I love turkey but, for whatever reason, hesitated for many years to use ground turkey as a healthier substitute for beef or other meats. So, I decided to create my own recipe for turkey 'meat' loaf and give it a try. This is incredible and so moist. It is not a substitute for meatloaf, such as my version in the similar and related recipes links, but a delicious and healthy main dish onto its own. Now I use turkey instead of beef in many recipes. Turkey loaf is an easy and delicious main dish for a family dinner or casual entertaining. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled, adjusting baking time as needed.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1 cup finely chopped green and/or red peppers
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2-1/2 pounds ground turkey, preferably 93% lean (see notes below)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried savory
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions and peppers. Sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly with a whisk. Add the milk, Worcestershire sauce and lemon. Whisk again to combine. Stir in the cooled onions and peppers, sage, thyme, savory, cheese and breadcrumbs. Add the turkey, salt and pepper; mix gently with hands until well-combined. (If you want to taste for seasoning, take a small portion and cook thoroughly, either in the microwave or in a small skillet.) Form into a rough loaf and transfer to a baking sheet or casserole with shallow sides. Continue to shape into a uniform loaf, about 3-inches high and 5-inches wide, or other desired size. Bake until an internal temperature of 165°, about 1 hour. (Cooking time will depend on the shape of the loaf. If it is not too thick, check it in about 50 minutes so that it does not overcook.) Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This is great hot, room temperature or cold.
Notes: There are different types of ground turkey available. Where I shop, I can get ground breast, which is 99% lean, or mixed ground at either 93% or 85% lean. The choice is yours. Just remember that the ground breast will result in a drier, less tasty loaf, and the 85% is not much of a fat savings compared to ground chuck commonly used in a meatloaf. I prefer the 93% lean. As for the amount of turkey, I find it packed in 1.3 pound portions, which is why I use 2-1/2 pounds (actually 2.6 pounds) in this recipe. If you have 2 pounds, just add a few more breadcrumbs to soak up the extra liquid. The recipe can be halved or doubled as needed. If doubling, make two loaves to ensure the center cooks through before the outer portions dry out. Leftovers make great sandwiches.