Recipes on September 13, 2011 by

Joyful Cookie Company: Quinoa Turkey Loaf (GF)

You know the drill. It’s 5:30 pm, you’ve had a crazy day, you haven’t had a chance to think about dinner and your fridge is somewhat lacking in “grand inspiration.” Never fear. I have the perfect recipe for you!

I discovered (and tweaked) this delicious meatloaf on one such evening when searching for a recipe that would allow me to use up the bag of quinoa I had sitting in the back of my cupboard. Although we love quinoa, I was looking for “out of the box” ways to start using it. In this recipe, the quinoa is the replacement for the nutritionally lacking bread crumbs that typically find their way into meatloaf. Healthy, protein rich grains blended with lean ground turkey transforms this loaf into a light, yet perfectly comforting, easy mid-week meal.

I highly recommend pairing this meatloaf with some butternut squash for a fantastic intro into fall cuisine.

Quinoa Turkey Loaf


  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Water or Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) package Ground Turkey
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Pepper Sauce (I use Asian Garlic Chili Paste)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh Basil (optional)
  • Spicy BBQ Sauce


  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat an oven to 350° F (175° C).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, pepper and basil in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Spread your favorite BBQ sauce over the top of the loaf
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 35-50 minutes, depending on how much you spread it out on the pan. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Melissa Haynes is owner (and baker) of the Nashville-based Joyful Cookie Company. Joyful Cookie Company is a gourmet cookie business that specializes in 100 % whole-grain, flourless cookies. Along with this adventure, Melissa is an avid runner and healthy-eating foodie.


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