Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf {recipes from the heart}

by Rachel Gurk on March 5, 2013 · 45 comments

in Main Dish, Poultry

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf |

When Kim asked me to participate in an event to raise awareness for heart disease, I knew it was something I wanted to take part in. Kim does this every year on the anniversary of her mom’s passing and I think it is such a great way to not only remember and honor her mom, but to also help other people realize that they may need to make some changes in their life.

Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honour of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.

My family and my husband’s family both have a history of heart disease. It is almost hard to find a family that doesn’t. Ever since having kids, I find it even more imperative to protect my heart and my health. I want to be around for a long, long, long time. For my kids, for my husband, and for myself too. I selfishly want to see my children grow old, but I also know that they need me in their life.

I might occasionally (or more than occasionally) indulge in a big juicy burger or a bowl of ice cream, but I do try to make healthy choices and remember the phrase, “everything in moderation.” One of the big things we do to protect our health and hearts is to eat lean meats such as turkey and lots of whole grains such as quinoa. This meatloaf fits the bill! I served it with whole grain pasta and sautéed spinach. Easy dinner that you can feel great about.

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf |

However, here’ s a confession: Even though I’m no longer pregnant, and I’m not feeling nauseous, I am still a liiiiiiiittle bit lazy.

Just a little.

As evidenced by the progression of this meatloaf. We began with a grand plan to make meatballs. A double batch of meatballs. Half to freeze. Then I thought to myself, do I feel like rolling this mixture into a million little balls?

Answer: No.

Lightbulb! Meatloaf. If the family wants meatballs, they can cut the meatloaf into little chunks. Instant balls-o-meat.

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf |

Whenever I’m looking for a great recipe that is also good for me, Dara’s site, Cookin’ Canuck is one of the first places I look. Not only will I see gorgeous photography, but I’ll also find great recipes like these Turkey, Quinoa and Zucchini Meatball Lettuce Wraps, the inspiration for this recipe. Lettuce wraps are always fun for a light meal and I just love the idea of throwing meatballs inside a lettuce wrap. With the added protein from the quinoa, you’re sure to feel satisfied after eating either those meatballs or this meatloaf. The addition of zucchini helps to keep the turkey nice and moist, because it does have a tendency to be on the dry side. Enjoy! And take pride in your heart. Do something good for your heart.


It can’t wait.

No really. It can’t.

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice

adapted from Cookin' Canuck


  • 1 ¼ pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ medium yellow onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup grated zucchini (about 1 large or 2 small zucchini)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, more for garnish if desired
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato (pasta) sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with a Silpat baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT tomato sauce. I use my hands, because you don’t want to over-mix this or it will get tough.
  3. Form into a meatloaf shape on your prepared baking sheet. Mine was long, skinny, and short because I didn't want to have to bake it forever.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.


-I got the 85% lean (85/15) ground turkey for this so it wouldn’t be too dry, but feel free to try the leaner version

-I doubled the recipe and froze another loaf for a busy day!

Verdict: I loved this meatloaf. Extremely flavorful and moist. What more could you want?

Husband’s take: He dubbed this “the best meatloaf he has ever had.” E chowed it down too.

Changes I would make: Nada.

Difficulty: Very easy.


Make sure to check out all the other recipes — and be good to your heart!

Spicy Oven Fries by Cravings of a Lunatic

Healthy Snacking with Radish Dip by Juanita’s Cocina

Arugula, Walnut Pesto by Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Farro, Apple & Pecan Salad by It’s Yummilicious

Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado Yogurt Sauce by The Spiffy Cookie

Pasta House Wilted Salad by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars by The Cooking Actress

Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts by All Day I Dream About Food

Mini Pear Walnut Crisps with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce by Chocolate Moosey

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos by The Dutch Baker’s Daughter

Honey Soy Glazed Salmon by Curry and Comfort

Apple Walnut Spinach Salad by Magnolia Days

Broiled Salmon Gyros with Cucumber Feta Yogurt Dip by Damn Delicious

Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Make-Ahead Chocolate Oatmeal by Crumb

Hoisin Flounder by Taking on Magazines

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Veggie Nachos by Dine & Dish

Cheesy Quinoa and Asparagus Bake by Hungry Couple

Ahi Tuna Salad by Noshing with the Nolands

Canapes of Apricot, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Rosemary by Cook the Story

Thai Chicken Soup by From Cupcakes to Caviar

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf by Rachel Cooks

Black Bean Quesadillas by Pastry Chef Online

Sautéed Rataouille with Quinoa by Whipped

Polenta Rounds with Apples and Cheddar by Diethood




PS: Due to this event, my A Day In the Life feature is rescheduled and will appear tomorrow. Check back and see who has the most gorgeous kitchen I have ever laid eyes on!

PPS: I’m linking up at Queen of Quinoa’s TGIQ!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cookin Canuck March 5, 2013 at 8:38 am

Heart disease runs in my family as well. Both of my grandfathers suffered from heart attacks, one fatal, when I was in my late teens/early 20s. Those experiences make me realize how important it is to make healthy eating and exercise a part of my daily life. Great post!

It makes me so happy that you were able to use my meatball recipe to make this gorgeous meatloaf. I will definitely be doing the same for my family! Thank you for your kind words, Rachel.


2 Inês March 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

This meatloaf is absolutely gorgeous, and the sauce looks delicious, perfect meal for any day!


