Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pecan Crust

Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf with Sundried Tomatoes and Pecan Crust
Gluten-free turkey meatloaf with sun-dried tomatoes and pecan crust.

A Turn Toward the New

The morning was cool and bright. It was going to be one of those quintessential Cape Cod autumn days. A day tourists swoon over. Worthy of a post card with The weather is sublime- wish you were here scrawled in black gel cursive between sips of a Hot Chocolate Sparrow latte. The sky was a cake bowl of cobalt blue with that particular pink edge to it that only painters notice, the blush that softened the tree line at the north end of the West Barnstable marsh gentling the heavy greens of the pines and oaks into a bluish, almost violet gray.

She brushed her teeth with fennel toothpaste and spit into the low slung sink, pausing to breathe. A long inhale to slow her heart. The cottage was pin drop quiet. The boys had climbed the rubber lined steps into the school bus hours ago, peanut butter and honey sandwiches bagged, milk money in their pockets. She had waved from the street and watched them navigate the bus aisle in shadow, avoiding her maternal gaze, not turning to wave back. Too risky, she understood.

The walk back up the curve of road to the rental she had found last spring felt different this morning. Not because of the air and its September clarity that sharpened the asters and the Queen Anne's Lace with impossible precision- though she felt a kinship with the acute focus the turning of the seasons always brings. That sense of realignment, a perennial return to purpose. Ironically, she always felt as if fall was the season of new beginnings. Not spring.

Fall was the season she woke up, as if from a dream.

Today was the first day of a plein air painting workshop. A post-divorce return to premarital roots, when she painted for the love of it- not the pragmatic bill-paying need of it. Painting for an income (however necessary it may be) is dangerous business. Courting the marketplace changes your work. A self consciousness slithers in and infiltrates your choices. The observer becomes observed. Judged. Rewarded for meeting expectations.

She had always been more than willing to please. To notice the cues and needs of others. It was more than habit. It was ingrained in her bones. She had an uncanny knack for it. And she hated it about herself. She hated her automatic willingness to anticipate and acquiesce. Sometimes she would hear her own words hang in the air and for a quantum, split second wonder who had just spoken. There were entire days lost to living outside herself, hovering above her left shoulder, just beyond reach.

Stepping into the tiny sunlit kitchen she stood still for a moment, tempted by the cluttered breakfast table. The sticky bowls and spoons. The allure of distraction. The comfort of routine. But it didn't take. She snatched her car keys off a hook and grabbed a canvas bag of painting gear by the door, turned the knob with her free hand and opened it wide. Three minutes later she made a right at the empty bus stop, and accelerated east down Old King's Highway.

To be continued...

Tasty Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf with Sundried Tomatoes and Pecan Crust
This gluten-free turkey meatloaf is studded with sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.

Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pecan Crust

Recipe posted September 2012 by Karina Allrich.

This simple turkey meatloaf is moist, flavorful and light. And you won't miss the gluten. Using fresh gluten-free bread crumbs (I used Udi's sandwich bread) gave this loaf a wonderful texture. The sun-dried tomatoes (I used Trader Joe's organic dry packed sun-dried tomatoes) and fresh herbs add a satisfying tang and depth. The pecan crust makes a crunchy top that adds a touch of fancy.


2 lbs. ground organic turkey (not too lean- for best flavor)
1 large organic free-range egg
1/3 cup plain rice milk
3 pieces of gluten-free bread
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

For topping:
1/2 cup chopped salted pecans


Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a 9-inch ceramic or glass loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey with the egg and rice milk.

Process the gluten-free bread into crumbs. Add them to the turkey mixture.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper. Mix to incorporate all your seasonings.

Scoop the turkey mixture into the loaf pan and use the back of a spoon to press it into a loaf shape.

Sprinkle with chopped pecans and press them into the top.

Bake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes, until done (internal temp. should be 165ºF).

Let the loaf rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.


This is a gluten-free dairy-free soy-free recipe.

Leftover loaf makes fabulous sandwiches.

If you prefer using regular milk, it will work in this recipe.

To be nut-free, skip the pecan crust.

Makes one two-pound loaf.

Recipe Source:

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Karina's Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf with Sundried Tomatoes and Pecan Crust
Cooking light and flavorful.


More gluten-free meatloaf recipes from bloggers:

Lydia's Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf at Perfect Pantry
Katrina's Ground Turkey with Apricots and Sage

xox Karina


  1. Looks wonderful, Karina!

  2. Love the idea of that pecan crust! Thanks for linking to my recipe.

  3. Pardon the novice question, do we line the whole pan with parchment paper or just the bottom? I need to know cause I can't wait to try it with my sun-dried tomatoes from last year's garden!

  4. Oh yes indeed, this sounds amazing. And I always love to read your writing.

  5. Can this be made without the egg?

    1. Nichelle there is an egg substitute powder called "no egg"available in the supermarket. U need it 2 bind the ingredients


  6. Wow! That looks fantastic! The pecans add such a nice touch. I still have dried tomatoes from last year that need to be used up! :)

  7. Welcome back to the real you. I hope you enjoy yourself.
    London, UK

  8. Looks delicious!! I love turkey meatloaf and make a delicious one with my own homemade barbecue sauce. I'm going to to test out the idea of a crust though!

  9. I think that is the most beautiful meatloaf I have ever seen!

  10. Anonymous17:04

    As yummy as the turkey meatloaf looks, I thought your story was lovely. Have you published other than this site? I think you have wonderful potential as an author. Can't wait to read on. Thank you.

  11. Wow Karina - I just love the way you write and I'm really looking forward to part 2.
    Would it startle you to know that I come here to read your stories - rather than your recipes?
    You have given me an awful lot to think about these last few weeks, and I thank you.

  12. How much is the gluten free bread once processed if I wanted to substitute gf breadcrumbs instead in cups?

  13. Anonymous08:26


    You are a natural story teller, can't wait to hear what happens next!

  14. ooh yum, Have you any suggestions for tomato substitutes? Sadly I have to avoid the delicious tomato and now I have to limit dried fruit. hmm maybe tinned mango would be OK.

  15. Oh yumm...I can always count on a bit of inspiration from you whenever I am feeling in a cooking rut. Thanks!

  16. The Cape Cod school bus morning, the wonderful boys, complete with asters and Queen Anne's lace touhed my soul and I read this post right after I returned from seeing granddaughter, Samantha, off on the big yellow bus on the way to her first day of Kindergarten in Harwich!! beautiful, as always, K.
    Love, M

  17. Thanks for the place I turn to for fantastic gluten free recipes!
    With 54 allergies, I can still adjust so many to suit my needs!
    Thanks Karina!


  18. Thanks Karina for being my go to place for gluten-free recipes that despite 54 allergies, I can almost always substitute ingredients and come up with something yummy!


  19. Beautiful words, delicious-looking recipe.

    Thank you for the beauty you continue to give here. I've been reading for years.

  20. Could you use regular milk insted of the rice milk

  21. Thank you all for your kind words. They sustain me. xox Karina

  22. Made this tonight, It was my first official Gluten Free dinner since I did a life change to help my body! It was fantastic, needed a little more moisture but it was delicious!! I love this blog! It has helped me plan and give me ideas and make it so much easier for me to do this life change!


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Wishing you a delicious and beautiful day!

Karina - Gluten-Free Goddess xox