Kicked Up Turkey Meatloaf

by jenna on January 21, 2011

I don’t know about you, but for the past twenty four years meatloaf has scared me.

Maybe it was the fact that putting meat in a loaf pan just seemed inherently wrong…or maybe it was because the dish seemed to fall in the same category as other scary dishes, such as scallop mousse, tomato aspic and creamed salmon on toast.

I don’t know. But I do know that in my twenty fifth year, I said enough was enough.

You may recall my first attempt at a quasi-meatloaf. I say quasi because it wasn’t actually meat; it was a rather delectable vegan lentil walnut loaf. It won me a lifetime supply of dried lentils and for that, I am grateful.

Now this meatloaf is the real deal. None of that 1952 scariness…just a class A comfort food with lean ground turkey, sauteed veggies and a sweet maple glaze.

I used a mix of sauteed mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic and steamed lentils (what else?) to beef it up and the results were deeeeelicious!

I really loved the addition of the lentils in this! They added some chew and went great with the ground turkey. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, look for steamed lentils in the produce department!

Of course you shouldn’t waste money on buying such a product when you won a lifetime of dried lentils (cough cough). That would not be the most economic choice.

Oops.

Anyway! Check out that maple glaze action.

I know…I know. You’re probably wondering to yourself right now when did meat become so beautiful?

Serve this meatloaf with some lighted sauteed green beans, roasted brussels sprouts or go whole hog and make yourself some buttermilk mashed potatoes.

What you see here was my dinner last night. I didn’t have the patience for mashed potatoes because by the time this meatloaf had finished cooking, my stomach had started to eat itself. However, I fully plan to make mashed potatoes tomorrow to go with the leftovers!

Okay fine, I lied. This was really my dinner last night:

Cause it ain’t love without ketchup and sriracha!

Kicked Up Turkey Meatloaf

serves 6

Print this recipe!

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 cup cooked black or green lentils

1 large carrot, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tsp salt

1/2 T olive oil

1/4th tsp black pepper

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

glaze:

2 T ketchup

1 T pure maple syrup

1 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onions and saute for about six minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the carrot and garlic and cook for three minutes. Add the chopped mushroom and cook for another five minutes or so, until the mushroom has turned soft and all the veggies are nice and juicy.

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the cooked lentils, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and ketchup and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and panko bread crumbs. Let sit for three minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb a little of the milk. Add to veggie mixture.

Add ground turkey and beaten egg and mix well. It’s easiest here to use your hands. Transfer to a greased loaf pan and press down to smooth top.

Combine the ingredients for the glaze and pour over top of meatloaf. Spread with a spoon to cover the top. Bake for 55 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Enjoy. I’m currently in a meatloaf-induced coma…and loving every second of it.

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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

Meatloaf has scared me for years too! My mum didn’t make it much for me when I was a kid but I do like it now, provided it’s made with turkey or chicken and not beef. Yours sounds amazing – as does the ketchup-sriracha!

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Blog is the New Black January 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

I absolutely love meatloaf! Wierd?! This version sounds like another winner!

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Jessica @ How Sweet January 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

So my mom makes awesome meatloaf, and I’ve never been afraid of it. Shortly after we got married, I tried making it for my husband and it was literally like a disgusting, flavorless hamburger-like brick. I haven’t made it since! But you’ve sort of convinced me… especially with the lentils in here!

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:17 am

that’s a meatloaf horror story! Let me know if you try this one…Adam said it was the best he’s ever had and then proceeded to take HALF a meatloaf to work with him today. Normal..

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jen @ taste life January 21, 2011 at 5:06 am

Hmmm, a meatloaf-induced come, huh? That doesn’t sound too terrible :)

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Christie @ Abundant Self Care January 21, 2011 at 5:09 am

Yum! That sounds delicious. And for some reason, it sounds like a perfect breakfast. What can I say, I’ve been into savory breakfast these days.

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Amy January 21, 2011 at 5:09 am

Now I want meatloaf. Sweet!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite January 21, 2011 at 5:16 am

We LOVE meatloaf! Finding the right recipe is tough. I can’t wait to try your kicked-up version :)

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:17 am

let me know if you try it…I think you’ll love it!

