This mouthwatering turkey meatloaf uses all easy ingredients to create a hearty, delicious meatloaf like no other. And to take it to the next level, we stuff it with mozzarella cheese and spinach for a meal that everyone will love!
I love a good meatloaf dinner. It’s the ultimate in comfort food and always hits the spot. Let’s take that classic comfort food and give it a slightly new twist. Ground turkey has an amazing texture and flavor that is so perfect for a recipe such as this. It takes on all the flavors very well and creates a most savory experience in every bite. And the spinach and mozzarella stuffing just brings it to all new heights. I think you’re really gonna love this one.
What is Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf?
While most traditional meatloaf recipes are made with a combination of beef and pork, we’ll use lean ground turkey mixed with simple, pantry-friendly ingredients for our meatloaf mixture. Then, instead of just shaping it into a loaf and baking it, we’ll make some room in the center and load it up with a mixture of shredded mozzarella cheese and chopped spinach. The results are divine. This meatloaf is so savory and SO satisfying, it really is the ultimate comfort food.
Equipment and Ingredients
This is a very easy recipe and everything we need you’ll likely have on hand. Our meatloaf will cook on a sheet pan (cookie sheet or baking sheet) which we’ll line with foil or parchment for easy cleanup. We’ll also need a couple of mixing bowls.
We’re gonna get a lot of flavor from some really simple ingredients. Naturally, we’ll be using ground turkey. I like to use lean turkey which is usually somewhere between 93 and 97% lean. The meat will be seasoned with Italian flavored bread crumbs, Italian seasoning blend, kosher salt and ground black pepper. Some milk and an egg will bring it all together.
For the stuffing in the center, we’ll use a half cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and some defrosted frozen chopped spinach. A half of a 10oz block of frozen spinach is perfect. You can also feel free to adjust the amounts of spinach and cheese to your personal liking.
The meatloaf will then be topped with about ¾ cup of our favorite marinara sauce. And for something a little extra special, add some optional fresh basil and parmesan cheese just prior to serving. Oh my goodness!
One thing to keep in mind prior to getting started is that ground turkey has a much softer texture than ground beef or pork. It’s best to work with it while is cold right out of the fridge. We don’t want to leave it out long as it will soften up and be a little tougher to work with.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Give it a little spray with some non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, add together the spinach and mozzarella cheese.
Working with the spinach
For this recipe, we’re using 1.25 cups of frozen chopped spinach, thawed. This is the equivalent of a half package of the 10oz of frozen blocks of chopped spinach that are so common. You can actually use a serrated knife and cut the block right in half. Or, if using a bag of frozen chopped spinach simply measure out about 1.25 cups. A little over or under is fine.
It’s important that we drain the spinach of excess water. We don’t want soggy spinach in our meatloaf.
You can use the microwave to defrost the spinach fairly easily. Or, put the frozen spinach in a zip-top bag in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for an hour or two. You can also run the package under cool water for several minutes.
To drain the spinach, place a colander over a bowl and add the spinach. Use a wooden spoon or spatula and press down several times to squeeze out as much water as possible. You’ll see quite a bit of water going down into the bowl. Do this a few times, then pat it down with some paper towels and you’ll be all good.
In a large bowl add the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, milk, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and mix it all by hand until just incorporated. Wet your hands with cold water to help prevent it from sticking.
We’ll construct our meatloaf first by taking ⅔ of the meat mixture and laying it out on the lined sheet pan. Gently shape it into a loaf of approximately 9″ x 5″ and press down in the middle, creating the cavity for the spinach and cheese mixture. You don’t have to be perfect with any of this.
Now add the spinach and cheese mixture and continue shaping as needed to get the mixture in.
Take the remaining meat and shape it to cover the top. You’ll have to press and pull a bit to get it to all come together but really, however you make it work will be fine.
Press the edges together, and continue to shape with wet hands until you have the perfectly stuffed meatloaf ready to go into the oven!
In it goes at 375°F for 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes, take it out and add the marina sauce to the whole loaf. Use a brush to get the sides too. Then back in it goes for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature at the center of the meatloaf measures 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. An instant-read thermometer is your best friend for recipes such as this – assuring a perfectly done dish.
Let Cool and Serve
When the meatloaf is done, remove from oven and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. This will make it much easier to work with.
While it’s cooling you can top it with about a tablespoon of fresh chopped basil and sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese. Both of these ingredients really bring out those Italian flavors and the basil especially, is so lively and vibrantly delicious in a dish such as this.
Make it your own!
Want to add your own special touch? No problem. I know people can have favorite ingredients to add to meatloaf and you can certainly do that here.
Caramelized onions: Adding caramelized onions to meatloaf can really create a deep, delicious flavor profile. You don’t need much. Cook down a ½ of a medium onion and add it directly to the meat mixture.
Bell peppers: Finely diced bell peppers are an excellent addition to any meatloaf recipe.
Garlic: Who doesn’t love garlic, right? Add a clove or two of grated garlic to the meat mixture. You can also use some garlic powder. Just keep in mind that the Italian breadcrumbs will have some garlic flavor in it as well.
Glaze on: While I love the marina sauce on this meatloaf, the good old common ketchup glaze tastes great too.
Worcestershire Sauce: This is a common addition for extra savory flavor.
Storage and Reheating
After cooking and cooling your turkey meatloaf, slice it up and wrap each piece in plastic wrap or put in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months for best quality.
To reheat: If frozen, let it thaw in the fridge first. Set your oven to 300°F and put the meatloaf in an oven-safe dish with a little bit of broth or water. Cover the dish with foil and heat it up for about 15 to 20 minutes. For microwave, put it on a plate, cover, and heat for about 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.Print