Whole30 & Paleo Turkey Meatloaf

This Paleo & Whole30 turkey meatloaf is super juicy, loaded with protein, and bursting with savory notes from mushrooms and onions! A homemade prune glaze makes this a really special gluten-free and low-carb meatloaf recipe.

sliced paleo turkey meatloaf glazed with homemade prune ketchup

Meatloaf – those of you who grew up in the USA have probably had this grandma or auntie in their families that makes this amazing meatloaf and you love it so much that any other meatloaf just will not do. I  realized I was running a risk when I decided to create a gluten-free, Whole30 and Paleo turkey meatloaf.

I was almost certain I would be eating it all by myself. Expectations are high when it comes to meatloaf. But guess what – the whole family gobbled this one up within one sitting.

overhead shot of a sliced paleo whole30 turkey meatloaf glazed with plum ketchup

This paleo turkey meatloaf is the kind of recipe you want to keep handy any time company is coming. It’s simple yet special!

Paleo Turkey Meatloaf is a total winning recipe for a few reasons:

  • It is made with lean ground turkey which is high in protein! I recommend you use 93/7 – don’t go with the super lean version. Fat is not the enemy.
  • It is secretly loaded with the umami bomb amongst all vegetables – mushrooms and onions.
  • Almond flour is used in place of breadcrumbs to make this meatloaf gluten-free and low-carb.
  • Refined sugar-free homemade “prune” ketchup is used as a glaze.
  • The secret to the glaze? Prunes! You could use dates instead but the dried prune plums add some fruitiness and kind of a Chinese flair to it. Like that yummy plum sauce you get with Chinese takeout.
  • Lots of yummy spices and herbs for that signature meatloaf taste.

a juicy bbq glazed paleo ground turkey meatloaf being sliced into pieces

In other words… this gluten-free Paleo Turkey Meatloaf tastes UHU-mazing AND is super nutritious as well.

Why ground turkey is my favorite protein for meatloaf:

  • Ground turkey is a SUPERB healthy alternative to ground beef and you can use it as an easy substitution in pretty much every recipe that calls for minced pork or beef and this meatloaf turns out AMAZING.  It makes a mean chili or bolognese!
  • Yes, you can use low-fat ground turkey for this meatloaf and it will still taste amazing just make sure you have that 7 % fat.
  • Minced Turkey lasts really well in the fridge for up to 4 days so no rush!
  • It takes on whatever flavors you add and we are really going to flavor town here.
  • I added some diced onions and mushrooms to stretch the ground turkey a bit and to make the texture lighter and moister.

How to make Paleo Turkey Meatloaf.

a food processor with ingredients needed for making plum sauce

Step 1 & 2 – Make the ketchup first. In a food processor or high-speed blender, process/blend all ingredients on high speed until pureed and all the prunes bits disappear, scraping the sides to incorporate all ingredients evenly. The texture should be thick but spreadable. Add a bit of water (just a couple of teaspoons at a time) to thin it if needed.

chopped mushrooms and onions being chopped than sauteed in a pan

Step 3 – Chop the mushrooms finely in a food processor.

Step 4 – Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until the mushrooms give off their liquid and let it reduce away; about 10 minutes or the mixture gets dry.

turkey meatloaf mixture ingredients being combined in a glass bowl

Step 5 & 6 – In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add turkey, onion mushroom mix, almond flour, 3 tablespoons homemade ketchup, coconut aminos, mustard, and all seasonings. Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated.

picture collage demonstrating how to shape and glaze a paleo turkey meatloaf

Step 7 -Transfer the mixture to a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, or shape free form on a baking sheet lined with foil (as pictured). If using a pan, make sure that no air bubbles get trapped underneath. (You may have some extra mix, depending on the capacity of your pan; this can be cooked in a ramekin or free-form next to the loaf.)

Step 8 – Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Refrigerate the meatloaf while the oven preheats. (The meatloaf can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Cover with ketchup on all sides. If using a loaf pan, you will have leftover sauce. If using free form, just slather it all on, patting it on the sides too. Bake for about 1 h or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F/ 74C.

Let meatloaf sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Which mushrooms to use for this recipe?

Umami-rich mushrooms add flavor and keep the turkey meatloaf juicy inside. Use portobello, brown button, or shiitake.

a sliced paleo turkey meatloaf glazed with homemade sugar-free bbq plum sauce

Tips for making the best turkey meatloaf:

  • It’s important to use ground turkey that is  93% lean and at least 7% fat. Avoid 99% lean ground turkey, which will result in a dry, bland meatloaf.
  • Mustards are generally Whole30-compliant across the board, there are always going to be those exceptions with sneaky ingredients. Read the label Dijon mustard, for example, is a food whose ingredient list you should keep an eye on. Traditionally many Dijon mustards—both ground and whole-grain—include white wine as an ingredient. Since no alcohol is allowed on Whole30, some Dijon varieties will not be allowed.
  • You can use gluten-free soy sauce if not Paleo or allergic to soy.
  • I like to cook meatloaf to an internal temperature of 165-170 F.  This ensures there is no pink meat left!
  • Overmixing will make a meatloaf dry and dense.
  • For a perfectly browned crust,  form the meatloaf by hand and bake on a baking sheet.
  • When choosing a baking pan, avoid a small loaf pan or baking dish. A tight fit means that the loaf will steam — think school cafeteria meatloaf. Instead, use a sheet pan or a large baking dish and leave some breathing room. That way your edges will caramelize. YUM!
  • Consider making a few small loaves. Mini meatloaves are more “fun and have more of the browned crust that forms around the edges. They’re also easy to freeze. If making extra for sandwiches is part of the plan, any extra, unsliced mini meatloaves will stay nice and moist, too.
  • Let it rest. Just like a roast, it’s important to let meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes (covered with foil to keep warm) before slicing. It helps the loaf set up for easier slicing and, most importantly, it locks in those luscious, precious juices.