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Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen January 21, 2011 at 5:19 am

Oh – this looks wonderful! My mom was actually always a really good meatloaf-maker. Her stuff was pretty darn good, now that I think of it!

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Erika @ FoodFitnessFun January 21, 2011 at 5:20 am

My mom used to make Turkey Meatloaf all the time and I absolutely hated it! Of course when she made it I was 5 years old so that might have contributed to me not liking it. ;-)
Maybe I’ll give meatloaf another go sometime soon…

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megan @ blackberries for jam January 21, 2011 at 5:20 am

I love my mom, but boy did she give me an aversion to meatloaf. Her version looked, and kind of tasted like dog food. This, however, looks like something I would eat! If I’m brave enough to try this recipe, I bet it will redeem meatloaf for me.

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations January 21, 2011 at 5:23 am

A little hot sauce makes everything better. I’ve always hated the idea of meatloaf yet always enjoyed it at the same time when my mom made it while I was growing up. I might make it sometime. Talk about a taste of home and comfort.

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Marina January 21, 2011 at 5:29 am

I love meatloaf. Both the vegan and the turkey version. It goes so well with creamy mashed potatoes, or on a slice of soft bread, with some cream cheese spread on top of it.

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Amanda (Eating Up) January 21, 2011 at 5:37 am

I’m seriously obsessed with your pictures. They’re so pretty!

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

thank you!

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megan @ whatmegansmaking January 21, 2011 at 5:42 am

oh man, I love meatloaf. Actually, PW’s barbecue meatballs are just like meatloaf, but in meaball form. They are incredible. My husband won’t go anywhere near meatloaf, so I never make it, but I LOVE it!

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

I haven’t tried PW’s meatballs, but I’m sure they are awesome…all of her recipes are!

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Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 21, 2011 at 5:43 am

haha meatloaf is scary! yours looks great though, love the glaze!

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Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl January 21, 2011 at 5:43 am

I subscribe to the belief that ketchup makes just about everything better!

I do not, however, suggest covering your mother’s entire meatloaf in half a bottle of ketchup just to prove a point. Just trust me on this one ;)

I may just be ready to give meatloaf another shot after seeing this post. I think the last decade has helped my bad meatloaf memories clear

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Jennifer December 10, 2011 at 5:48 am

Jenna!
I made this last night for my husband (he LOVES meatloaf) and my sister (who kinda doesn’t like meat) with ground beef (because that’s all I had) and without the lentils (because I didn’t have any).
My sister loved loved loved it!
Before eating it my husband said “it’s okay to put ketchup on this right” (usually everything he eats is swimming in ketchup) so I said “of course – just try one bite without it first”
He not only didn’t put ketchup on it – but didn’t put any on his second or third helping either! He said “it’s just so moist it doesn’t need it!”
LOVED this recipe!

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Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes January 21, 2011 at 5:45 am

Oh, that maple glaze looks awesome!! My mom makes these hilarious mini-meat loaves in muffin cups — sounds strange, but it really works!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 21, 2011 at 5:48 am

I love meatloaf!! My grandma always makes the typical Italian one with marinara sauce and a pork-veal mixture for the loaf. It’s actually one of the first dinners I made by myself.

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stacey-healthylife January 21, 2011 at 5:58 am

I do love a good turkey meatloaf.

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Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) January 21, 2011 at 5:58 am

I’m the opposite–I’ve always loved meatloaf, despite its essential creapiness. :) I like to put a slice of turkey meatloaf under a layer of ketchup, canned corn and home made mashed potatoes for a seriously old-school, cheap-o, corny (pun intended) version of shepherd’s pie. What can I say, I’m a cheap date.

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Lisa@ Dishes of Mrs. Fish January 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

Growing up, meatloaf was a treat. My dad hated it, and my mom only made it on his overnight firehouse shifts.
I loved eating the leftovers as a sandwich! I want meatloaf so bad right now.
That’s a decent breakfast right? Meatloaf? I think so!

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Beth @ www.DiningAndDishing.com January 21, 2011 at 6:11 am

I have to agree – meat in a pan just seems a bit odd! I have recently started coming around to meatloaf though – as long as the recipe does NOT involve ketchup. That’s one “food” I will never learn to love!

