Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

Using beef and turkey with wheat germ and plenty of spices makes this a healthy meatloaf that's long on flavor and short on fat.
Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

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

Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf Shower Cap
Shower Cap over 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.

Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

Using beef and turkey with wheat germ and plenty of spices makes this a healthy meatloaf that's long on flavor and short on fat.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Fat
Difficulty: Moderate
Servings (slide to adjust): 8
Calories: 234kcal


~~ — 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
Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic.


  • Mise en place
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

Make the Salsa Mixture

  • 2 Pablano, 1 Jalapeno pepper
    Put the peppers in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They will be charred.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
  • 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.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf Shower Cap
  • When they can be easily handled, wearing gloves, remove and discard the skins.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
  • 1 Onion, 1 Chipotle chili
    Put 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.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf

Make the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Paste, 1/4 cup Ketchup
    Combine 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 germ
    The 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.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
  • 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.
    Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.


If you don’t want spicy, you can substitute green and red bell peppers. For the smokiness of the chipotle, you could substitute either smoked paprika or a little Liquid Smoke.  You can omit the red pepper paste if you can’t find it at your local supermarket.


Nutrition Facts
Three Pepper Healthy Meatloaf
Amount Per Serving (162 g)
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 723mg31%
Potassium 589mg17%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 25g50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!

Original Three Pepper Meatloaf

If you would like to try the original Three Pepper Meatloaf, please enjoy!

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About arbpen

As an award-winning and serious home cook, I seriously believe there is no reason why you can't have a restaurant quality meal at home. One of the good things about eating at home is to save money, so armed with a good menu plan, a shopping list, and an appreciation of good food, we can all have gourmet food on a budget.

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