Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy

It’s officially the holidays. That is the only way I could get away with such an elaborate recipe title as the one above.

Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is exactly one week away and I’ve been working on a turkey dish well worthy of your holiday dinner table. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not, and roasts up in half the time as a whole turkey.

Today’s recipe is a whole turkey breast that has been flattened and filled with a bacon, herb and cranberry stuffing. The roulade is wrapped with bacon to keep it moist and tucked into a half of a spaghetti squash.

The turkey roulade and the squash roast up together in a time-saving 2-for-1 dish and a simple apple cider gravy tops it all off. It’s a seasonal and scrumptious way to bring turkey to your table this Thanksgiving.

Bacon & Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy on www.simplebites.net #recipe #dinner #thanksgiving #turkey

The recipe as written, with two turkey breasts and one whole squash, would make a feast for about 8 people, but it can easily be divided in half, if you are a smaller group.

Oh, and plenty of the work can be done in advance, so important for these wonderful food-centric celebrations. Hit the jump to see how it all comes together, then grab a pen and paper and start a shopping list!

The Turkey

Turkey, of course, is the star of any traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and as I couldn’t find whole, fresh turkeys a week ago, I went with two separate breasts. I’m so glad I did!

I’ve already mastered how to roast the perfect turkey, but this was my first roulade. It was easier than I thought, and far tastier than I ever imagined! Serving was also a cinch, too, and the roulade sliced up into pretty rounds that showcased the stuffing.

You can ask your butcher to butterfly the breasts for you, or Saveur has a snappy little video tutorial on how to a) flatten a whole raw turkey breast and b) roll it into a roulade. It’s under two minutes long and is a great visual for first-timers.

Bear in mind that my recipe in this post separates the breasts and cooks them in two roulades for a shorter cooking time. That also made it possible to stuff them into squash halves.

Do ahead: I butterflied, stuffed, rolled and wrapped my turkey in bacon the day before our Sunday dinner. All I had to do the next day was tuck the roulades into the squash halves and place them in the oven. Marvelous.

Bacon & Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy on www.simplebites.net #recipe #dinner #thanksgiving #turkey

The Stuffing

Turkey breast has a reputation for being dry, an affliction I wanted to avoid at all costs. I brought in bacon to the rescue, which is ground up with onions and a generous amount of herbs for a stuffing that gives both moisture and flavor to the roulade.

The stuffing gets whizzed up in a food processor (no chopping!), and is easily adaptable to incorporate dried cherries or other dried fruit in place of cranberries.

Do ahead: The stuffing can be made a day in advance, cooled on a plate, and stored in the refrigerator until the turkey is ready for stuffing.

Squash-Roasted Bacon & Cranberry-Stuffed Turkey Roulade on www.simplebites.net #recipe #dinner #thanksgiving #turkey

The Squash

Two bacon-wrapped turkey roulades are tucked into the cavity of a spaghetti squash and the entire dish is roasted to perfection. Not only does this give you an instant vegetable side dish, but the scrumptious drippings from the bacon and the turkey flavors the squash perfectly.

I chose spaghetti squash (the largest I could find) because it seemed to naturally form the boat shape I was looking for in developing this recipe, but you could use any winter squash you like.

I gave the squash a 30 minute head start on the roasting time before adding the turkey roulade, and they both cooked up evenly. The squash provided a welcoming earthy contrast to the richness of the bacon-wrapped roulade. I believe this pairing is here to stay.

Turkey roulade with cider gravy on www.simplebites.net #recipe

The Cider Gravy:

You know I’ve been completely preoccupied with apple cider this fall, and I wanted to work it into the recipe somehow when I was developing this dish. Originally I had thought about a glaze made with a reduction of cider, but as I was a little short on turkey stock for the gravy, I added a full cup of apple cider to the mix.

Both the stock and the cider reduced into one of the most flavorful sauces I have ever made. I swirled in butter for a little richness and it gave a beautiful glossy sheen to the gravy. I think cider gravy is a new mainstay in our family Thanksgiving dinner.

Do ahead: If you have turkey stock on hand, the gravy can be made a day in advance.

Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy

Turkey breasts gets a flavour boost from a herb stuffing and stays moist thank to a bacon-wrapped exterior. Two roulades are roasted in a halved spaghetti squash which cooks up to be a simple side dish.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Cuisine: Dinner
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 471kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 14 rashers bacon divided
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon grease or butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground savory
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 turkey breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  • Peel the onion and the garlic, and cut the onion into quarters. Combine 4 rashers of bacon, onion, garlic, and sage in a food processor and pulse about 10 times until mostly ground together.
  • Heat bacon grease in a medium sauce pan and add the onion mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
  • Add cranberries, savory, salt and parsley to the stuffing and cook for another minute or so. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Use a sharp knife to butterfly the turkey breasts open and flatten them slightly with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin covered in plastic wrap.
  • Divide stuffing between the two breasts and spread it out evenly. Roll the breasts up, and place them, cut side down onto a board or tray. Wrap each roulade with 4-6 slices of bacon, tucking the ends under the turkey.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves in a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes. (It's okay to leave the turkey at room temperature while the squash pre-cooks.)
  • Remove squash from the oven and place the bacon-wrapped roulades into the cavity of the squash. Return the dish to the oven, lower oven temperature to 350F and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey roulade is 155F, about one hour and 30 minutes. Cooking times WILL vary, so be sure to use an instant read meat thermometer and keep an eye on the internal temperature.
  • Remove roasting tray from the oven and let turkey rest for about ten minutes. This gives you time to warm the gravy and heat any other side dishes. Serve roulade in slices with plenty of cider gravy.


Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 828mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Squash-Roasted Bacon & Cranberry-Stuffed Turkey Roulade on www.simplebites.net #recipe #dinner #thanksgiving #turkey

Cider Gravy

A pan and a whisk are all that you need to cook up this flavorful gravy. It is thinner than most, but a little goes a long way as it is quite rich.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 Tablespoons
Calories: 60kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 1 cup fresh apple cider
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter cubed and cold
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  • Combine turkey stock, apple cider and sage leaves in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened slightly. Remove sage leaves and discard.
  • Using a whisk, drop in cubes of cold butter and whisk to incorporate.The sauce will take on a rich sheen. Add pepper and remove from heat.
  • Pour gravy into a small jug and keep hot until ready to serve.


Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 91mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.2mg


Are you roasting turkey for Thanksgiving, this month or next?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Gorgeous! What a fab recipe.

  2. This looks delicious! We have Canadian Thanksgiving off from school every year — they call it “October Break” and cite Columbus Day, but I know it’s because we’re in Maine and a LOT of our students are Canadian. Maybe I ought to take advantage of it and make this!

  3. Gorgeous meal and pairings! I’ve been tossing around various ideas for our dinner next weekend and not really wanting to roast a whole turkey, this idea is perfect. Love how you incorporated the squash.
    And cider gravy?! Yum.
    I’ll make a pie and I think we”ll be good and satisfied. Xx

  4. STUNNING!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  5. Makes me VERY excited for out Thanksgiving feast!!

  6. oh man, I wish our Thanksgiving was next week! I could totally go for this right now 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I’d be so tempted to make this except that my kids refuse to eat turkey. And my husband must have a smoked turkey. But the presentation would be worth it just for the expression on their faces. They could have PB&J and I’d eat it!

  8. What a gorgeous recipe- have a great Thanksgiving!

  9. Delicious recipe, Aimee!

  10. Great idea for thanksgiving! I like that you get the main and one side in the oven at the same time!

  11. I love love love Roulades! This one sounds absolutely fantastic!

  12. I have never roasted a turkey in my life. But this, THIS, is definitely worth trying. I am amazed by your ingenuity! Even my turkey-averse husband may be converted.

    • Thanks, Julia. I hope you try it!! I’ve heard about so many turkey aversions today; I honestly had no idea. I’m not setting out to make converts, but it seems to be happening. 😉

  13. JulieJesusfieldes says

    This looks amazing, I’m going to try it! I have one question, are the turkey breast skinless? In the video, his have skin on. If that is the case where do I find skin on turkey breast only?
    Thanks Julie

  14. Oh man, this is heaven on a plate!! I think this might be my new favorite recipe 🙂 and I’m betting my husband’s too!

  15. 5 stars
    I don’t see anything wrong with being preoccupied by apple cider. I believe, in fact, that apple cider is the greatest thing about autumn. And to get off the apple cider track for a second, I believe you’ve created a recipe here that might actually get me to eat squash!

  16. Oh my goodness! This is perfect! It’s gorgeous and I can only imagine how delicious it is too. Totally making this for thanksgiving!

  17. I made this for dinner tonight for our family of three (recipe halved). I couldn’t find spaghetti squash so I used butternut, which I hollowed out a little more since the seed area isn’t big. It was so delicious!! We paired it with Brussel sprouts. It’s a definite keeper. The turkey was very moist and favourful and I love that so much could be done ahead of time.

  18. Aimée,
    I’ll be roasting a turkey next month–the Filbrun family has been growing turkeys and our CSA farmers offered to be the go-between, so when they deliver our Thanksgiving week farm share (home delivery for Thanksgiving week, what a treat!) they will be delivering our freshly killed local turkey in addition to the sweet potatoes, celery, and other veggie goodness that will make up our meal.
    I’m looking forward to it!
    I just fixed mac and cheese in a pumpkin, and I am amazed at how moist cooking something in another vegetable can be.

  19. Can you make the cider gravy ahead of time and re-heat it the day of?

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