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Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 10 min
  • Calories: 362
Turkey quinoa meatloaf cut into slices on a plater

Tender and bursting with flavor, this turkey quinoa meatloaf makes for a satisfying dinner that is sure to please even the pickiest palates.

Quinoa Meatloaf, an Updated Spin on Classic Meatloaf!

This is the best meatloaf recipe that results in a healthier dish, without skimping on flavor. Mention the word “meatloaf” and chances are you’re likely to conjur strong feelings of one kind or another. Perhaps you are brought back to your childhood dining room and flooded with nostalgia. Or, maybe you cringe just a bit at its mention and are transported to your elementary school cafeteria. Meatloaf can be quite the polarizing dish, and I’ve found that, depending upon one’s individual experiences, you either love it or hate it.

Whatever meatloaf camp you may find yourself in, I am here to tell you that this turkey quinoa meatloaf is going to be one of the best (and best for you) that you’ve ever tasted and will either keep you or transport you to team meatloaf once and for all.

Ingredients laid out for Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf, onion, bell peppers, 2 eggs, spices, tomato paste, carrots brown sugar

How Do You Make Meatloaf with Turkey?

You may be wondering if ground turkey meat makes a good meatloaf. The answer to that question is an astounding “yes!” True, it isn’t as flavor-forward (read: fatty) as pork or beef, but this recipe has that perfect combo of ingredients that result in a loaf that is moist, flavorful, and gives all other meatloafs a serious run for their money. Packed with protein, low in fat, and made with easy ingredients you are likely to already have on hand, this is one one seriously tasty turkey meatloaf.

I discovered this Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf many years ago when I was helping a friend clean up her diet. I’ve been tweaking the recipe little by little ever since and I believe it has finally been perfected. The basic ingredients you’ll need to make this simple meatloaf recipe for dinner tonight are:

  • Turkey and Quinoa - Both of these main meatloaf ingredients are packed with protein and complement each other perfectly. The quinoa acts as a mild binding agent, which results in a dense enough loaf ideal for slicing.
  • Onion, Garlic, Veggies - As I played with this recipe for meatloaf over the years, I discovered that by adding veggies into the meat before it cooks not only does it up the nutritional content of the dish, but the flavor as well. What’s more, your kids won’t even know those veggies are hiding inside.
  • Lots of Seasoning- It’s amazing how a well seasoned dish can really set itself apart from its bland counterparts. We added onion and garlic powder to this dish, along with cayenne for a kick, and worcestershire for a touch of umami.
onions, bell peppers and shredded carrots sautéed in a pan.
ground turkey, 2 raw eggs, cooked quinoa, spices and sautéed veggies in a bowl .
raw meatloaf on a baking sheet with a brown sugar Worcestershire glaze on it
warm turkey quinoa meatloaf on baking sheet just out of oven

How do You Cook Meatloaf in the Oven?

The thing I love about this turkey quinoa meatloaf in oven, is how weeknight friendly it is. Half the battle in making this meal is just ensuring your ground turkey is thawed out when it’s time to throw all the ingredients together. In fact, this dish is so simple to construct, you’re likely to assemble your mis en place before your oven reaches 350°F. Did I also mention this a meatloaf without breadcrumbs, making it GLUTEN FREE! Gotta love that right?

This recipe calls for two pounds of ground turkey (because one just didn’t seem like enough for leftovers) which results in a cooking time that takes about an hour. And while I’m usually all for those 30 minute meals, the simple prep this 2 lb meatloaf requires and tender, savory meal that result are well worth it!