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Baking 'n' Books January 21, 2011 at 6:18 am

The ketchup goes IN the recipe…AND on top – right? ;)

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

yes indeed! Never too much ketchup.

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Jennie @ Designed To Be Fit January 21, 2011 at 6:23 am

I’m one of those oddballs that always loved meatloaf. my mom would only make it once in a while and it was my favorite dinner! My husband has yet to be a convert though. Maybe he’ll like this one!

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner January 21, 2011 at 6:24 am

I was traumatized by meatloaf as a kid, but this actually looks delicious! I’m not sure if I could get over my terrible memories enough to cooking this(the weird ketchup crust! Gah!), but I would taste it if someone cooked it for me :)

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

I think everyone was traumatized by meatloaf when they were a kid. It’s time to bring it back!

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Stephanie @ Living and Loving January 21, 2011 at 6:29 am

I love meat loaf! I always order it when I go to The Cheesecake Factory. I have to put tons of ketchup on it though!

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Justeen @ Blissful Baking January 21, 2011 at 6:47 am

I’m kinda scared of meatloaf – don’t have the fondest memories of it. But the lentils and turkey don’t sound bad at all. Delicious in fact!!

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Gabby (Quest for Delicious) January 21, 2011 at 6:49 am

Ohh I just bought a package of ground turkey and blogged about how I didn’t know what to do with it! Hah, maybe I’ll try this. (:

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

try this! Adam said it was the best meatloaf he’s ever had (and that’s coming from a Texas boy!).

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Richelle January 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

That maple glaze looks amazing!

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Marisa January 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

I love meatloaf! I just made the blackberry muffins (but blueberry) this morning and your white bean pasta last night. I can’t get enough of these recipes! Thank you.

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

awesome!! Let me know if you try the meatloaf next!

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Natalia - a side of simple January 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

I love meatloaf. I don’t know why it has the reputation of a fruit cake. It’s pretty awesome, so bring it on!

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Maria January 21, 2011 at 7:22 am

Love your kicked up version!

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

You have just inspired me to make a loaf of some sort today! On a snowy day, what could be more comforting?

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Jess January 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

isn’t the glaze on top of meatloaf so essential? oh and i love your addition of lentils, i will get major brownie points with the husband when i try that addition. thanks jenna!

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Amanda January 21, 2011 at 7:43 am

And just when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, thanks for the great idea!

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Katy at Look What Katydid January 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

OH man, this looks amazing. I think I’ll leave out the lentils, but there’s a package of ground turkey sitting in my freezer and its fate has just been decided… Thanks for the inspiration! Your recipes are always mouthwatering. This one in particular kicks the butt of my grandma’s lame meatloaf.

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Lauren January 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

That meatloaf looks delicious. It is another recipe from you that I will add to my must make list. I made your chicken parm with a twist last night and it was amazing!

Keep ‘em coming!

– Lauren

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

I’m so glad you liked it!

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amyt January 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

I’ve meatloaf once…it involved – bacon, cheese, and barbecue sauce. Needless to say anything that has ‘bacon’ in it…I’m in swoon mode.

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

that sounds heavenly!

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Kate January 21, 2011 at 8:25 am

So, this is kind of embarrassing, but I totally woke up with your vegan lentil loaf on my mind! No joke.

That, and MC Hammer’s “Have You Seen Her”. My husband was “like whoa” appreciative…

:)

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

not embarrassing—awesome!

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Moni'sMeals January 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

Jenna, this looks insane!
I really don’t like meatloaf but this looks great. I could make this for my family easy.
This would work too if you added them to a muffin tin, for small appetizers don’t you think?
Have a great weekend!

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

That would be great! I love the idea of mini meatloaf appetizers. Can I come over for dinner?! :)

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef January 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

i make ALL my meatloaf in muffin tins. it’s way better than a loaf i think. i’m not a huge meat-eater but i love me some meatloaf cups :) deeeelish!

ps i can’t wait to try this version- it sounds heavenly!

