Bobotie: South African Meatloaf



Bobotie is a a dish with strong historical roots in South Africa. Immediately upon spotting it in Saveur Magazine, I was drawn to its interesting flavor combinations, particularly from all the various spices, dried fruits, and almonds. While it’s traditionally made with lamb and beef, I used lean ground turkey to lighten it up a bit (I also don’t eat lamb and beef, so that was also a major reason!). It stayed wonderfully moist and flavorful and the dried fruit added a nice subtle sweet note.

Despite the long list of ingredients, this recipe is fairly quick and easy to make–don’t be intimidated! Most of the ingredients are just spices. I highly recommend going to a store that sells spices in bulk bins, so you don’t have to buy a new bottle for each of spice. It’s a great way to save money and space.

Although this recipe is seemingly exotic, I was surprised by how comforting and subtle it tasted. You definitely don’t have to be a huge adventurous eater to like this. So give it a try!


Adapted from Saveur Magazine
Serves 4

  • 1 packet black tea (I used English Breakfast)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots (about 5)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (optional–I didn’t use this, but I think it’d be a nice addition and would use it next time)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350. Steep tea packet in 1 cup boiling water. While waiting for the tea to steep, chop dried apricots. Then add in the apricots and raisins into the tea to soak for 30 minutes or so. Make sure to reserve soaking liquid.

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and onion and saute for about 5-10 minutes, until the onion is nicely browned. Add in all the spices (turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, pepper, salt) and stir in to fully incorporate.

Add in vinegar, apricots and raisins, and 1/3 cup of the soaking tea liquid. Continue to saute until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add in turkey. Mix well.

Spray a loaf pan with oil. Add in turkey mixture. Top with sliced almonds and put in oven until the turkey is fully cooked, about 40 minutes.


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