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Sweet potato and a tangy glaze make turkey meatloaf special

By Julia Turshen Washington Post

I’ve got a great meatloaf recipe for you today!

Sorry for the exclamation point, but I’m really excited about this one. It’s a turkey meatloaf that relies on a generous amount of grated sweet potato to add moisture, texture and color to otherwise-blah ground turkey. Fresh sage and a maple-mustard glaze give it a Thanksgiving-anytime-of-year vibe. It’s perfect with mashed potatoes (or rice, or noodles, or whatever) and a salad, or you can also throw a sheet pan of Brussels sprouts or broccoli in the oven while the meatloaf cooks for another easy side dish.

This is just the kind of weeknight dinner I often crave: hearty but not heavy, familiar but a little different.

I came up with this recipe at the end of last year. My pal Emmet and I did a special holiday menu for the clients of our Full Fridge Club, a prepared-meal service with a charitable bent, and I thought it would be fun to offer turkey meatloaf rather than a more traditional roast turkey or ham or something like that.

When we cook food for our clients, we have the same goals as any home cooks: We want food that tastes really good and doesn’t take forever to prepare; we try to make things that use good-quality and, ideally, local ingredients, but we don’t want everything to cost a lot; and we want things to reheat well because we know people won’t necessarily eat a dish – or all of it – the moment they get it. This meatloaf checks all those boxes.

The sweet potato keeps the turkey from drying out when you reheat it (as does using dark meat or any packaged ground turkey that has at least 10 percent fat).

Speaking of reheating, you can put the whole meatloaf in a 300-degree oven or – and I highly recommend this method reheat slices in a buttered or oiled skillet so they get browned on the cut sides. And speaking of making it ahead, it lasts for several days in the fridge. For even more of a head start, you can make the sautéed onion mixture a couple days before assembling and baking the meatloaf.

It’s all very easygoing, which makes it worth exclaiming about!

Turkey and sweet potato meatloaf

This meatloaf relies on a generous amount of grated sweet potato to add moisture, texture and color to ground turkey. Fresh sage and a maple-mustard glaze give it a Thanksgiving vibe. While the oven is on, throw in a sheet pan of Brussels sprouts or broccoli on the lower rack for another side dish.

Serve with noodles, mashed or roasted potatoes, or a green salad.


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion (5 ounces), finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated

6 large fresh sage leaves, minced

1 medium-large sweet potato (9 ounces), unpeeled, scrubbed and coarsely grated

⅓ cup plain breadcrumbs

⅓ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 large egg

1 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons tomato paste


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with 1 tablespoon of oil.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften and the mixture is fragrant (your kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving). Remove from the heat and let cool for at least five minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture and thoroughly mix to combine. Add the turkey and gently mix until just combined (overworking ground meat can turn it tough).

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth out the top – this will ensure that the meatloaf bakes evenly. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, maple syrup and tomato paste until combined. Spread the mixture evenly over the meatloaf.

Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the meatloaf is golden brown, firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center registers at least 165 degrees. Let the meatloaf cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before unmolding, slicing and serving.

Substitutions: If you can’t have gluten, use gluten-free breadcrumbs. If you can’t have egg, skip both the egg and the breadcrumbs (if there’s no egg, there’s no need for the breadcrumbs to absorb the extra moisture). Dislike turkey? Use ground chicken, pork or beef instead. Vegetarian? Use a plant-based ground meat.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings; makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

Storage: Refrigerate for up to four days.

Active time: 35 mins

Total time: 1 hour, 15 mins

Nutrition per serving (1 ½-inch-thick piece), based on 6: 271 calories, 21g carbohydrates, 74mg cholesterol, 13g fat, 2g fiber, 17g protein, 3g saturated fat, 578mg sodium, 9g sugar