Diner-Style Turkey Meat Loaf

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

For this meat loaf, we’ve gone in several directions: used ground turkey instead of the usual beefveal-pork blend, omitted egg yolks, and packed the meat mixture with plenty of vegetables. To replace ketchup, we’ve mashed up some canned tomatoes and added a touch of vinegar and brown sugar to give ketchup’s edge without its hefty calorie count. Leftovers are great when served pâté-style, with mustard and dill pickles.


  • teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, strings peeled and chopped
  • 1 scallion, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 3 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • cup canned tomatoes, with a little puree or juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • Few drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • pounds ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or more as needed, for glaze


    1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, scallion, and mushrooms and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. Sauté, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a plate, add parsley, and set aside to cool slightly.
    2. Heat the oven to 375°F.
    3. Place the tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, and hot pepper sauce in a large bowl. Mash the mixture with a fork, breaking up the tomatoes until coarsely pureed. Stir in the egg white and bread crumbs. Add the ground turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the mixture with your fingers, without squeezing or compacting the ground meat. Add the vegetable mixture and mix lightly just until combined.
    4. Transfer the mixture to a nonstick 8 × 4-inch loaf pan (if the pan isn’t nonstick, oil it lightly). Tap the pan on a work surface a couple of times to eliminate air bubbles. With moist fingertips, smooth the surface of the loaf, mounding the mixture slightly along the center of its length. Lightly brush the surface of the loaf with mustard.
    5. Bake until the meat loaf is lightly golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf feels hot, about 55 minutes. Spoon off any congealed fat. Let the loaf stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve.