Herbed and Veggied Turkey Meatloaf

This meatloaf is anything BUT dry and boring...and so not Meh!

This meatloaf is anything BUT dry and boring…and so not Meh!

Meatloaf = Meh.

I know. As they say in these parts, “them’s fightin’ words!” But for the longest time, meatloaf did equal “meh” to me. A big mass of meat, usually dry and covered with ketchup. Naturally that wasn’t really what was going on with the meatloaf presented to me, but that’s how I felt about it…like I’d really so much rather have a burger!

Then a few years ago I tasted an amazing turkey meatloaf at a local restaurant. It was moist and flavorful, had lots of veggies, oats and sun-dried tomatoes in it, and was served with a mushroom gravy and mashed redskin potatoes. How could you NOT like that? But the main thing was, it turned my head around about the potential of a meatloaf. I decided then and there that I should revisit my thoughts on meatloaf and give it a fair shake. Since then, I’ve had some fabulous sandwiches and platesβ€”and some equally not-so-fabulous ones. I’ve experimented making meatloaf at home, too, such as the beef and pork variety, the all-beef and the all-turkey…with varying degrees of success, like and love. But my most recent fave is this Herbed and Veggied Turkey MeatloafΒ that I’m very enthusiastic about for a number of reasons.

Look at the steam rising off that puppy!

You can see the steam rising off that puppy.

First and second…this turkey meatloaf tastes great and it’s healthy. While I’m a true fan of making food healthy whenever possible, I’m not interested if it doesn’t taste really good, and therefore I won’t use a non-fat product that was intended to have some fat in it and is consequently sub par in taste and texture. As a result, you’ll find throughout this blog recipes that are a good mix of the healthy, and a healthy dose of the decadent. This turkey meatloaf falls mostly into the former category, but dips just a teensy little bit into the latter one, too, simply from the richness of taste. And here are five more reasons I really love it:

It’s moist and flavorful.
It’s full-bodied and dense.
It’s practically a meal unto itself.
It makes a mean meatloaf sandwich.
It’s actually as delicious cold as it is hot, and it gets two thumbs up from my meatloaf-loving husband! (Okay, that’s six reasons.)


BAM’s bashed potatoes!

This recipe was adapted from one I saw in the magazine Southern Living and I just fell in love with it. We enjoyed this with some of BAM’s Kitchen’s bashed potatoes, which are pretty awesome and you need to check those out in her flank steak, spinach and potato post right here. Because I was having a turkey meatloaf, I decided to forego the bacon in BAM’s recipe just this once, and I substituted olive oil with a touch of butter instead, along with more onion and some rosemary for my herbs. All I can say is…these two dishes were made for each other!

So now I’m a bona fide meatloaf convert, and one who is really looking forward to tonight’s meatloaf sandwich! I’ll make mine the traditional way with marinara, mozzarella and good bread, but you can see a delicious-sounding gourmet version for some inspiration at Karen’s Backroad Journal blog right here.

‘Tis the season for meatloaf, and I do hope you’ll give this one a try!

Herbed and Veggied Turkey Meatloaf
(Adapted from Southern Living Magazine)
Serves 8

1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil, divided
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of your favorite herbed pasta or marinara sauce, divided (homemade is even better!)
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
12 ounces of fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 Tablespoon each of fresh parsley, thyme and oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons of Italian pasta seasoning (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Optional additional pasta or marinara sauce for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, then dab a tiny bit of it onto a clean paper towel to grease an 8 x 11 inch casserole dish and set the dish aside. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and add in the raw spinach. Cook the spinach until it is well wilted and just tender. Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing to release the liquid and set aside. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon ofΒ olive oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots to the mixture and saute an additional 3 or 4 minutes until the onion is tender. Set aside and cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, the spinach, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, the turkey, oats, chopped herbs, Italian pasta seasoning, salt, pepper and egg. Mix well with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated evenly. Shape the mixture into a 5 x 10 inch loaf and place it into the greased casserole dish. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of pasta or marinara sauce over the top of the loaf and bake another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into 8 portions and serve, passing additional pasta sauce if desired. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3 days.

NIght time shots are very cruel, but you can get the idea of what a great plate o' food this is!

NIght time shots are very cruel, but you can get the idea of what a great plate o’ food this is!


51 thoughts on “Herbed and Veggied Turkey Meatloaf

  1. I love the steam rising off your meatloaf. Packed with so many great vegetables and herbs, I know this one will be a big hit and super moist. I agree your meatloaf and my bacon bashed potatoes are a match made for each other. It says it serves 8 but I have hungry teenage boys so maybe I need to double the recipe? Thanks so much for the mention and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. Take care, BAM


  2. I really enjoy a good meat loaf dinner, Betsy, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s made with turkey or beef & pork. If it’s flavorful, that’s all that matters. More than anything else, though, I love a meat loaf sandwich the next day. Whether it’s served hot, with gravy, or like a traditional sandwich, it makes for one fantastic meal. I’ll definitely give this a try. If it tastes just half as good as your Spooktacular Chili, I’ll be very happy. Thanks for sharing.


