This mini turkey meatloaf is made with pancetta and fresh oregano for that fresh Italian flare. Coated in breadcrumbs and baked at 400°F for 20 minutes, this is a one delicious meatloaf that tastes nothing like a traditional meatloaf. I promise you, you will love it, even if you’re a bit like me and don’t care much for the classic meatloaf.
NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S MINI TURKEY MEATLOAF
Saying that I don’t much care for a traditional beef meatloaf covered in tomato sauce would be an understatement. In Mediterranean countries, poultry is eaten more often than red meat so I setout to make a meatloaf that I would enjoy eating and that’s how the mini turkey meatloaf was born! Healthy, delicious, and a great way to use some of that leftover bread you may have around.
A SECRET TO A DELICIOUS MINI TURKEY MEATLOAF
Ground turkey is one of those underappreciated meats but it’s a great item for moms who feed families and need to switch things up every now and then. But ground turkey, in my opinion, is rather plain tasting on its own, especially if you use a very lean one. So, my secret to making it taste great is bacon and/or herbs and spices!
Smoked bacon or pancetta adds depth and flavor. Instead of pancetta, you could use smoked slab bacon. Slab bacon is regular bacon just not sliced. If you cannot find it in regular grocery stores, European stores and supermarkets usually have it. Butcher’s and farmer’s markets would also be a good place to look for it.
To Make a Mini Turkey Meatloaf, You Will Need:
- 9×13 Inch Baking Dish
- Dinner Plate
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Food Processor or a Chef’s Knife and cutting board
- Instant Read Thermometer
- Sturdy Fork
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Spatula – I use this Fish Turner to flip everything!
- Large Skillet
- • 2 tbsp sunflower oil*
- • 1 cup bread, cubed and crust removed
- • ¼ cup milk, unsweetened**
- • ⅓ cup yellow onion
- • 2 garlic cloves
- • 2 tbsp chopped pancetta
- • 1 large egg
- • 1½ lbs ground turkey
- • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt
- • ½ tsp black pepper
- • 1 tsp parsley flakes
- • 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- • 1 tsp baking soda
- • 1 cup breadcrumbs
- • fresh oregano for garnish
- • 1 tomato, diced, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F and coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with oil. Sprinkle ⅓ of a cup of breadcrumbs on a clean plate and reserve the rest for later use.
- Place cubed bread, milk, onion, garlic, pancetta and egg in the food processor.*** Process until you get a rough paste (30-45 seconds).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, salt, black pepper, parsley flakes and oregano. Stir in the paste from the food processor and sprinkle everything with baking soda. Combine everything with a fork but avoiding mashing and over-mixing the meat mixture.
- Coat a skillet with oil and bring to medium heat. To make even, mini-loaves, use a ½-cup measuring cup greased with a few drops of oil to scoop out enough meat mixture to make one mini loaf/ patty. Shape loaves as you'd shape patties with hands and dredge them in breadcrumbs, refill breadcrumbs as needed. Place each loaf in the hot skillet and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side.* Work in batches.
- Carefully transfer browned mini-loaves to a baking pan. Once you have all loaves browned and in the pan, bake them for 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F.
- Garnish with fresh oregano and tomato. Sprinkle with some sea salt for taste if desired.
**Whole milk or unsweetened nut milk will work.
***If you prefer not to use a food processor, you could mince these ingredients with a sharp chef’s knife.
****Freezes really well!
This recipe makes 6-8 mini turkey meatloaves.