Meatloaf; you either love it or you hate it. Am I right?
I have never been particularly fond of it. The recipes I always have tried seemed to turn out either too dry or bland.
To be honest meatloaf makes me think of a hamburger gone wrong.
Don’t give me that disgusted, confused look!
I know what you are thinking, meatloaf muffins?! Is there meat in that muffin? Is there fruit in that meatloaf?
Nope, they are cute little personal meatloaves that are cooked using a muffin pan.
What I love about them is that they are portable. Put one in a container and grab a bag of veggies and you’ve got yourself a quick, easy lunch.
These little guys are anything but dry. They are packed with veggies that help to keep the turkey nice and moist.
In order for me to not get bored from eating the same old piece of meatloaf all week long, I knew I had to bump up the flavor level.
I threw in some artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, and sundried tomatoes for an Italian flare. Then I whipped up some basil pesto in my food processor to drizzle on top.
No more ketchup sauce. Trust me, pesto is so much better!
These little guys are made gluten-free by swapping the traditional bread crumbs for gluten-free friendly oats. Okay maybe we are treading a little into muffin land with the oats, but I promise you don’t even taste them. They just help to absorb all of those tasty meat juices.
These Italian Meatloaf Muffins are:
Easy to make
Fun to eat
Bursting with Italian flavors.
I am in love with these meatloaf muffins. I know you will be too!
- FOR THE TURKEY MEATLOAF MUFFINS:
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes (not in oil), chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, finely chopped
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Sea salt and pepper
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 2 pounds ground turkey (you could also use ground chicken)
- 1 ¼ cup oats (gluten-free friendly)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon each sea salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- FOR BASIL PESTO SAUCE:
- ¼ cup pecans (could sub in walnuts)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- FOR THE TURKEY MEATLOAF MUFFINS:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Heat the grape seed oil. Add the onion and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
- Add the ½ cup chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- While the veggie mixture is cooling to room temperature grease a standard size muffin pan.
- To a large mixing bowl add the whisked eggs, 2 pounds ground turkey, oats, and the remainder of the spices. Add the veggie mixture, once it has cooled down quite a bit. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together; it is always easiest to use your hands for this.
- Form loose balls, about the size of ½ cup. Place them into the muffin tins. Gently press down on the tops of the turkey muffins and smooth out the tops.
- Cook the turkey meatloaf muffins in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The tops should be slightly browned and the internal temperature should read 165 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Gently remove them from the muffin tin and serve immediately with the basil pesto sauce or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- FOR THE BASIL PESTO SAUCE:
- While the turkey meatloaf muffins are cooking make the pesto sauce.
- If your pecans are raw toast them in the oven (while the meatloaf muffins are cooking) on a rimmed baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, or until slightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool.
- Add all of the ingredients except for the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds, scrape down sides and add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture again, scraping down sides as needed. Keep adding a little olive oil at a time, until it reaches the consistency you desire. The pesto should be thick enough to cling to the spoon, yet runny enough to dollop onto the meatloaf.
- Add salt and pepper, taste-test, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Serve a couple dollops of the pesto on top of the meatloaf. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The olive oil may congeal and make the pesto thick. Simply allow it to come to room temperature for 10 minutes before using.