Using beef and turkey with wheatgerm and plenty of spices makes this a healthy meatloaf. It’s long on flavor and short on fat.
Why this Healthy Meatloaf Works
In my quest to reduce fats in my diet but still retain flavor, I decided to try substituting ground turkey for the ground pork I would usually use in meatloaf. The fat in pork adds flavor and moisture to ground beef. However, it’s fatty. The ground turkey has about 25% less saturated fat than lean ground beef. It is about 50% less saturated fat than ground pork. It has a milder flavor than beef so it needs a little help and that’s where the spicy peppers come in. There is a mixture of poblano, red jalapeno, and chipotle peppers for a smoky heat that compensates well for the lack of fat.
Using a Shower Cap when Making the Peppers
I use my rotisserie roaster air fryer for the peppers because it does a fantastic, set-it-and-forge-it job without having to stand over a hot stove burner. The air fryer chars them nicely and then I put them in a bowl and cover them with a shower cap. Shower cap? Yes, inexpensive shower caps are the right size to fit over medium to large bowls. They allow expansion so they’re also great to cover a bowl of dough that needs to breathe. They can be washed and reused over and over again, so if you are concerned about using plastic wrap, this is a good solution.
Healthy Meatloaf Notes
This meatloaf will serve about 8 people with mashed potatoes and a vegetable side. If you add another side dish or have a starter, it will feed more. Plan on each person having about 4 ounces of meat, about 2 slices. Leftover meatloaf makes great sandwiches, or if you have leftover mashed potatoes, you can make stuffed potato balls.
The red pepper paste is not the same thing as salsa or hot sauce. Red Pepper Paste, also known as Hamim, is made from red bell peppers, Aleppo pepper, and olive oil. It comes in varying degrees of heat and will usually say on the label whether it’s very spicy or not. You can use it in just about anything that calls for bell peppers. It has excellent flavor and can also be made at home.
~~ — Salsa Mixture — ~~
- 1 Onion, peeled and skins removed
- 2 Pablano, or Pasilla charred
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, red
- 1 Chipotle chili, canned in Adobo sauce minced
~~ — Sauce — ~~
- 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Paste, optional
- ¼ cup Ketchup
~~ — For the Meatloaf — ~~
- 1 pound Ground turkey
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup Wheat germ
Make the Salsa Mixture
- 2 Pablano, 1 Jalapeno pepperPut the peppers in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They will be charred.
- Put the charred peppers in a large bowl and cover them with a shower cap or plastic wrap so they can steam and the skins easily peel off. They should be ready to handle in about 30 minutes.
- When they can be easily handled, wearing gloves, remove and discard the skins.
- 1 Onion, 1 Chipotle chiliPut the skins, the chipotle peppers, and the onion in the bowl of a food processor and process them until they are pieces are tiny but not puree. Set half aside and save the rest for salsa and chips.
Make the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Paste, 1/4 cup KetchupCombine the ketchup and red pepper sauce and mix well.
For the Meatloaf
- If you have a small Nesco, remove the rack from the roasting pan. Remove the roasting pan and pre-heat the Nesco to 325. If you don’t have a Nesco, then line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil. Pre-heat oven to 325.
- 1 pound Ground turkey, 1 pound Ground beef, 1 tablespoon Tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup Wheat germThe best tool for mixing is a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, then use a very large bowl and extra clean hands. Make sure that you mix all the ingredients for the meatloaf thoroughly but be careful not to overwork the meat, otherwise, it will be tough.
- Remove the loaf from the mixing bowl and place it in the roasting pan. Use a spatula to shape it into a rectangle.
- Cook about an hour or until it reaches 155°F / 68°C on an instant-read thermometer . Paint the meatloaf with the sauce and continue cooking until the meatloaf reaches 160°F ./ 71C.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Original Three Pepper Meatloaf
If you would like to try the original Three Pepper Meatloaf, please enjoy!