Our turkey meatloaf is so moist and delicious, even if it’s overcooked (there’s a reason I know this)! When you have all the ingredients mixed together you’ll find this is a very wet mix. Don’t worry. This is what helps keep the meatloaves moist when they are done.
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil
- 1 onion, small diced
- 1 carrot, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2⁄3 cup chopped parsley
- 1⁄4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄4 cup milk or vegan milk, organic unsweetened oat milk is my favorite
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup panko – for gluten-free use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed brown rice crispies
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Pre-heat the oven to 350°
Sauté the veggies
Use a medium-size skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions for up to 10 minutes, until they are well-cooked, rich, and creamy. Add a splash of water every so often, just enough to prevent the onions from burning. 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 the veggies 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 large bowl. 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 the notes about over-mixing.
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. See the notes about the over-mixing bit.
Time to bake
We use a loaf pan to shape the meatloaves. We don’t cook them in the pan since I’ve found they are hard to get out. Place a silicone baking sheet on a sheet pan. Oil the loaf pan, pack half the turkey mixture into the loaf pan, then invert the loaf pan over the cookie sheet and tap so the meatloaf comes out.
Repeat with the second bit of turkey mix.
Spread ketchup on top of the meatloaves. An offset spatula or the back of a spoon is very helpful with this.
Bake in a 350° oven till done, which will be about 40 minutes or so. Use an instant-read thermometer to 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!
Make extra to freeze
These freeze beautifully! I will often double the recipe so I have extra to tuck in the freezer. This a favorite of my kids 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. You can freeze a whole loaf or slice it up and wrap individual pieces to freeze.