Meatloaf = Meh.
I know. As they say in these parts, “them’s fightin’ words!” But for the longest time, meatloaf did equal “meh” to me. A big mass of meat, usually dry and covered with ketchup. Naturally that wasn’t really what was going on with the meatloaf presented to me, but that’s how I felt about it…like I’d really so much rather have a burger!
Then a few years ago I tasted an amazing turkey meatloaf at a local restaurant. It was moist and flavorful, had lots of veggies, oats and sun-dried tomatoes in it, and was served with a mushroom gravy and mashed redskin potatoes. How could you NOT like that? But the main thing was, it turned my head around about the potential of a meatloaf. I decided then and there that I should revisit my thoughts on meatloaf and give it a fair shake. Since then, I’ve had some fabulous sandwiches and plates—and some equally not-so-fabulous ones. I’ve experimented making meatloaf at home, too, such as the beef and pork variety, the all-beef and the all-turkey…with varying degrees of success, like and love. But my most recent fave is this Herbed and Veggied Turkey Meatloaf that I’m very enthusiastic about for a number of reasons.
First and second…this turkey meatloaf tastes great and it’s healthy. While I’m a true fan of making food healthy whenever possible, I’m not interested if it doesn’t taste really good, and therefore I won’t use a non-fat product that was intended to have some fat in it and is consequently sub par in taste and texture. As a result, you’ll find throughout this blog recipes that are a good mix of the healthy, and a healthy dose of the decadent. This turkey meatloaf falls mostly into the former category, but dips just a teensy little bit into the latter one, too, simply from the richness of taste. And here are five more reasons I really love it:
It’s moist and flavorful.
It’s full-bodied and dense.
It’s practically a meal unto itself.
It makes a mean meatloaf sandwich.
It’s actually as delicious cold as it is hot, and it gets two thumbs up from my meatloaf-loving husband! (Okay, that’s six reasons.)
This recipe was adapted from one I saw in the magazine Southern Living and I just fell in love with it. We enjoyed this with some of BAM’s Kitchen’s bashed potatoes, which are pretty awesome and you need to check those out in her flank steak, spinach and potato post right here. Because I was having a turkey meatloaf, I decided to forego the bacon in BAM’s recipe just this once, and I substituted olive oil with a touch of butter instead, along with more onion and some rosemary for my herbs. All I can say is…these two dishes were made for each other!
So now I’m a bona fide meatloaf convert, and one who is really looking forward to tonight’s meatloaf sandwich! I’ll make mine the traditional way with marinara, mozzarella and good bread, but you can see a delicious-sounding gourmet version for some inspiration at Karen’s Backroad Journal blog right here.
‘Tis the season for meatloaf, and I do hope you’ll give this one a try!
Herbed and Veggied Turkey Meatloaf
(Adapted from Southern Living Magazine)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil, divided
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of your favorite herbed pasta or marinara sauce, divided (homemade is even better!)
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
12 ounces of fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 Tablespoon each of fresh parsley, thyme and oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons of Italian pasta seasoning (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Optional additional pasta or marinara sauce for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, then dab a tiny bit of it onto a clean paper towel to grease an 8 x 11 inch casserole dish and set the dish aside. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and add in the raw spinach. Cook the spinach until it is well wilted and just tender. Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing to release the liquid and set aside. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots to the mixture and saute an additional 3 or 4 minutes until the onion is tender. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, the spinach, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, the turkey, oats, chopped herbs, Italian pasta seasoning, salt, pepper and egg. Mix well with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated evenly. Shape the mixture into a 5 x 10 inch loaf and place it into the greased casserole dish. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of pasta or marinara sauce over the top of the loaf and bake another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into 8 portions and serve, passing additional pasta sauce if desired. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3 days.