In an effort to cut fat, I have been trying to substitute ground turkey for ground beef.  My initial attempts were not very successful. White, bland and dry pretty much summed it up! Turkey definitely needs a little push to pull off some of your favorite beef dishes. After lots and lots of tweaking, I think this meatloaf tastes like pure comfort food. It is full of flavor, very moist, tender and it’s healthy!

Turkey Meatloaf

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 C. dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. steak seasoning (like Montreal’s)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. tomato paste
1/3 C. chicken stock
3/4 C. unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
2 lbs. ground turkey (1 lb. turkey breast, 1 lb. regular ground turkey, see Notes below)
2 – 3 T. ketchup

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, peppers and thyme sprigs. Cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook for just a minute more. Add the wine and reduce for just a minute or so. Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt and pepper, steak seasoning, Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste and chicken stock. Let this sit to cool to room temp.

Preheat your oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. After removing and discarding the thyme sprigs, add the onion mixture, breadcrumbs and turkey. Mix well with a wooden spoon and spread either into a large loaf pan or shape into individual meatloaves on a foil lined baking sheet with sides. Spread the ketchup over top and bake the large meatloaf for one hour or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, or the individual loaves for about 40 minutes, also to 160 degrees.

Tent with aluminum foil and allow the meatloaf to sit for five or ten minutes before cutting.


  • The trick to substituting turkey for beef is balancing the fat content and adding vegetables that provide moisture. Regular ground turkey has about the same amount of fat content as lean beef! So, to make it worth the switch, I use half all breast meat (that is super lean) and half regular ground turkey (which has a lot of dark meat). Using the white meat alone can leave you with a really dry end result…believe me, I know…I’ve tried many times.
  • When using small amounts of tomato paste, put the rest of the paste in sandwich size zipper bags and freeze. Then whenever you need some…just smack it around on the counter a bit and break off just what you need!
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