Italian Turkey Meatloaf

I make a few different types of meatloaf and this one has been a family favorite for a long time. It is a Giada De Luarentiis recipe that I tweaked a little and it never dissapoints. Ground turkey gets transformed with a loads of fresh basil, parsley, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and calabrian chilis. I am seeing Calabrian chilis sold at more markets these days. They are an Italian red chili and they come chopped up in a jar packed in oil. They are not too spicy and add great flavor. If you can’t find them, red chili flakes are a good substitute. There is a layer of crispy pancetta on top takes it to the next level! You can find sliced pancetta in a 3 ounce package in the deli area of most markets. If you love a good Italian meatball, this will be totally up your alley. And it makes a killer sandwich the next day.

The food processor makes quick work of the basil, parsley, and garlic. You can chop all of these by hand if you want, but this makes it much quicker!

Mix all of the ingredients together before adding the meat. This ensures that everything is mixed well without over working the turkey.

After you form your mix into a loaf, gently layer the pancetta over the top so the entire loaf is covered. The pancetta will lay better while cooking if you wrap the entire loaf in parchment paper (without the parchment, it will curl up as the meatloaf cooks). The easiest way to do that is to tear off a large piece of parchment and lay it down on a baking sheet. Form your loaf on top of the parchment, then after you layer the pancetta on, fold the parchment over the loaf to bake. I like to line my baking sheet with foil first for easy clean up!

I like to serve this with roasted broccoli and a simple pasta with pesto. My boys love the leftovers in a sandwich the next day!

Italian Turkey Meatloaf

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 2/3 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes use the kind in a jar packed in oil
  • 2 tbsp calabrian chilis these can be found near the sundried tomatoes and they are in a jar packed in oil. If you can't find calabrian chilis, use a tsp of chili flakes
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs ground turkey NOT extra lean
  • 3 ounce thinly sliced pancetta


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and milk. Add the chopped parsley and basil, minced garlic, chopped sundried tomatoes, calabrian chilis or chili flakes, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Add the beaten eggs, and turkey and mix well to combine. I like to do this with my hands with food prep gloves on. It is easier to mix well without over working the turkey.
  • Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil (makes for easy clean up!) then with a large piece of parchment paper. Transfer your meat mixture to the parchment paper and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with the sliced pancetta making sure the whole loaf is covered. Wrap the parchment over the loaf and fold up on the ends to secure. Bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about an hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Keyword Italian, meatloaf

One Comment

  1. Aunt Maria

    yum, yum. Lucky max with his lunch.

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