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf on a black plate

Tips for Making This Easy Meatloaf Recipe:

  1. Rinse your quinoa before boiling it. This process reduces the bitterness that can sometimes occur in cooked quinoa.
  2. Keep your cut onions on the small side. It’s true that the onions will shrink up significantly once they get cooked down, but the smaller the pieces, the better the loaf will stay together. The fact that small onion pieces are also well camouflaged from picky eaters is just an added bonus.
  3. Two words...meal prep! Many of the ingredients used in this better than good meatloaf recipe can be prepped ahead of time (quinoa, carrots, onion, garlic, etc., all of which will make throwing this turkey meatloaf into the oven come dinner time a breeze.
  4. Form your homemade meatloaf on a rimmed baking sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Because it produces a lot of liquid (see photo above), if you bake the meatloaf in a loaf pan you will have to skim the fat off the surface of the loaf and the brown sugar topping won’t be as successful. Trust us on this one and use the parchment. (The speedy cleanup that results is another big time bonus).
  5. Last but not least, use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. This step will help ensure that you are not overcooking your dinner and results in a very moist meatloaf. Maybe even the best meatloaf you've ever had!
Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf sliced on a black plater
Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf sliced to see close up ingredients

Two Variations of This Meatloaf Recipe We’d Love to Try:

The thing I love about this turkey quinoa meatloaf is how truly versatile it is. I usually follow the recipe as I’ve shared it here, but I’ve got plans to try a few things out.

  • Turkey meatloaf muffins? How cute would it be to serve this recipe in individual portions? I’m doing it!
  • Wrapped in bacon. You heard me right. Who doesn’t love a good meatloaf wrapped in bacon? (Maybe you’ve never had one, but use your imagination on this one- it’s good!)

What to Serve With Meatloaf?

Our Roasted Cauliflower with Toasted Panko and Golden Raisinsor Parmesan Roasted Cauliflowerwould help make this meatloaf a more complete meal and also add one more veggie to the mix. You could also add these Herby Rhodes Rollsas a buttery, carby, and completely indulgent addition to this healthy dish, because it’s all about balance, right?

A slice of homemade meatloaf on a plate

Did You Love it?

If you make this turkey quinoa meatloaf we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper on Instagram to share where you found the recipe. Happy cooking!

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 10 min
  • Calories: 362

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • `1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Method

  1. Bring the quinoa and water or chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat an oven to 350° F.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot and bell pepper, sauté until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, cooked veggies, tomato paste, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Combine the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160° F. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories362
  • Protein35 g
  • Carbohydrates18 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol166 mg
  • sodium988 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Leslie

    Could adding quinoa flakes dry to the mixture in lieu of the cooked quinoa be an option? I use dry oats in another meatloaf recipe and would like to try this one but was just curious about the dry flakes vs the cooked whole grain.

    We wouldn't recommend that. The ratio would be much different and we haven't tried use dried quinoa flakes so uncertain to say how it would turn out.

  • Ellen G Greenfield Zerman

    Only have 1lb of ground turkey how long should I cook it?

    It will still probably cook for about the same amount of time but maybe start checking the temp after 35 min. Hope you enjoy!

  • Ellen G Greenfield Zerman

    No quinoa in this house can you use breadcrumbs?

    No, this would not be a good replacement in this recipe.

  • Janet Page

    How do you recommend reheating leftovers?

    microwave works fine or you can reheat in the oven.

  • PAT CHARLES

    CAN THE TURKEY QUINOA MEATLOAF BE FROZEN. AFTER COOKING

    We have never tested it, but if you try it out, let us know how it turns out.

  • Jennifer

    The whole family loves it! It is now in rotation at our house.

    Thanks Jennifer, we are so happy your family loves it and we are so glad that it's made your rotation.

  • Jamie B

    Made this last night and my kids devoured it! Loved the combination of flavors!

    Thanks Jamie! So glad everyone loved it!!

  • Sherri Walker

    I made this tonight and it was the best meatloaf I’ve ever tasted! My kids loved it too! Thanks for the great recipe.

    Thanks so much Sherri, we are so thrilled to hear you all loved it!

  • Lisa

    We loved this! especially the little kick of cayenne . Made it almost exactly as written, but added a little more couscous and a little more garlic. I had some in our fridge from a couple days ago and used it! I am always worried about ground turkey anything, and this was definitely flavorful! So yummy, the parchment is brilliant, easy peasy clean up! We will be making this frequently!

    Thank you Lisa, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Janay

    This turkey meatloaf was amazing. My 8 year old does not love veggies so I was delighted when she asked for seconds of this meatloaf and gave it a "5-star" rating herself. Thank you for sharing! :)

    That is so great to hear Janay! We are so happy she loved it!