ago to live his "second round" in Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste Province.

"My staff knows me, on Thanksgiving, we close my quad rentals business and take my team to my condo. There you will see me surrounded by my partner's kids and wives cooking the best meal of the year," Al added.

Today Al invites us to prepare his tropical version of turkey dinner. So, let's go to the kitchen!

Tropical turkey

By Al Kaufman
From Baltimore County, Maryland
Living in Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste Province

Ingredients for four people's dinner:

1 large 600 gram can of cut green beans.

4 Mozzarella string cheese, 36 grams each.

250 grams of turkey breast.

1 large yellow sweet mango.

3 eggs.

1 can of 250 grams of chickpeas (garbanzo beans).


1/2 cup vegetable oil (if you prefer olive or sunflower).

1 teaspoon of vinegar.

1 teaspoon salt.

1 teaspoon of cumin.

• Some parsley leaves.

First, in a large pot add water. I start the turkey in a hot 450°F oven to start the browning and then turn down the heat to 350°F so that the breast meat cooks through slowly. Cook the turkey for at least 40 minutes.

In a bowl, add the chickpeas, half a teaspoon of cumin, a drizzle of oil and mix. Let it nap for 20 minutes. Then, in a pan, cook the chickpeas until the oil evaporates. Add the cut green beans, a pinch of salt and fry for 10 more minutes.

Chop the turkey into large squares and add it in a bowl with the rest of the cumin. Mix a bit.

Peel the mango and cut it into large squares. Cut the mozzarella string cheese into medium squares.

In a large bowl, add the turkey, vegetables, mango, and cheese. Mix.

In a saucepan, add water and cook 3 eggs for 2 minutes. You must make sure that the water is boiling before adding the eggs to not overcook too much. Then peel the eggs and place them in a blender or juice mixer.

The sauce. In the blender add the eggs, a teaspoon of vinegar, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of parsley leaves. Blend everything until a dense and creamy sauce is formed.

On each guest's plate, add the turkey salad with vegetables, mango and cheese, then add a tablespoon of the sauce. This recipe is fantastic!

If you are a tropical fruits lover, just like me, add sweet pineapple and sweet oranges, cut into squares.

Today we are inviting you to try four awesome recipes for your Thanksgiving Day table. You can review step by step recipes on the A.M. Costa Rica Food page.

To readers asking for where to go out for Thanksgiving dinner  in San José, here are some good options.

Residence Inn by Marriott, in Escazú District. Thanksgiving dinner includes all the delicious traditional dishes. Dinners are served from 5 pm to 8 pm. The price is $28 for adults and $12 for children's menu.  You can opt for the $35 All-You-Can-Drink. For reservations call  2588-4500.

Another option in Escazú District is the InterContinental hotel. Located right in front of Multiplaza Mall. Dinner buffet is from 6 pm to 9 pm, includes turkey, mash potatoes, sweets, salad, drinks, for $55. For reservations call 2208-2100

A wonderful place to celebrate Thanksgiving American-style but in a European environment is the German Club. It is located in Los Yoses District, San Pedro Canton. Dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The menu includes turkey, dessert, drinks. Don't forget the famous German-style hot chocolate. Highly recommended!  For reservations call  2225-0366.

Another option in San José downtown is the Holiday Inn Aurola. Here we are talking about Thanksgiving buffet-style lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Dinner includes dessert and drinks for $15. For reservations call 2523 1000.

Remember, it does not matter if you profess any religion or not, on Thanksgiving Day the important thing is to give thanks (to God, to the Universe, to the holy cow or to yourself ) for the life, for the health of our loved ones, for those who are by your side, those who are far away and those who had passed away. Every person we met this year, left a mark in our lives, sometimes positive or sometimes a lesson learned. Let's give thanks for that too.

I want to thank the people who have taken the time to write. Especially those who have shared their recipes and stories with all of us, the A.M. Costa Rica readers, amateur-chefs, who love cooking.

Pura Vida and Salud!

Editor's note: Email your comments or inquiries to Melissa Pette at Do you want to share your recipes with AM Costa Rica readers? Send your homemade recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish to

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