3 Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats March 5, 2013 at 9:02 am

This looks delicious…Ive always loved meatloaf, but I loved that you healthified it up! We will definitely be trying this one…my husband says he doesnt like meatloaf, so I may have to disguise them as meatballs :) Thanks for that great idea!


4 Bev @ Bev Cooks March 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

I want to snuggle that.


5 claire @ the realistic nutritionist March 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

This looks DIVINE rachel. I love meatloaf!


6 Jenni March 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

When you talk about wanting to live a long life because your family and kids need you in your life, it really underscores the fact that it’s a bit selfish to *not* take care of yourself. Thank you for that.

And I am lazy–just a little, of course–too. I’d choose meatloaf over meatballs any day! Love the reference to Balls o’ Meat. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?! lol


7 Ashley March 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

What a great idea and way to raise awareness while also honoring those who have battled heart disease. It’s a terrible thing because it can so easily go undetected. My husband has battled high blood pressure for the past 10 years and he is only 35! Admittedly our diets aren’t the best, but give me a recipe like this and I think I would be totally on board with heart healthy eating. :)


8 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious March 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

So glad to be a part of this group with you, Rachel! And yes, I am totally up for instant meatballs any day of the week! :)


9 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet March 5, 2013 at 11:00 am

What a great event! Love this quinoa meatloaf!


10 sally @ sallys baking addiction March 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

I love making turkey meatloaf Rachel! But I have never added quinoa to it. I’m quite intrigued. This is a must try. :)


11 Jen @JuanitasCocina March 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

I love turkey meatloaf, and cannot wait to try this bumped-up version of it! Also, I love your philosophy on leaving the meatballs up to the fam to “create”!

Thank you so much for joining in for such a wonderful blog post!


12 Kim Beaulieu March 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

Rachel first of all this dish is amazing. The photos are beautiful. And I laughed out loud over the making it meatloaf instead of rolling them into meatballs. I’ve been guilty of that myself on occasion.

Secondly thank you so much for joining us today. It’s a huge honour to have you and I’m touched you joined us. I’m also just a little overwhelmed you moved your other post for us, that was beyond sweet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Lastly your sentiments about being around for your kids. I’ve struggled so much with my own health and as I age I get fearful of following in my mom’s footsteps so your words hit home with me today. Thank you for that. xx


13 The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time March 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

We have the issue with heart disease on both sides of our family so we try very hard to eat properly for our daughter’s sake. Your words are a good reminder about that though. The meatballs-morphed-to-meatloaf looks delicious. Hard to believe something that yummy-looking is healthy!


14 Kristy March 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I love quinoa recipes and LOVE meatloaf, and almost always use ground turkey! This looks fabulous, definitely will have to give it a try!


15 Rachel Gurk March 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Thanks Kristy! I almost always use turkey too. My mom prefers to mix turkey and pork–I’ll have to try that next time.


16 sarah k @ the pajama chef March 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

yum! i love quinoa as a filler–never thought to use it in meatloaf :)


17 Tracey March 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I love this idea for a healthy dinner! We love meatloaf here and the fact that there’s still turkey in this one (to please my husband) and quinoa for added health benefits is great!


18 Cassie | Bake Your Day March 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Loving this, Rach. I’m a big fan of quinoa!


19 Liz March 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Oh, how yummy! I’m a huge fan of meatloaf (AND meatballs :)) and your healthier version looks amazing! I have a stash of quinoa waiting in my pantry…I will definitely use it instead of breadcrumbs for my next meatloaf!


20 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts March 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm

This looks wonderful – love turkey and quinoa together!


21 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots March 6, 2013 at 7:02 am

What a great dinner idea! I’ve never thought to put quinoa in a meatloaf. Genius!


22 Jennifer @ Mother Thyme March 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

This looks incredible! My family loves turkey meatloaf and what a great addition of the quinoa. This is calling my name for dinner soon! :)


23 Amy Allen Clark March 6, 2013 at 9:40 am

Oh, this is making me so hungry right now! I can’t wait to try this recipe on my family! I’m going to pin this right now :) xo


24 Meghan March 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

What a great recipe! I love meatloaf & this looks sooo good! I can’t wait to try it!


25 Tara March 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

What a gorgeous looking meatloaf!! Your pictures are amazing too! Thanks so much for sharing!!


26 Renee March 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I’d have to go with the meatballs or burgers because if I served my husband anything remotely called meatloaf he would dislike it for no reason at all. I think he grew up with a horrible meatloaf and so he thinks all meatloaf is the same. Anyway, I can tell your version is quite tasty and it uses two marvelous ingredients – turkey and quinoa.


27 Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa March 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

I love Turkey Quinoa meatloaf! It’s one of our favorite recipes. Packed with nutrients, way lower in fat and calories, and all around so much healthier! I like you vegetable additions as well. I’ll have to try that with my next batch :)

I would love for you to come share this recipe over in my bi-weekly quinoa link part, Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa! I know our readers will love this recipe (and your creative way of using quinoa) just as much as I do!

Happy Friday!!



28 Rachel Gurk March 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

Thanks Alyssa! I love quinoa too–will head over and link up!


29 JanetFCTC March 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

We eat a LOT of meatloaf in our house because my husband loves it but I love the idea of being able to make it a bit healthier. This looks delicious!


30 Silvia November 30, 2013 at 6:15 am

Why you call this Italian, I don’t know! XD


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