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Rustic Turkey Mini-Meat Loaves

February 3, 2012

Meat Loaf. The proverbial comfort food. But not always as delicious as the vision in my head. What happens? Over-baked, hard loaves for one. Or  done on the outside and not-quite-done, kind-of-falling-apart on the inside. Also, heavy, sometimes just too heavy.

Making a lighter meatloaf

Years ago, I came up with my Springtime Meat Loaf as a response to all that density. There should not be so much meat destiny – I mean density. The solution? Lighten up the meat mixture with a healthy infusion of shredded or grated vegetables and freshly chopped herbs. Excellent additions: onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot, small potato, red pepper, carrot, parsley, cilantro, thyme – experiment – any combo will do.

Close encounters of the meatloaf kind

Poof! The loaf is lighter – now stop loafin’ around!  Get on my plate!

I prefer to do mini meat loaves, rustic, that is –  black gold, Texas Tea. Oh, excuse me, my mind wandered for a moment there.

Three Amigos

For those of you who like the crunchy end pieces of bread and the crunchy end pieces of anything-baked, you will understand where I’m going with this. If you do 3 free-form loaves shaped on a baking sheet, you will yield triple the amount of crunchy and crusty end pieces. Hooray!

Rustic Turkey Mini- Meat Loaves


1-1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
1 egg
1/4 c. old-fashioned oatmeal
1 T. ketchup
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 large or 1 small zucchini, shredded
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 small white potato, shredded
1/4 white or yellow onion, chopped or grated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. fresh Italian parsley, chopped (can substitute 1/2 – 1 t. dried herbs- experiment!)
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
salt & pepper
extra ketchup for tops of loaves (about 3 t.)
1/2 t. maple flakes or brown sugar for tops of loaves

Optional: can substitute 1 T. of flax seed meal for part of the oatmeal


Pre-heat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with light cooking spray.

Shred or grate veggies (I do it either way depending on my mood – if vegetables are watery, drain off a little liquid – I shredded the veggies this time – the better to see them) and chop fresh herbs. In a large bowl, mix meat with veggies, oatmeal, herbs, seasonings, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce (and anything else in your kitchen, just kidding).

OK, before you get to the next step, make sure the ketchup, something sweet to sprinkle and a couple of spoons are handy. If you have maple flakes, awesome (I’m a lover of anything maple syrupy and these flakes are excellent – I found them at Surfas, where else, but if they’re not around, brown sugar works well).

Now wash your hands, fashion 3 free-form loaves on the pan, go wash your hands again, I’m a stickler about those things and squirt a little ketchup atop each loaf. Using the back of a spoon, coat the whole surface with a very thin layer of ketchup (too thick and it won’t glaze) and sprinkle a bit of maple flakes (or brown sugar) over the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brown and firm to the touch. Remove and loosely tent with foil (I do this all the time). Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Of course, you can choose to do this as a regular meat loaf… bake for one hour. Recipe can be doubled – use 2 large baking pans (or make a large loaf and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes). But herein lies another mini-loaf advantage – dinner’s ready sooner!

bb notes:

Did you know hummus is delicious with meat loaf?  I didn’t until the two ended up next to each other on a plate – they make a great pair.


From → Poultry

One Comment
  1. Karen permalink

    This is one of my favorites! Can you still put an egg in the middle of the mini loaf?

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