This recipe makes 2 small meatloaves.
My turkey meatloaf is so moist and delicious, even if it’s overcooked – there’s a reason I know this!
2 lbs ground turkey – preferably thigh meat
Vegetables for sautéing
note: when your prepping the veggies, keep the onions in one bowl and garlic separate in another. The carrot and celery however, can go together in a bowl.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
1 rib celery, small dice
1 large or 2 medium carrots, small dice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
The rest of the ingredients
2/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup milk or unsweetened milk substitute such as almond, soy or hemp milk
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs
I make my own gluten-free breadcrumbs with organic brown rice crispies. There are
few different brands on the market. Put 1/2 the box of crispies in a food processor and pulse till they are coarsely ground.
I will often do the whole box and keep the extra on hand for the next time, but put only half
the box in the food processor at a time or they don’t crush evenly.
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ketchup – spread on top at end. I like to use an unsweetened, organic ketchup
Pre-heat the oven to 350°
Sauté the veggies
Use a medium size skillet on a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onions and a pinch of sea salt. Cook the onions for up to 10 minutes, until they are well-cooked, rich and creamy. You will most likely need to add a splash of water every so often, just enough to prevent the onions from burning. Don’t forget to stir regularly.
When the onions are well-cooked add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until you get that lovely aroma of garlic. Then add the celery, carrots, thyme, a pinch or two of sea salt and a splash of water. Stir well and cover. Stir every few minutes. Cook until the carrots and celery are tender. Not mush, just tender and cooked through. This can take up to 10 minutes – it all depends on the size you cut the veggies.
Set aside to cool with the cover off.
Put the ground turkey and other ingredients in a large bowl
While the veggies are cooling you can start to put all the other ingredients in a bowl. Use a decent size bowl to mix. Put your ground turkey on the bottom, then add the parsley, Worcestershire, milk or milk substitute, tomato paste, eggs, sea salt and pepper. Hold off on the panko/gluten-free breadcrumbs till the veggies go in. Don’t stir yet! *see note at bottom about this.
Add cooled veggies and mix
When the veggies have cooled (they don’t have to be completely room temp, they can have a little warmth to them but not hot, straight off the stove) add them to the turkey mixture, then add the panko/crumbs and now stir. I have a big wooden spoon I like to use. Lots of people like to just use their hands. The main thing is you don’t want to over mix this. *Again – see below about the over-mixing bit.
Time to bake
Now, there are two ways you can cook this. You can put them in loaf pans or make loaf shapes out of them and bake them on a sheet pan. I generally do the sheet pan.
Loaf Pan: Oil two loaf pans well, cut parchment paper to fit. Put the meatloaf in. Bake till done.
Sheet Pan: Oil the sheet pan well. Make 2 loaf shapes – mine always look kinda like half a football. They are mounded and rather oblong in shape.
Spread ketchup on top. An offset spatula is very helpful with this.
Bake in a 350° oven till done, which will be about 40 minutes or so. Test the internal temperature, which should be 165°. But, as mentioned in the beginning, I have often cooked these to 175° and they are still perfectly moist and delicious.
Some people say if you put a pan of water in the oven it helps keep the meatloaf from cracking. I never do that though. These aren’t huge loaves so maybe that’s why they don’t crack??? No idea!
I have a digital thermometer, you know the kind you can leave in the meat in the oven, and I poke it into one of the loaves and set it to go off at 165°. And then sometimes I just don’t pay attention to that beeping thermometer! Hence, meatloaf cooked to 175° – and still good!
Make extra to freeze
These freeze beautifully! I will often double the recipe so I have some to tuck in the freezer. This is one of my kids favorite dishes so it’s nice to have it around for when they come to visit.
I suggest leaving the ketchup off the meatloaf that you are going to freeze. When it gets wrapped up the ketchup will come off on the film (film – aka: non-plastic, vegetable sourced plasticky sort of wrap) so you’d just have to put more on anyhow.
You can freeze a whole loaf or slice it up and wrap individual pieces to freeze.
*ok – so here’s the note at the bottom: A friend of mine was helping me out in my kitchen a few years ago and she was making this recipe. She worked and worked and worked it, kneading and kneading it every time she added another ingredient. This meatloaf, which is normally so light and moist, came out so dense and heavy. I had no idea what happened. She followed the recipe exactly in terms of ingredients and the only thing that was different was how she kneaded the daylights out of this mixture.
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