Recipe: Italian Turkey Meatloaf

This old-fashioned comfort food gets a modern makeover with lean ground turkey and mushrooms, which make the meatloaf more savory and tender.

Alison Miksch

A Southern comfort dish turned on its healthy heel. 

Looking for the classic comfort of a warm and savory meatloaf without the guilt? Ground turkey is a lower fat alternative to ground red meats that doesn’t compromise on flavor or texture. Turkey meatloaves are healthy, low hassle, and can be used to make a handful of different dishes—try a slice between some toast for a hearty sandwich or with mashed potatoes and veggies for a tried-and-true southern staple.

Step 1: Lock In Moisture

The challenge with how to make a meatloaf with ground turkey is finding a way to lock in moisture for that beloved spongy meatloaf texture. Keep your turkey meatloaf moist with finely diced vegetables, breadcrumbs and eggs. This classic Italian turkey meatloaf recipe suggests half a pound of ground button mushrooms, half a finely chopped onion, half a cup of grated parmesan cheese, some Italian breadcrumbs, minced garlic, and a beaten eggs. Combine these ingredients, half a can of tomato sauce, some basil pesto, and a package of lean ground turkey using your hands. Let the soggy concoction coating your hands assure you that your meatloaf will hold moisture as it bakes.

Step 2: Form Your Loaf

Choose your favorite loaf pan and line with heavy-duty aluminum foil. This will make your turkey meatloaf easy to remove and save you one less dish to wash. Coat the aluminum foil with butter or cooking spray and fill loaf pan with your turkey vegetable mixture. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to prevent any accidental spillage from dripping into your oven.

WATCH: How To Make a Healthy Turkey Club

Step 3: Sit Back and Relax

Bake your turkey meatloaf for an hour at 400 degrees and find yourself a comfy spot to relax and wait. Momentarily pause your relaxation halfway through to spread the other half of the can of tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf. For added sweetness and a delicate crunch, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of brown sugar. After your kitchen timer has dinged and the internal temperature of the turkey meatloaf is 165 degrees, take your loaf out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

These basic steps adapt to all sorts of fabulous turkey meatloaf recipes. Try out this one and many more!