Turkey Meatloaf with Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce

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Oh Monday. You snuck up too fast this week. How about you take that extra hour, sleep in and give me a few more weekend hours to enjoy? Although, can’t complain, it’s a short week for me! So, friends, how was your weekend? Fabulous? Relaxing? Wild? Mine was perfect. For one, the weather was AMAZNG. Secondly, I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers in the world and hang out with a really good friend (the one who got married in New Mexico!) at a local winery, Sunset Hills. The full recap will come tomorrow, I just have to share a few gorgeous photos from Saturday.

Oh and you may recognize the darling blonde next to me in the below photo…

It’s Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny! She’s as fabulous as she is on her blog (even more so in real life) and I’m so happy she lives so close!

Besides drinking a plethora of wine, I spent much of the weekend in the kitchen. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am a baking and cooking MACHINE. I cranked out 3 different kinds of pumpkin desserts and (perhaps what I’m most proud of) this delicious turkey meatloaf with a low sugar cranberry reduction.

I call it an “untraditional Thanksgiving dinner.” Who said you have to carve up a 12-20 pound turkey? Why not whip up a juicy, turkey meatloaf in half the time and effort?

The key to this meatloaf, my friends, isn’t in the meat. (har har har, he DIDN’T say that). It’s the low sugar cranberry sauce, reduction stuff! (That’s the scientific term). The tartness of the cranberries was exactly what the savory meatloaf needed. I got sweetness, saltiness and crunch in each unbelievable bite.

Plus, the cranberry sauce is so pretty paired next to the brown meatloaf, don’t you think? 🙂 I’m a huge fan of re-inventing traditional holiday favorites. The holidays are about bringing people you love together. What’s more synonomous with love, togetherness and good yule than good ol’ comfort food? Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods too. This dish makes me feel good. Swapping in turkey for regular beef also makes my heart and waistline “feel” good too 🙂

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I’m trying my very best to stay healthy where I can. Because Lord knows I can’t turn down a delicious Christmas cookie or slice of pecan pie.

Turkey Meatloaf with Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce


Yields: 8 (1/8 inch) slices and 8 1/2 cups of sauce
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 50-60  minutes

What You’ll Need:

For the meatloaf:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of 98% fat free ground turkey, defrosted
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of ketchup
  • 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
  • Liberal dashes of salt and pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

For the cranberry sauce:

  • 4 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of no sugar added cranberry juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated orange peel

How to Make It:

  1. To make the meatloaf: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place enough aluminum foil into a loaf pan to cover it. Liberally grease foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix meat, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and broth with your hands (or spoon). Once mixture is combined, thoroughly mix in eggs. Once mixed, add in breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano.
  3. Pour meat mixture into the greased loaf pan. Garnish with additional salt, pepper and oregano. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Let cool before removing from foil.
  4. To make cranberry sauce: While meatloaf is cooking, bring cranberries, sugar and cranberry juice to a boil in a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, or until cranberries have popped (they will literally make popping noises!) Add in cinnamon and additional sugar to taste. When done, add in orange zest and enjoy!

Paired with some parmesan & wine green beans and you have a fabulously healthy, delicous and perfectly un-traditional Thanksgiving feast!

Nutritional information per 1/8 slice of meatloaf and 1/3 cup of sauce: 270 calories, 8 grams of fat, 25 grams of protien, 29 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of fiber.

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  1. Posted by Kiri W. on
    Monday, November 7th, 2011
    Looks delicious! We make cranberry sauce with an ancient steel meat grinder - so much fun :) You girls look great!
  2. Posted by Jennifer on
    Monday, November 7th, 2011
    Mmm, looks fabulous! 
  3. Monday, November 7th, 2011
    This looks fantastic! And festive haha :)
  4. Posted by Bake Your Day on
    Monday, November 7th, 2011
    These are amazing pictures. I love meatloaf...brilliant idea to add the cranberry sauce...just like Thanksgiving!
  5. Posted by Kelly on
    Monday, November 7th, 2011
    Aww your pictures turned out great!! I had SO much fun and it was great to finally meet you! Annnnd your meatloaf looks amazing!! :)
  6. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Monday, November 7th, 2011
    Your pictures are so pretty! I am really lovin' this turkey meatloaf with that cranberry sauce! In fact, I think I might make your low-sugar version for my family's Thanksgiving dinner!
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
      You should!! It's so good!!
  7. Monday, November 7th, 2011
    That's so awesome that you and Kelly could meet up!  Online/blogging friends can turn into a real life friends! :-)  Your meat loaf looks delicious, especially with cranberry sauce... yum!
  8. Posted by Aferguson on
    Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
    This looks delicious! I'm going to try it! Ailsa (www.guiltfreecuisine.net).
  9. Posted by Krishnan Nava on
    Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
    Cranberries are so rare at where I am but sure wish I can try out this lovely recipe of yours.
  10. Posted by Carolyn on
    Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
    Ooo, that looks like great meatloaf!  And such a cute pic of you and Kelly!
  11. Posted by Liz on
    Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
    I love meatloaf...and your healthy version sounds (and looks) amazing!  And how fun that you got to meet Kelly!!!  Great photo of you both~
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, November 10th, 2011
      thank yoU!!
  12. Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
    This looks fantastic Claire! I won't say this will replace my beloved Thanksgving turkey but I can see this becoming a beloved weeknight meal. Definitely trying this!
  13. Posted by Linda on
    Thursday, November 10th, 2011
    My husband's digestive system does not tolerate onion.... I usually just leave it out of recipes but a meatloaf just isn't right without it.  Any substitution suggestions?  Otherwise I'm all over this to make for us.
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, November 10th, 2011
      Can he handle garlic or mushrooms? I think either would be great! Or, for an onioney taste without the onion, try a leek!
  14. Posted by Katie on
    Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
    Well, this looks mighty tasty. I have a whole package of ground turkey in the freezer that I still have yet to use... idea! Thanks!
  15. Posted by AHAHAHA on
    Thursday, April 12th, 2012
    I cooked this tonight for supper and it was super good.  However, I did take the easy route for the sauce and used canned (on the side).  When cranberries are in season I'll look to make it per the recipe.  But I must say, the loaf is good enough that it doesn't need the sauce. And the canned cranberries added just a punch of sweetness.  Thanks so much for such a great way to use ground turkey!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionsit on
      Saturday, September 1st, 2012
      OH i'm so glad you like it!!
  16. Posted by Kat on
    Friday, August 31st, 2012
    The meatloaf was terrific! I live by myself though, so I had a ton left over. Last night to change up the left overs a bit I cut up one piece of meatloaf into bite sized pieces and threw them in a skillet. I chopped up some red, yellow and orange peppers and threw them in as well. I added a bit of vegetable oil. After the meat was warmed up, I topped it with a bit of low fat shredded cheese. Mixed it all up, and it was absolutely delicious!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Saturday, September 1st, 2012
      That is so great to hear Kat! It's definitely one of my favorite meatloaf recipes.