Recipe: Easy Juicy Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf

Recipe: Easy Juicy Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf

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Jenn Fillenworth
Apr 16, 2018
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

What would some of our favorite comfort food classics looks like if we asked a nutritionist to give them a makeover? In this series of recipes, you see how smart choices around vegetables, meats, and cheese make for a lighter, more nutritious take on everything from mac and cheese to meatloaf without ever compromising the flavor.

When I was growing up, meatloaf was a staple recipe in our household. I specifically remember my dad and I being overjoyed to hear it was on the weeknight menu.

Now meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food for me. But while it's a great source of protein, it tends to lack vegetables that could actually help to boost flavor and provide more vitamins and minerals.

Giving Meatloaf a Nutritionist's Makeover

The Meat

This revamped turkey meatloaf does not cut out the meat, but rather packs in the vegetables. Since ground turkey tends to be quite lean, this variety of vegetables give it the moisture it needs along with added vitamins and minerals.

The Binder

Sweet potatoes replace the breadcrumbs in this meatloaf since they have natural starches, which makes them a great binder (not to mention gluten-free).

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Grating the vegetables is an easy preparation method and helps them blend into the meatloaf seamlessly. The combination of shredded apple and the apple balsamic glaze complement the turkey and sweet potatoes, giving this recipe major earthy, fall vibes that can be enjoyed all year round.

This recipe is a great opportunity to get the kids in the kitchen, helping to grate the vegetables and put the loaf mixture together. They'll love the hands-on preparation of this recipe and will be excited to dive in.

It's important let the meatloaf cool down in the pan for five to 10 minutes after it's finished baking to reabsorb all those delicious juices. Be patient here — it's absolutely worth the wait and the meatloaf will be easier to slice.

Easy Juicy Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf

Serves 6

  • For the meatloaf:
  • Cooking spray

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    diced yellow or sweet onion

  • 1/2 cup

    grated zucchini

  • 1/2 cup

    peeled and grated carrot

  • 3

    cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/4 pounds

    ground turkey, mix of white and dark meat

  • 1 cup

    mashed cooked sweet potato

  • 1/2 cup

    grated sweet apple

  • 1

    large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

  • For the apple-balsamic glaze:
  • 1/4 cup

    ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    maple syrup

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat an 8x4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, zucchini, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer to drain off the excess liquid and let cool for 5 minutes.

Place the ground turkey, sweet potato, egg, vegetable mixture, grated apple, mustard, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined, but do not overmix or the meatloaf will be tough. Transfer to the loaf pan and pat into an even layer.

Place all the ingredients for balsamic apple glaze in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer half to a serving bowl and set aside. Brush the top of the meatloaf with the remaining glaze.

Bake until cooked through and the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 165°F, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving so that the juices reabsorb into the meatloaf. Slice, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with the reserved glaze.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Leftover alternative: Save leftover slices for quick and easy meatloaf sandwiches for the kids' lunches.

Roasting sweet potatoes: To cook the sweet potatoes needed for this recipe, wrap in aluminum foil and roast in a 400°F oven until easily pierced with a fork, 40 to 45 minutes.

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