Balsamic Glazed Turkey Vegetable Meatloaf

This is my take on meatloaf: more vegetables and fewer processed ingredients. It's super satisfying, moist and full of delicious flavors and textures. This recipe makes 10+ servings, so it's great for a crowd, freezing for leftovers or you can simply cut the recipe in 1/2 if you don't want to make as much!

Now, I wouldn't be me if I didn't make some adjustments to a traditional comfort food to make it healthier. I don't know about you, but there's just something about squeezing globs of ketchup from a bottle into my food that is really unappealing. So naturally, I created my own substitute with awesome flavor, no additives, preservatives, "natural" flavors, or unnecessary amounts of added sugar. 

I also used a tried and true simple swap for breadcrumbs - ground rolled oats! Throw some old fashioned rolled oats into a blender or food processor and pulse them a few times until you have a bread crumb like consistency. This preserves all the fiber and nutrients of the oats and eliminates the need for bread crumbs, which are usually made with a plethora of puzzling ingredients. 

To give you a visual comparison, here's the ingredient list from a popular brand of breadcrumbs: 

And here's the list of ingredients for your homemade oat crumbs: Old fashioned Rolled Oats. 

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How 'bout them apples? Which do you prefer: the whole food version or the trans fat containing 43 ingredient version? (Yes...there are FORTY THREE ingredients in breadcrumbs!)

The ready made breadcrumbs in a tub and ketchup in a bottle may be convenient, but I really encourage you to take the 1-2 extra minutes to make these on your own and do right by your body! :)

I paired this meal with some balsamic roasted brussels sprouts - one of my go-to favorite side vegetables. I'm not going to lie, I have been known to eat a whole bag of roasted brussels sprouts for dinner...they're that good. Just slice them in half, toss with 1-2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until they've reached your desired level of doneness. Roasting brings out the sweetness in so many veggies, so if you're a brussels sprouts hater and haven't given this preparation method a try, it's worth the risk! 

Recipe: Balsamic Glazed Turkey Vegetable Meatloaf

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 60 - 75 minutes

Servings: 10-12

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Ingredients for Meatloaf:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt (you can also use garlic paste from a jar)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp each Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 pounds ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats ground to crumb consistency (although it's more finely ground, oat flour would work here as well)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce mixture (*see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Tomato Sauce Mixture: 

  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

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Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over high heat. Add zucchini, bell peppers, onion, garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. SautΓ© this vegetable mixture for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are soft, then set aside.
  3. Mix together the egg, thyme and parsley in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for tomato sauce mixture and mix until smooth. It should be about the consistency of ketchup.
  5. Add ground turkey, ground oats, grated cheese, 1/2 cup tomato sauce mixture, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and sautΓ©d vegetable mixture; mix all of these ingredients until just combined.
  6. Press the turkey mixture into two 9x5 loaf pans.
  7. Mix together the remaining tomato sauce mixture, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Divide the mixture between the two loaves and spread evenly over the top of each loaf.
  8. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees and glaze on top should appear dark and caramelized. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.