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Maria January 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

I suddenly have the urge to make and eat that maple glaze on everything…

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Carpensm @ A Life Without Ice Cream January 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

I can’t get over how much Dexter looks like my cat Gidget! Exact same white spot!

I have a pic of her on an old blog post: http://alifewithouticecream.blogspot.com/2010/11/introducing-lovelygidget.html

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Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] January 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

I love meatloaf and I’m not ashamed to say it!

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Bridgette January 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

Just found your blog. Fun recipes. Will stop back and see you again! Cheers. Happy Friday!

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Natalie January 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

Das loaf of meat…we meet again. My mom used to make meatloaf on the reg when I was a kid because my dad liked it so much. She never ate it because SHE didn’t like it – but I had to eat it because, “you’ll eat what’s on your plate or you won’t eat at all.” Anyway, I suppose I’ve harbored hostility towards it ever since…that, and it just kinda freaks me out. However, you have managed to make it extremely appealing! I think I will put the past in the past and give this turkey loaf a shot. Plus, all of your recipes that I have tried thus far have been freakin’ phenomenal! Thanks!

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Annie@stronghealthyfit January 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

I made your lentil loaf and it’s absolutely fabulous. My friends and my husband think so too :-) I’ve always liked real meatloaf, though. Even though it’s kind of a weird food.

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Katherine: Unemployed January 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

using the lentils is a great idea! plus no cooking time there

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 21, 2011 at 10:01 am

TJ’s prepared lentils are the best thing since sliced bread. Seriously.

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salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle) January 21, 2011 at 10:05 am

OMG I have to make this meatloaf!!!

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Emily January 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

Too funny, I made meatloaf this past Monday per my boyfriend’s request-I was hesitant to make it for the same reason that it scared me as a child. Extra ketchup was a must!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

LOL on the lifetime supply of lentils. I too have a lifetime supply from seeing a million versions of lentil loafs out there. But then….I read the reviews that they crumble, break, really arent worth the time..so, I never have actually gotten around to using most of my lentils.

If I am going to the work of cooking, I like to stick with the dessert variety of things. :)

Your meatloaf looks great!

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Nicole January 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Meatloaf has always scared me, too. I love those lentils from Trader Joe’s! They were my main source of protein a couple of years ago.

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Lida (Octopus Gourmet) January 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

You’re not going to believe this, but there’s a place in Chicago called the Meatloaf Bakery, which is exactly what it sounds like. they have meatloaf ranging from regular pork to salmon, which have been put into cupcake tins and topped with mashed potato “frosting.”
I’m not sure if that would make you more or less scared of meatloaf, given your cupcake addiction.
http://www.themeatloafbakery.com/

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jenna January 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

no way!!!!! that’s amazing. I must go!

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Naomi January 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

This looks THE BOMB! Meatloaf will continue to be scary, but with lentils, it becomes way more down-home in a Brooklyn farmer’s market kind of way. And it reminds me of my Mom. Not the whole meatloaf. Just the lentils.

I’ll have to try! thx!

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The Healthy Apple January 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Love the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in here; such a great idea Jenna! I’m making this tomorrow! Can’t wait; perfect for this snow stormy weather!

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Ffion @ Chocolate and Raspberries January 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I’d never actually had meat loaf until about six months ago, its something I associate with being very american, but its not really something that is eaten in the UK. My mum is an avid cook, and decided to give it a go! It was really good, I think the glaze is the best bit!

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Liz January 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I am a life-long meatloaf lover, because you can put pretty much anything in it and not mess it up. You can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want, and it’s great comfort food.

I’ve made turkey meatloaf quite a few times, and it’s great, but wow… your version looks fantastic! I love the addition of the lentils to the meat (you don’t have to have one or the other!) and that maple glaze….. mmmmmm. I may make this this weekend.

Also, the sriracha… great on everything!

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ingrid January 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm

oh man! this is on the menu for tomorrow night, yummo! and i made your chicken parmesan with a twist and we are in love! so so so so so so so GOOOOD! made enough that we had left overs for like 3 days.

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sarah (sarah learns) January 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

i think my mom’s meatloaf was the first recipe i ever cooked by myself! probably because i had heard the story of my mom making it for my dad for the first time and burning it, and then him dousing it in ketchup and asking for seconds to make her happy. awww… :)

but i do have to say, this ain’t my mama’s meatloaf. it looks awesome! i can’t wait to try it.

