BBQ Turkey Meatloaf is an easy and healthy main dish the whole family will love. Sneaky vegetables keep it juicy and add extra goodness to your dinner!
Meatloaf. My nemesis.
One of the most popular recipes here on Savory Nothings is my admittedly decadent Bacon Wrapped, Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf.
I’m not usually big into meaty comfort foods, which is why I was kind of annoyed at the popularity of that recipe, haha!
But I guess every so often I like going all out for a special dinner, so I’ve kind of made peace with it.
But… What about a meatloaf for all the ordinary weeknights?
Well, it took me a very, incredibly long time to add a second meatloaf recipe to this site… But here it is now. Meet your new best friend for your healthy weeknight dinners:
BBQ Turkey Meatloaf!
Now I hear you saying… Meatloaf? Weeknight?! But yes. Absolutely.
This BBQ Turkey Meatloaf is perfect in so many ways:
- You can prep it ahead in the morning, keep it in the fridge and then just bake it at night, if you don’t have time to prep it right before dinner.
- It’s freezer friendly! I love stocking my freezer with unbaked turkey meatloaves because they’re so easy to whip up on a busy night.
- It’s full of lean protein, healthy vegetables and tastes truly amazing.
My 18 month old is not the biggest fan of ground meat, but even she gobbled this up without complaining.
My husband liked it, my preschooler basically wanted to eat half of it by herself… So a dinner win all around.
And it’s so easy to make, too!
How to make my BBQ Turkey Meatloaf:
- Run the veggies through a food processor to finely chop, then brown in a skillet. Set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, add all other ingredients for the meatloaf to a large bowl. Add the cooled vegetables and mix well.
- Place the meat mix on a lined sheet pan and shape into a loaf. Brush with BBQ sauce and bake until done, brushing with sauce once halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and brush with more sauce, then rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
So easy! If you want some more detailed instructions, take a look at the step photos below:
How to make bbq turkey meatloaf – step by step:
Prepping the vegetables
I like chopping the vegetables for this meatloaf very finely, because a) it kind of hides them if you have pickier eaters and b) I’m not the biggest fan of large chunks of onion in my meatloaf.
I use my food processor to chop them, because it’s about a million years faster than me chopping by hand.
P.S. I have this workhorse of a food processor from Breville and I LOVE it! I make a commission for purchases made through this’ll link!
Once you have your veggies chopped, you’ll want to add them to a skillet with a drop of oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the vegetables are lightly browned and most of their juices have evaporated.
This does two things: It adds more flavor and it prevents lots of water coming out of the vegetables while the meatloaf is baking. Because that could lead to your loaf falling apart! So don’t skip this step.
Then just set them aside to cool.
Mixing the meat
(At this point you’ll want to preheat your oven if you’re baking the meatloaf right away.)
Making a meat mix for meatloaf is very simple: Dump everything into a bowl and mix well.
I h-a-t-e kneading ground meat by hand, so I always use my handheld mixer with the hook attachment when I’m making meatloaf or meatballs. So easy and so convenient!
FYI, I make a commission for purchases made through that link.
Make sure your mix is well combined before you start shaping, that way it will hold up better.
Shaping the loaf
Simply add the meat mix to a lined sheet pan and shape into a loaf.
Pat until it’s quite firm for easier slicing, then thinly brush with BBQ sauce.
You can also use ketchup or homemade meatloaf sauce, but since it’s no secret how much I love BBQ sauce…
How long to bake the meatloaf
Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes, then carefully brush with another layer of BBQ sauce to keep it from drying out.
Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 165F.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush with another layer of BBQ sauce. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- What side dishes go well with this bbq turkey meatloaf?
Well, there’s lots of ways to serve this!
Or very kid friendly with Mac and cheese.
You can also turn this into a light meal and serve it with a large salad instead of carby sides – though I would probably never do that 😉
And there you have it: My nemesis. The meatloaf. Only it’s now kind of my favorite? Go figure.
Print the BBQ Turkey meatloaf for your binder here:
BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
- 1 large carrot peeled, trimmed and roughly cut into pieces
- 3 medium celery stalks trimmed and roughly cut into pieces
- 2 medium onions peeled and roughly cut into pieces
- Handful of parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard yellow mustard works fine, too
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup smooth BBQ sauce
- Chop and dry the vegetables: Place the carrot, celery, onions, parsley and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped (but don't turn it into a paste!). Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the processed vegetables and gently cook until dried out and starting to brown. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Prep: At this point, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Make the meatloaf mix: Place all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the BBQ sauce into a large bowl. Add the cooled vegetable mix and, using a hand mixer with the hook attachment, mix thoroughly until the meat mix sticks together and all the vegetables are evenly distributed.
- Shape and bake: Place the meat mix on the prepared baking sheet and shape into a loaf. Make sure you push it together into a firm loaf, otherwise it will fall apart. Brush with ⅓ of the BBQ sauce and bake for 30 minutes. Brush with another ⅓ of the BBQ sauce and finish baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F. Immediately brush with the remaining BBQ sauce and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
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