 

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Whole 30 & Paleo BBQ Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

This Paleo & Whole30 turkey meatloaf is super juicy, loaded with protein and bursting with savory notes from mushrooms and onions! A homemade plum glaze makes this a really special gluten-free and low-carb meatloaf recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq glazed meatloaf, paleo meatloaf recipe, turkey meatloaf
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 436 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil avocado oil or ghee
  • 5 oz mushrooms 150 g
  • 1 small onion or half a medium one minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pounds ground turkey not too lean - at least 93/7
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp Whole30 ketchup + 1/2 cup see recipe below
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard see notes
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos see notes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the Whole30 Ketchup

  • 9 oz dried prunes - 250 g - you can use dates instead, but they need to be soaked in water
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika you can add more for color - pictured is 2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Make the bbq ketchup first. In a food processor or in your high speed blender, combine all ingredients on high speed until pureed smoothly and all the prune-bits disappear. I recommend you stip and scrape the sides to incorporate all ingredients evenly. The texture should be thick but spreadable. Add a tiny bit of water (just a couple of teaspoons at a time) to thin it out if needed.

  2. Store your homemade ketchup in a sealed jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. If it thickens up too much you can just stir in some water or apple cider vinegar.

  3. Chop the mushrooms very finely in a food processor. (see step-by-step picture)

  4. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the minced onions and sautee, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until the mushrooms give off their liquid and let it reduce away; about 10 minutes or the mixture gets dry.

  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add your ground turkey, the prepared onion mushroom mix, almond flour, 3 tablespoons homemade ketchup, coconut aminos, mustard and all seasonings. Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated.

  6. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, or shape free form on a baking sheet lined with foil (as pictured). If using a pan, make sure that no air bubbles get trapped underneath. (You may have some extra mix, depending on the capacity of your pan; this can be cooked in a ramekin or free-form next to the loaf.)

  7. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Refrigerate the meatloaf while the oven preheats. (The meatloaf can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
  8. Cover with ketchup on all sides. If using a loaf pan, you will have leftover sauce. If using free form, just slather it all on, patting it on the sides too.

  9. Bake for about 1 h or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F/ 74C.

  10. Let meatloaf sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • It’s important to use ground turkey that is  93% lean and at least 7% fat. Avoid 99% lean ground turkey, which will result in a dry, bland meatloaf.
  • Mustards are generally Whole30-compliant across the board, there are always going to be those exceptions with sneaky ingredients. Read the label Dijon mustard, for example, is a food whose ingredient list you should keep an eye on. Traditionally many Dijon mustards—both ground and whole grain—include white wine as an ingredient. Since no alcohol is allowed on Whole30 (even as an ingredient!), some Dijon varieties will not be allowed.
  • You can also use gluten-free soy sauce if not Paleo or allergic to soy.
  • I like to cook meatloaf to an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit.  This ensures there is no pink meat left!
  • Overmixing will make a meatloaf dry and dense.
  • Umami-rich mushrooms add flavor and keep the turkey meatloaf juicy inside
  • For a perfectly browned crust,  form the meatloaf by hand and bake on a baking sheet.
  • When choosing a baking pan, avoid a small loaf pan or baking dish. A tight fit means that the loaf will steam — think school cafeteria meatloaf. Instead, use a sheet pan or a large baking dish and leave some breathing room so the edges will caramelize nicely.
  • Also consider making a few small loaves. Mini meatloaves have more of the "fun," i.e. the browned and glazed crust that forms. They're also easy to freeze for later. If making extra for sandwiches is part of the plan, any extra, unsliced mini meatloaves will stay nice and moist, too.
  • Let it rest. Just like a roast, it's important to let a meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes (tented with foil to keep it hot) before slicing. It helps the loaf set up for easier slicing and, most importantly, it locks in those luscious, precious juices.
Nutrition Facts
Whole 30 & Paleo BBQ Glazed Turkey Meatloaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 436 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 138mg46%
Sodium 994mg43%
Potassium 1194mg34%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 43g86%
Vitamin A 1070IU21%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Paleo Turkey Meatloaf Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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posted in
Clean Eating Dairy Free Gluten free Holidays Low carb Main Dishes Meal Prep Meat Paleo Paleo/Primal Recipes Turkey Whole30 Winter Recipes
10 Comments
  1. Adding the mushrooms is a great touch. The meatloaf has a nice texture and the sauce is delicious. Make a double batch and put it on lettuce wrap burgers.

  2. Thanks for the tip about baking on a bigger baking sheet to eliminate the steaming processing. I’ve always wondered why mine ended up that way.

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