Meatloaf is one of those things it’s not hard to do badly, and we’ve all had the brown mush that proves it, the kind that blends enough vague ingredients to create an end product bearing no resemblance to real food. Try one bad enough, and you’ll never want to eat it again, I know.
That’s probably why, until last weekend, I’d have been completely happy to live the rest of my life without it. I’d stick to things I could recognize, thank you very much.
But that has all changed. Hear me out: now that I’ve tasted how good a meatloaf can be — how crazy, crazy good it can be — I know I would have been severely missing out.
I was wrong. I was blind. And before you make a similar mistake, try this turkey loaf, which uses ground turkey rather than ground beef to make a flavorful, moist, glazed kind of meatloaf unlike any I’ve had before.
Seriously? It’s enough to redeem the food forever, for all mankind.
It all started last weekend when I visited my brother and he pulled this dark, glazed version out of his fridge, slicing a thin piece to place on toast and top by spring mix and garlic balsamic dressing. The moment I bit in, tasting hints of rosemary and garlic and onion, the softness of the loaf complemented by the crispness of the greens, the sweetness of the dressing and the crunch of the toasted bread, I was sold.
A meatloaf-free world? Not for me, no sir.
I loved it so much, in fact, that I not only ate the same sandwich the next day for lunch, raving about it to anyone who would listen as I closed my eyes and slapped my work desk and sighed, but I also asked Adam for the recipe so I could, less than a week later, make it again for myself.
This time, I forgot to add the balsamic to the turkey loaf, and it was still good. People. I think that’s what they call meant to be.
I’ve been wrong before about things like these; I’ll be wrong again. But let my lesson be your own and make this. It changes everything.
Turkey Loaf (Sandwiches)
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
Here is the basic recipe for the turkey loaf, which is really best on toast, topped by spring mix and garlic balsamic. Try it.
I’m telling you: best meal I’ve had in a long time.
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups dry bread crumbs (I threw three pieces of bread in the food processor)
1 onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup garlic balsamic vinegar (I prefer an organic store-brand dressing from Jewel)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
for the glaze:
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan (I also like to line it with parchment paper that overhangs on the sides, which makes for super-easy removal).
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion, egg and milk. Season with balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Press into the prepared pan. Blend together the tomato sauce and brown sugar; pour evenly over the top of the loaf.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until the inner temperature reaches 170 degrees and/or juices run clear when pricked with a knife.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.