    • I’m with you on the sandwich, John. As much as I’ve come to love the meatloaf in its many forms, it’s the sandwich that is the ultimate goal! πŸ˜‰ I hope you do enjoy this if you make it, and I’m still so pleased that you love that chili as much as we do. I haven’t made any in a few weeks now, so may have to make another batch this weekend. Thanks, John, for your great comments!


  3. Meatloaf looks Paleo-Adaptive, simply skipping the oats, making sure the Marinara doesn’t have sugar in ingredients list, which we’ve found at Trader Joes… πŸ˜›


    • That’s true and a good point, Norma, as long as the kid isn’t phobic about seeing green in food! But for sure taste-wise the veggies meld nicely in this with all the other ingredients, so I should think it would be quite palatable for kids. πŸ™‚


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  5. I love the fact that there is spinach in your recipe Betsy.
    I have recently decided to make peace with spinach and am looking for ways to work it into our meals. I am starting off with meals in which spinach doesn’t take center stage and this sounds like a perfect example of that.
    Thank you for sharing


  6. I always associate meatloaf with the US – is it a very American dish? I’ve never had a traditional one I guess, but the ones I’ve had I actually really enjoyed. People always act like it’s the worst thing ever on movies and TV shows, but come on… what’s not to like? Looks really nice Betsy πŸ™‚


    • That’s a great question, Charles, and I had to look it up, but actually Wikipedia says it has European origins which makes sense and you can read about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meatloaf it’s kind of interesting. I had also heard of scrapple, the first “American” version, but haven’t ever tasted it. Meatloaf gets a bad rap, I think, because so much of it out there isn’t properly made and is dry. As you can imagine, a big hunk of dry ground meat is kind of like eating cardboard, and hence the tendency to make fun of it. But like so many food items in this country, it had been resurrected recently, in some cases to an art form! Thanks for your comment and question, Charles! πŸ™‚


      • Thanks for taking the time to look it up Betsy – I’m really surprised it has European origins… it seemed like something so stereotypically American… go to some dead-end diner, ask for the menu – “meatloaf”… perhaps I’ve been watching too many TV shows, haha πŸ˜€


        • Interestingly enough, we met friends at a local restaurant last night and the manager, who knows us well, brought out some complimentary platters of house made charcuterie and a marrow dish he wanted us to taste. Amongst the selection was, in fact, scrapple, which had been fried! It was not my favorite item, but now I’ve tried some. Had I not looked up the origins of meatloaf, I wouldn’t have even known what it was or been at all interested…so thank YOU for inspiring me to do so! As to the European origins…I should have realized meat minces would be kin to meatloaf on some level.


    • Yes, meatloaf still isn’t the first thing I jump for on a menu…I have to know that it has been properly prepared or is very special…or make it myself. This turkey version is really good because it uses so many vegetables that are good with turkey and makes an interesting texture for the meatloaf…and a very savory one. In some ways, it’s kind of like turkey and stuffing all rolled into a loaf. πŸ™‚


  7. I love making meatloaf even more so for the many uses of leftover meatloaf! This is a wonderful combination of flavors and really does look moist and delicious. Love all the veggies in this too. We could use some healthy dishes during the holiday feasting!


    • Hi Linda, so good to see you here! πŸ™‚ I hope your holidays have been happy so far. Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, we are trying to eat healthy dishes in between the madness of the festivities, and this meatloaf definitely fits the bill…unless you add cheese, bread and more marinara sauce to make a sandwich! After a weekend of parties, I think it’s greens and green soup for me this week to prepare for next weekend. πŸ˜‰


    • Thank you, Smidge! This meatloaf never disappoints us, so I hope you will feel the same way about it, and let me know how you like it! I’m so tempted to make it again right away, it was so tasty, but I think we’ll be doing all-veg meals for a couple of days after the holiday festivities this past weekend. πŸ˜‰


  8. I love the versatility of meat loaf and for the 5 reasons that you’ve profiled. I recently made a meat loaf using the recipe from Saskia at 1=2 where she added grated pumpkin to the meat — but you also make a large batch and form 1/2 of the mixture into hamburger patties and then throw them in the freezer. Isn’t that a smart idea? I’m a big fan of meatloaf with some kind of flavourful sauce on the top — so I know that I would love this Betsy. Hopefully you can relax for a meal or two now this week, as the work is done.


    • HI Barb, I don’t eat pumpkin but I do love Saskia’s idea about making burger patties out of part of the meat mixture…that’s a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing that and for your comment. Unfortunately this was made last week, so none left now. I just made some of my lean, green broccoli and spinach soup last night for us to “cleanse” after a weekend of holiday debauchery…so to speak! Next up I’ve got to bake some cookies, darn it! πŸ˜‰


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