I’m all aboard the “new year, new you” train. At sixteen days into 2017, I haven’t had a single soda and I’ve started a health(ier) diet! Dieting, as I’m sure many of us know, can be tricky, especially when you are trying to keep unhealthy cravings at bay. I’ve found that if I can trick myself into eating things I love, like meatloaf, that are made into their healthy versions, I have a much higher rate of success with the diet as whole.
Turkey is a perfect replacement for beef in meatloaf as it assumes a similar texture when baked loaf-style and it’s super easy to manipulate flavor wise. I packed my meatloaf full of vegetables like spinach, onions and peppers, then made a spicy balsamic glaze for the top as a take on classic meatloaf.
I used oats instead of bread or bread crumbs to help my turkey meatloaf stay together – and I think from now on I’ll always use oats in my meatloaves. I recently discovered how much I love oats and have started using it in basically everything.
Let the oats soak until they are practically mushy, the same way as you would prepare bread for a traditional meatloaf. I let mine marinade for about two hours prior to making the meatloaf, to really soak up all the flavors involved.
When the time comes to make the loaf, mix in the spinach at the same time as the meat. If you want, you can shred the spinach, but I left my leaves whole. Be sure to thoroughly grease a loaf pan before you dump the turkey mixture in! Otherwise, you’re in for some not-fun clean up.
Right before I popped my loaf into the oven, I made a simple glaze from spicy ketchup, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice then spread it across the top of the turkey loaf.
I covered mine with foil for the first part of baking and baked the loaf for forty five minutes, then uncovered and baked for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes.
PRO TIP: Make your turkey loaf the night before and let cool completely. Reheat the next day for thirty minutes. Letting the cooked turkey loaf rest overnight really helps the loaf stay together when you cut it out of the tin. No worries if you don’t have time to wait, you can still eat the loaf on the same night you make it, just let it rest for about fifteen minutes prior to serving. It’s also amazing served cold (between two slices of bread, if you want to skip the diet!).
Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf
- 16 oz ground turkey
- 2 ½ cup oats
- 2 cups almond milk or milk of choice
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 eggs whisked
- ¼ cups onion chopped
- ¼ cup bell peppers chopped
- 3 tablespoons garlic minced
- ½ lemon juiced
- ¼ cup spicy ketchup
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, stir together the oats, almond milk, chopped onions, peppers, and garlic. Whisk the eggs and pour them into the oats. Mix in the whole grain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, fresh herbs and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let marinate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a loaf pan well. Add the ground turkey and spinach to the oat mixture. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Pour the turkey mixture into the loaf pan.
- Whisk together the ketchup, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Spread the sauce over the top of the turkey loaf. Cover the pan with foil.
- Bake the turkey loaf, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the turkey loaf reaches 160 F. Rest 15 minutes prior to serving, for the meatloaf will continue to cook and be hard to remove from the pan if served too quickly. Garnish with additional ketchup and fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- OPTIONAL: Let rest, covered and refrigerated overnight (or 8-10 hours). This helps the turkey loaf retain its shape. To reheat: bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.