Asian-Inspired Meatloaf Is Your New Favorite Comfort Food

While we consider meatloaf to be an essential all-American comfort food along with the likes of mac and cheese, hot dogs, and apple pie, its origins can be traced all the way across the pond, and it's history is long and varied. Today, you can find countless versions of meatloaf, which is perhaps the very quality that has sustained it. It's infinitely adaptable, with its only real requirement being the use of some kind of ground meat as the main ingredient.

This meatloaf is lovingly made with flavorings commonly found in Asian cuisines. A delectable mixture of lean ground turkey breast is combined with fragrant scallions, nutty sesame oil, salty soy sauce, and fresh cilantro for a dish that bursts with umami flavor on its own. However, unwilling to stop there, I decided to experiment with a slowly simmered soy glaze that's both sweet and salty in equal measure. Drizzled atop the meatloaf come time to serve, you may find that while meatloaf has origins in Europe and a stronghold in America, it takes well to traditionally Asian flavors, too.

Gather your loaf ingredients

This meatloaf is made with lean ground turkey for a lighter take on the traditional beef loaf. Scallions and cilantro add pops of good veggie greenness, while sesame oil lends subtle depth of flavor. The panko breadcrumbs lend some stability to the mixture, while the egg binds everything together. The glaze is soy-based and quite easy and hands-off. It's made with water, brown sugar, soy sauce, white wine, granulated sugar, and ground coriander.

Make the glaze

Since the glaze takes about 30 minutes to make and needs time to cool, I like to start it first. After boiling the water and brown sugar together, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer the mixture until it's reduced by about half. The goal is a thickened syrupy glaze, but keep in mind that it won't thicken until it's had some time to cool. Luckily, you still have to bake the meatloaf, so it all makes for perfect timing.

Combine the meatloaf ingredients

Throw the meatloaf ingredients into a large bowl. Be sure the bowl is large enough for you to mix everything without bits flying everywhere.

Mix it up

While I would normally use my hands to form burger patties or meatballs, I prefer to use a fork for meatloaf. With so many textures going, the tines are more ideal for making sure every ingredient gets incorporated thoroughly.

Form a loaf

Dump the meat mixture onto a greased, foil-lined baking sheet. I like to grease the foil with canola oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Using your hands, shape the meat into a loaf shape. I like to make mine a little shorter and on the thicker side, but this is all a matter of preference.

Bake the meatloaf

Transfer the meatloaf to the oven and bake for about 50 minutes. I find that to prevent the turkey from drying out, this is plenty of time. That said, every oven is different so use your judgment. No one wants to eat raw meat, right?

Serve up the meatloaf with some syrupy glaze

Okay, time to slice up that meatloaf. I enjoy thick, hearty slices drizzled with glaze. You can leave the glaze in a bowl on the side so each person can figure out how much sauce they want. That's it. Bon appetit!

Directions

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

(For the glaze)

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

(For the meatloaf)

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Bring the brown sugar and water to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the white wine, granulated sugar, and coriander. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, 30-35 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and set aside until ready to use.
  3. While the glaze simmers, in a large bowl, combine the turkey, scallions, cilantro, panko breadcrumbs, 1 large egg, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Season with as much black pepper as desired. Using a fork, stir the mixture until everything is fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to a lightly-greased, foil-lined baking sheet and using your hands, gently form into a log shape.
  5. Transfer the formed meatloaf to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the meat is cooked through, about 50 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Cut the meatloaf into thick, hearty slices and drizzle as much glaze as desired on top. Enjoy while it's warm.