Turkey meatloaf with zucchini is a healthy spin on the famous classic meatloaf. Made with lean turkey, shredded zucchini, and carrots, this turkey meatloaf recipe is a healthy main dish to enjoy on any day of the week.
Meatloaf has always been a classic comfort food for our family. I make meatloaf at least once a week.
This turkey and zucchini meatloaf recipe requires only 15 minutes of prep time and another hour of baking. But if you need to save some time, try these Air Fryer Mini Meatloaves.
Turkey meatloaf is leaner and lighter compared to beef and pork. Turkey meat is lower in fat and richer in protein. Ground turkey is easy to find at any time of the year at most grocery stores. You can choose the lean ground turkey (97%) or the mix of white and dark meat (93%). Both are still considered lean meats, but the 97% might taste dry and rubbish in meatloaf, so I always choose the one with higher fat content.
Turkey meatloaf ingredients
See the recipe card below for the ingredients quantities
Ground turkey - I used 7% fat ground turkey. It has a higher fat content and will make the meatloaf juicy.
Zucchini and carrots - zucchini adds juiciness and nutrients. You can skip carrots but they add some great flavor and sweetness.
Saltine crackers - crushed saltines or breadcrumbs. You can use GF quick oats for a gluten-free meatloaf.
Egg - a large egg to bind all the ingredients and will hold the meatloaf together.
Salt and spices - make sure you take into count the sodium that saltine crackers have. I used dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Other great herbs to use are basil, oregano, thyme, or Italian seasoning.
Worcestershire sauce - a little bit of Worcestershire sauce for the taste.
Ketchup - you will need some for the meat mix and some for the glaze.
How to make the meatloaf
Step 1 - Using a box grater, grate the zucchini coarsely and the carrots finely. Using clean hands, squeeze any extra liquid out of the grated zucchini. It will still have plenty remaining to make the meatloaf juicy. But too much can ruin the texture and your loaf might not hold its shape.
Step 2 - In a large mixing bowl, add crushed crumbs, beaten egg, grated carrot, and zucchini. Mix well with the fork. Now, add ground turkey, salt, herbs, two Tablespoons of ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Use clean hands or a fork to mix well. The turkey mixture should be sticky but not runny.
Step 3 - in a deeper glass dish or a loaf pan, line a sheet of parchment paper. Grease it with some olive oil. Place the meat mixture on the greased parchment paper and shape it into a loaf. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Take the meatloaf out and drain any liquid that appeared at the bottom of the pan. Now, spread the rest of the ketchup on top of the loaf. Finish baking for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature in the center of the meatloaf reaches 165°F. Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it.
- Use 93% lean ground turkey.
- Do not add too many vegetables to prevent the meatloaf from having a watery texture.
- Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the meatloaf is fully cooked.
- You can use tomato sauce in place of ketchup
Same as the classic one, turkey meatloaf goes well with potatoes, roasted veggies, apple sauce, or a fresh garden salad. My son is not a fan of white roasted or mashed potatoes, so we often enjoy our meatloaf with sweet potatoes. It is especially good with our Truffle Oil Sweet Potato Fries or Purple Sweet Potato Puree.
This meatloaf goes well with grains. Try our easy Instant Pot Buckwheat Groats as a nutritious side dish.
How to store and reheat
Once the meatloaf cools down at room temperature, place the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Sliced meatloaf reheats well in the microwave or the oven.
You can freeze the meatloaf for up to 3 months. I like to wrap single portions in parchment paper and place them in a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag. I suggest writing the date on the bag as well.
Other recipes with grated zucchini
Turkey Meatloaf With Zucchini
- 1 Box grater
- 1 Measuring Cup
- 1 large bowl
- 1 set of measuring spoons
- 1 deep baking pan or bread loaf pan
- 1 pound ground turkey 7%
- 1 small zucchini or ½ medium one
- 1 medium carrot
- 15 saltine crackers, crushed or ⅓ cup of bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, whisked
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or as needed
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ cup ketchup, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay a deep baking dish or a loaf pan with some parchment paper. Crash the crackers into crumbs. Using a box grater, grate zucchini, and carrot. Using clean hands, squeeze the zucchini to remove as much liquid as possible.
- In a large bowl, add crushed crackers, zucchini, carrots, and whisked eggs. Mix everything with the fork well. Add ground turkey, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and 2 Tablespoons of ketchup. Mix everything until all ingredients are combined.
- Form a loaf and place it on a prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Drain any liquid from the bottom of the pan. Spread the remaining amount of Ketchup over the meatloaf and bake for another 30 minutes or until the meatloaf's internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let the meatloaf cool down for 10 minutes before slicing.
- use about ⅓ cup of regular breadcrumbs in place of crackers.
- for gluten-free version, add ⅓ cup of plain quick oats.
- store the meatloaf in airtight container for up to 3 days for freeze it up to 3 months.