EATS: Bacon, mushroom, turkey meatloaf


January 4, 2013 by annmquintero

Happy New Year, Amazons! We’ve survived the Mayan Apocalypse, a few strange weather systems, and our daily lives; and I think all of that is worth celebrating! Personally, I’ve had a great year of personal growth and am very much looking forward to 2013.

On the subject of personal growth, I’ve heard a lot of our readership will be doing Whole30 for January! Kickass! I’m going to do my best to support you from the kitchen. Obviously, cooking at home is going to be your best bet when you start restricting sugars, grains, and vegetable oils. Then you know exactly what goes into every bite you take. To ensure this, I’m going to remind you, dear readers, that label reading is IMPERATIVE. Why would they put sugar in chicken broth? I have no idea, but sometimes they do it. Anything that comes out of a box, carton, can, or bag must be held suspect.

Now, this is where I’m going to be asking all of you Amazons for help. I have not yet read It Starts with Food, although it’s in my queue. I’ve been briefed on the premise and the Do/Do Not Eat lists, but I’ll need you all to check my work. As you know, I try to keep the recipes here fairly paleo-friendly, but if I include an ingredient that doesn’t fit the Whole30 restrictions this month, please call me on it! I’ll figure out a replacement or a new angle. And, as always, ask me questions about anything!

On to the meatloaf!

What you’ll need:

Cutting board
Large bowl
Loaf pan

Ground turkey, 2 lbs.
Zucchini, 2, grated
Eggs, 2, beaten
Bacon, 5 slices, chopped
Onion, 1, chopped
Button mushrooms, 8 oz., chopped
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Paprika, 2 tsp.
Red pepper flakes, (How hot do you like it?)
Parsley, fresh (chopped) or flakes
Rosemary, chopped
Almond flour, optional
Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Bacony flavor bomb!

Bacony flavor bomb!

Start by chopping (or cutting with kitchen shears) your bacon into small pieces. Place in a cold skillet and start cooking on medium-low. Giving it a lot of time at a relatively low cook-temp will result in crispier bacon that has rendered more of its fat, fat which we’re going to use for our flavor bomb portion of the meatloaf.

To your bacon and the renderings, add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add a dash of salt for both flavor and to pull the moisture out of the mushrooms and onions. Turn up heat to medium.

When the onions and mushrooms are just starting to brown, add paprika, pepper flakes, parsley flakes (or fresh parsley), and rosemary. Let that bubble away until all the flavors have melded, 5-10 minutes. Let it cool.

Turkey, bowl, and grated... well, summer squash, but I prefer zucchini.

Turkey, bowl, and grated… well, summer squash, but I prefer zucchini.

In a large metal bowl, dispatch your 2 lbs. of ground turkey meat. Sprinkle with a healthy amount of salt. Let’s say a tablespoon. And a lot of fresh ground black pepper. Add the 2 grated zucchini. (Why zucchini? Two reasons: Extra veggies are always awesome for fiber and nutrients! And the moisture in the zucchini will help keep lean turkey meat moist. Zucchini is used this way in breads and other baked goods as well.)

Mix by hand. Yes. Your hand. It really is the best way to get the meat integrated with the other ingredients properly. If you feel squicky about touching raw meat, hie thee to the drugstore and pick up a box of latex or vinyl gloves. It’s a couple bucks for a hundred and they’re handy for all sorts of things around the house, from cleaning to cooking to balloon turkeys.

"This won't hurt a bit."

“This won’t hurt a bit.”

Add the cooled bacon mushroom flavor bomb from the skillet (it’s ok if it’s still warm) and mix. Now add the beaten eggs. At this point, you can add a touch of almond flour (maybe a ¼ cup) if you want. I find it adds a nice texture and helps everything adhere, but it’s completely unnecessary for the success of this meatloaf.

Load up your greased or non-stick loaf pan with your meat mixture, cover lightly with foil, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and pop it into your preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes. As always, let your loaf rest for 10-15 minutes before digging in.

How will you know it’s done? Well, there’s the toothpick test where you stick a toothpick into the top and if it comes out clean, you’re pretty safe. You could also gauge it by how solid it is when you stick a fork in it. There should be some decent resistance. A meat thermometer never hurts. But truly, if you slice into it after letting it rest and find some pink, it’s ok. Just pop it back in the oven until it’s done. No harm done.


As always, Amazons, I welcome your feedback, your questions, and your own culinary discoveries. And as Darlene mentioned in her recent post, I’m extending an offer to do in-home instruction with interested readers in NYC, and possibly Boston and Charleston later this spring. So, if you’d like some training wheels for a day in your kitchen and you’d like to be featured in an EATS post, drop me a line at

(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)


5 thoughts on “EATS: Bacon, mushroom, turkey meatloaf

  1. Nikki says:

    Yum yum, this looks amazing!!

  2. Darlene McC says:

    This is freaking amazing! Substituted sweet potato for zucchini (none in my neighborhood). The red pepper was essential. So. Good.

    • annmquintero says:

      Number 1, I’m so glad you liked it!

      Number 2, I’m even more excited that you took the initiative of making your own substitution! There’s always a way around something not being just as you’d expected. Way to be creative! 🙂

  3. […] concept for experimental meatloaf. You’ll find this meatloaf has a lot fewer ingredients than my last, largely because kimchi has SO much flavor already built in that I wouldn’t want anything to […]

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