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.
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
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
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- 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. Sauté this vegetable mixture for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are soft, then set aside.
- Mix together the egg, thyme and parsley in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for tomato sauce mixture and mix until smooth. It should be about the consistency of ketchup.
- Add ground turkey, ground oats, grated cheese, 1/2 cup tomato sauce mixture, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and sautéd vegetable mixture; mix all of these ingredients until just combined.
- Press the turkey mixture into two 9x5 loaf pans.
- 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.
- 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.