Turkey Loaf with a Ketchup Crust

2015-07-08 18.29.17RECIPE #13, DAY #10

ORIGINAL RECIPE: Really my own, but I got some tips from a Real Simple recipe*

2015-07-08 18.29.35TIMING: 45 minutes, most of it while the loaf is in the oven

DIFFICULTY: Not difficult at all

TOOLS: A baking pan and a potato masher

COOK TYPE: Stove top and oven

HEALTH: Well, it’s turkey, which is a nice, lean meat to work with. It is full of veggies and, in this version, served with a vegan mashed potato. So, score.

EXPERIENCE: My daughter inexplicably does not like chicken, so she begged me at the meat counter this past week to buy some ground turkey and see what I could do with it. I have been averse to ground turkey, which my mother started using as a substitution for ground beef in our family meals in the newly-health-conscious suburbs of the later 1990s. Now, one of my favorite meals in the world is American-style Spaghetti Bolognese made with a box of spaghetti, a jar of great marinara, and a pound of superb ground beef (and maybe, depending on your mood, some veggies). Removing the beef from this recipe and adding in ground turkey is a complete travesty. Turkey is drier, flatter (in taste), and less tender. Therefore, it is not a one to one substitution, and I have avoided it for about twenty years.

2015-07-08 18.22.59Therefore, when I brought home our little mound of ground (dark) turkey (which I figure would have more taste and moisture than the light meat), I knew we were not making spaghetti nor doing a direct substitute for a fattier meat.

Throw at me curveball number two. My son is on a temporary (hopefully) elimination diet and can not have any dairy. You know how many dinner recipes include cheese or milk? Unless you are lactose intolerant, I bet you have never noticed. Now, when searching recipe ideas for ground turkey, I knew that meatloaves are supposed to have milk. I believe it acts as a moisturizer? At any rate, I thought I could try it with broth, instead.

Therefore, our Turkey Loaf with a Ketchup Crust. It turned out really nice. My ten-year-old did most of the cooking (and I served as her sous chef), and I made up a vegan smashed potato to go alongside. We will be making this again when facing another bit of ground turkey.

NOTE: My favorite meatloaf still remains a sage-studded beef and pork loaf from an Ina Garten recipe. I’m sure that it will make its way up here eventually. However, I believe this one is more family friendly.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. I2015-07-08 18.29.27n a skillet or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive or safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 fine diced onion and 1/2 fine diced red, orange, or yellow bell pepper. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, put 12-16 oz dark ground turkey, 1/8 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk (or broth), 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and the contents of your skillet. Carefully mix it all together with your hands, but do not over-mix.
  4. In a baking dish (I like glass), form the meat into a loaf down the middle of the pan. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup ketchup with 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Spread this mixture on your loaf and bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil.
  7. Add a package of new potatoes big enough to feed your family. Cook until a fork skewers easily through a potato, making it sort of fall apart.
  8. Drain the potatoes and place back in the pan or in a serving bowl. Smash roughly with a potato masher and mix with chicken broth, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped dill if you have some around.

Serve the meatloaf with the smashed potatoes. Another veggie would be appropriate, especially something green like broccoli, spinach, or kale.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.


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