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Susan January 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Wow that looks awesome, I would love it and the rest of my family would probably turn up their noses at me “ruining” meatloaf with lentils and turkey burger. :(

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Maria @ The Fitted Apron January 22, 2011 at 7:25 am

looks yum and oh so healthy.

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rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble January 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Mmmm! I love meatloaf. Kinda makes me wish I wasn’t vegetarian again!

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Julia January 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Just made- delicious!!

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jenna January 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

awesome! Glad you liked it.

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Ginny January 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm

We’re having a meatloaf cook off at church next month. I’m totally going to make this version! Wish me luck :)

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Charise January 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

I never did get around to making that lentil walnut meatloaf … this looks great too, may have to put one of the two on next week’s meal plan!

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Kim January 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I don’t know what it is about meatloaf, but I love it. My friends and I had a meatloaf bake off party this summer. It was awesome! We got to try a bunch of different meatloaves and we had leftovers forever. I think this sounds like a good time to do part 2 and try this recipe out :)

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sarah February 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm

This meatloaf is truly amazing! The glaze on top is super delicious. I’ve tried a lot of turkey and lentil meatloaf recipes, and this one is the best. I modified parts of it, and it still turned out to be the most delicious meatloaf I’ve ever eaten.

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JenE February 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Jenna – made this tonight. Like you, by the time it was done we were eating just the meatloaf; mashed potatoes and greens will be a meal w/ “leftovers” tomorrow..
Now I must tell you: YUMMAY!!! Wow, good job girl! YumYumYum. And healthy, too. This is going into our “rotation”. I made the lentils from scratch, which was what took so long. Good thing I had some red wine to keep me going :)

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Kelly February 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm

so i made this but i think some of my college student newbie cook modifications made it a bit tricky. instead of using a loaf pan i used a glass baking dish and i used canned lentils :/ everything else i followed to the letter. after an hour and a half of baking at 400 i still wasn’t sure if it was ready. part of me was saying, “how could it not be ready???” but the other part of me questioned the consistency as it wasn’t very firm and it’s color wasn’t as brown as yours is in the picture. anyway, i took it out after about an hour and thirty five, let it sit and then ate some from the end…so far i’m not sick so it must have been cooked, right? sorry this is so lengthy but why do you think the consistency was off???

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Emilee June 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’m making this tonight for dinner! Quick Question- I bought the same lentils from TJ’s. Did u heat them up before you add them to the recipe or did you add them cold?
Thanks Jenna!!

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Jez October 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I had been looking forward to making this recipe because it incorporates lentils, which I love but had never tried before. I made it last night for 2 of my friends. I followed this recipe to a T without substituting a thing. Unfortunately, the meat loaf was soggy and soft. I don’t know why. I left it in the oven for a full hour because at 55 minutes I noticed it was still a little too moist. Any suggestions as to how I can get it to firm up? I’d like to try it again, just not have it drip on a plate. The friends I cooked for were guys, and most men will eat anything, but even they noted that it was a little too moist. Thanks!

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courtney October 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I’ve made this at least 4 times already and it’s great! Thanks for the recipe.

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Julia W December 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

This recipe has become my absolute favorite healthy comfort food. I don’t even like ketchup but the balsamic maple ketchup glaze is amazing – I usually double the recipe because I like a lot of it! I was amazed at how moist and flavorful it turned out – I love meatloaf and I actually like this recipe better than the unhealthier versions. I get rave reviews every time I make it. Thank you so much for sharing this! PS. Amazed that you were able to take such pretty pictures of it too! :)

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Julia W December 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

This recipe has become my absolute favorite healthy comfort food. I don’t even like ketchup but the balsamic maple ketchup glaze is amazing – I usually double the recipe because I like a lot of it! I was amazed at how moist and flavorful it turned out – I love meatloaf and I actually like this recipe better than the unhealthier versions. I get rave reviews every time I make it. Thank you so much for sharing this! PS. Amazed that you were able to take such pretty pictures of it too!

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