For a lot of people, meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that elicits warm, fuzzy memories of coming home on a cold winter day to the wonderful smells of mom’s cooking. (Ma…the meatloaf!)
I am not one of those people.
I am not one of those people.
It’s not to say I don’t like meatloaf, because I do. But for whatever reason, it was just not a staple in our house growing up.
But the other day I was texting with my cousin Erin and she was telling me about this amazing meatloaf she made that had jack cheese and Durkees French Fried onions in it. While that sounded nothing short of amazing, I’m trying to eat healthier these days, so I decided to concoct my own rendition using ground turkey and veggies. To make it low-carb, I was determined to make it sans breadcrumbs as well. And because, as you know, I love all things mini, I decided to make them in a muffin pan!
So let's talk about my two secret ingredients. First...Sriracha, aka Rooster Sauce, aka the best stuff ever. If you don't like spicy, you can sub with ketchup or tomato sauce, but why would you? This stuff is the bomb. Also, I like to eat my foods with hot sauce or a little cayenne mixed in because it also can help with metabolism.
As I mentioned, I also wanted to make a meatloaf without breadcrumbs. I did a little researching and found out that chia seeds are actually a great binder and can be used in place of the eggs AND breadcrumbs. All you do is mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 2 tablespoons warm water and let it sit for 15 minutes. It turns into this weird gel that actually works great to hold everything together and keep the meat from drying out as well. (*Note...I only had black chia seeds, but there are white ones as well, which are less likely to get stuck in your teeth. ;))
I decided to saute the onions since the little muffins don't need to cook as long as a regular loaf. I threw in some garlic and shredded zucchini as well.
Season ground turkey with salt and pepper and combine in a bowl with cooled vegetable mixture, chia paste, Sriracha, sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. The sun dried tomatoes were a last-minute add but I really liked them because they added a little sweetness to balance the spiciness from the Sriracha. I also think shitake mushrooms would be really good here too. Mix with your hands, taking care not to over mix.
When I was reading through different recipes, one of my favorite bloggers, Kalyn, said she didn't actually like using a muffin pan for the mini loafs because the grease pools in the bottom. Instead, she mounds little balls on a broiler rack to let the fat drain. I decided to test out both techniques. The verdict? I couldn't really tell the difference. Yes, a little liquid pooled in the bottom of the muffin pan, but I think it was more moisture from the veggies than fat (perhaps because turkey is so lean). My recommendation would be...if you normally use a loaf pan for meatloaf, you won't mind the muffin pan. If you normally just mound the loaf and cook it on a sheet pan or broiler pan, then go that route.
Also, for no reason at all, I decided to use my heart shaped pan. Just because I felt like it. Heart shaped food makes me happy. And wouldn't they be cute for Valentine's Day? (However, feel free to use a regular muffin pan).
To make the glaze, combine ketchup (I use "Simply Heniz" because it doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup), more Sriracha (YAY Sriracha!), honey, cumin, and Worcestershire. Brush or spoon sauce onto each "muffin." Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. (If you were making a full-sized loaf, bake closer to an hour).
I was blown away by the results from the chia seeds! They didn't crumble apart and they stayed super moist. I would be interested to try it in a full-sized loaf to see if it has the same results, but I loved the individual serving sizes. (And come on, those hearts are adorable).
If you make 12 muffins, each one is only 122 calories, 10 carbs and 5 grams of fat. You could further cut down on the carbs by using a lower-sugar ketchup and omitting the honey and/or tomatoes. Also...if you don't think you'll finish the entire pan right away, you can freeze them for easy weeknight meals later on! (Just take care not to overcook when defrosting). Enjoy!
P.S. I'm trying out a new recipe generator, called Recipage (see below). It offers print functions, as well as the social media buttons and an option to catalog everything on my recipe page for a small fee. What do you think? Do you like it?
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins with Sriracha Glaze
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: entree gluten-free low-carb turkey chia seeds sriracha
Ingredients (12 meatloaf muffins)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 cup sundried tomato halves, chopped (rinse if packed in oil)
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire suace
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup ketchup (I like Simply Heinz)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of cumin
- 1-2 teaspoon sriracha
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make your chia gel. Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 2 tablespoons warm water and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat and saute onions for a few minutes until soft. Add zucchini and garlic and saute a couple minutes more. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Season ground turkey with salt and pepper and combine in a bowl with vegetable mixture, Sriracha, chia paste, sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix with your hands, taking care not to over mix.
- To make the glaze, combine ketchup, Sriracha, honey, cumin, and Worcestershire.
- Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and spoon in meat mixture. (If you are not using a muffin pan, form meat into "balls" and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet or on a broiler pan). Brush or spoon sauce onto each "muffin."
- Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
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