Nothing says comfort food like meatloaf, and Easy Turkey Meatloaf is a healthier version of this classic dish. Swapping out fatty ground beef for lean ground turkey and using egg whites instead of whole eggs results in a lighter, lower calorie meatloaf. Adding Southwestern seasonings – including chipotle peppers in adobo, cumin and cilantro – keep it super flavorful with a subtle kick. Tomato sauce, both inside and on top, keep this Turkey Meatloaf moist, too!
Meatloaf is one of those dishes that evokes feelings of heart-warming, home cooking. According to the LA Times, “in the United States, meatloaf has attained iconic comfort food status, right up there with fried chicken and mac and cheese, hamburgers and hot dogs.” I have loved meatloaf since I was a kid. In fact, it was one of the first dishes I learned how to make in a middle school cooking class.
I have several different delicious meatloaf recipes I make often, including my Cajun Meatloaf, Italian Meatloaf, and Mini Meatloaves Wrapped in Prosciutto. While I love all these versions, from time to time I want that same comforting feeling from a meatloaf that’s lighter – in calories, fat and Weight Watchers points – while still satisfying, moist and flavorful. This Easy Turkey Meatloaf fits the bill perfectly.
Why this healthy turkey meatloaf recipe works
This Easy Turkey Meatloaf recipe is moist and full of flavor, with that perfect not-too-dense, not-too loose meatloaf texture. Here’s why:
- Lean ground turkey instead of ground beef. Ground turkey is a leaner, versatile, flavorful ingredient that works well in meatloaves, provided you mix it with other ingredients that add moisture and complementary flavors.
- Egg whites instead of whole eggs. Using just the whites lowers the calorie count while maintaining moisture in the meatloaf.
- Tomato sauce, both inside and on top. Tomato sauce inside adds needed moisture, keeping the meatloaf juicy, and also provides additional flavor. Brushing a tomato sauce, catsup and Tabasco mixture on top halfway through cooking adds color, brightness and a bit of spice.
- A loaf pan. With traditional fattier beef-based meatloaves, using a loaf pan can sometimes result in a greasy meatloaf. On the other hand, using a loaf pan to bake a meatloaf prepared with much leaner turkey helps to retain the juices, keeping it moist.
What to serve with Easy Turkey Meatloaf
Here are my favorite side dishes to serve with this meatloaf:
- Mashed Potatoes with Parsley and Chives
- Golden Potatoes (Twice Baked Potato Casserole)
- Cauliflower Purée (in my cookbook “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®”)
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Quick and Easy Sautéed Asparagus
- Broccoli Salad
- Broccoli with Bacon and Walnuts
- Lemon Dijon Green Beans
- Spinach Salad with Lemon-Pine Nut Dressing
- Coleslaw with Lemon-Mayonnaise Dressing
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Nothing says comfort food like meatloaf, and Easy Turkey Meatloaf is a healthier version of this iconic dish. Swapping out fatty ground beef for lean ground turkey and using egg whites instead of eggs results in a lighter, lower calorie meatloaf. Adding in southwestern seasonings keep it super flavorful with a subtle kick. Tomato sauce, both inside and on top, keep this Turkey Meatloaf super moist, too!
- 4 to 5 teaspoons puréed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce – see Note
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats – see Note
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 pounds ground turkey (mix of regular and breast)
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix all meat loaf ingredients (chipotle chiles through ground turkey) until well combined. Spoon into prepared loaf pan and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1/4 cup tomato sauce, ketchup and Tabasco. Brush mixture evenly over meatloaf, cover with foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let stand ten minutes before serving.
To make puréed chipotles in adobo sauce: Place 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle chiles and their sauce in a food processor and blend unto puréed. Place leftover purée in a closed container and refrigerate for another use (will last for months in your frig!).
Make ahead: Meatloaf can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving. Can also be baked, cooled, covered and frozen for up to 2 months.
Note on oats: I prefer the texture from quick-cooking oats in this recipe, but you can also make it with regular.