Thursday, May 7, 2015

Greek Turkey Meatloaf

I didn't eat a ton of meatloaf growing up, but I always liked it when my mom would make it.  Seasoned ground meat with ketchup?  Sure, why not?  As an adult, I am not a meatloaf super-fan or anything, but it certainly has it's place at the dinner table and makes for an easy and healthy dinner that most kids and adults will eat.  Between you and me, the term "meatloaf" doesn't really get my hunger pangs going, but it is the perfect description so I guess we are stuck with it.  My dislike for the name has not stopped me from coming up with different varieties of it.  And I have to say, this one is probably my favorite.  I am obsessed with all Greek food and love the salty bite of the feta cheese and kalamata olives, the sweetness of the roasted red peppers and mint and the freshness that the spinach and parsley give that really make this dish a delight.  I like to use turkey with this recipe because it is so mild and really takes on the flavors well, plus it is lower in fat than beef.  The next time you have some ground turkey and feel like using your hands as kitchen tools, give this recipe a try.

This is what you need:

1-1.5 lbs of Ground Turkey (mine was 1.4 lbs)
1/2 cup of Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Sliced Kalamata Olives (or any olives you have)
1/4 cup diced Roasted Red Peppers
1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
1/2 Onion- diced 
2 cloves of Garlic- minced
1 cup Spinach Leaves
1 Egg
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley -chopped
1 tbsp Mint - chopped
3 tbsp Olive Oil - divided
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Cooking Spray

Optional Toppings:
Tzatziki Sauce

This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Dice the 1/2 onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic and heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent and add 1 cup of spinach to pan and cook until wilted.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, place all of the other ingredients together and add the spinach mixture.  Use hands to mix everything together and get all the ingredients evenly distributed.  Place mixture on the baking sheet and use hands to form it into a brick about 2-3 inches tall and around 8 inches long.  Cook for 45 minutes or until the the internal temperature is 165 degrees.  Let rest for about 5 minutes, slice and serve!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time 45-50 minutes
Total Time: 60-65 minutes
Serves: 4

First thing to do is preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grab a baking sheet, line it with foil and generously spray with cooking spray.

Next, dice the half onion and mince 2 garlic cloves.  Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a pan and saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add 1 cup of spinach and continues sauteing until wilted.  Remove from pan and set aside to slightly cool.
 I always add the onions first, then the garlic about a minute later, just to be sure the garlic doesn't burn.
Cooking the onions, garlic and spinach first will help keep the meatloaf nice and juicy.

Next, chop 1/4 cup each of roasted red peppers and kalamata olives.  If you do not have roasted red peppers, you can use a regular bell pepper and just saute it with the onions and garlic.  If you do not have kalamata olives, any kind will do. 

Now chop your 1/4 cup parsley and 1 tbsp mint.  The fresh herbs really make this dish taste so wonderful, but if you do not have them, 1 tbsp dried parsley is fine and you can skip the mint.

Now get a large bowl and add the ground turkey meat, the fresh herbs, the olives and roasted red peppers, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, 1/2 tsp each of Salt and Pepper, 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes if using and the onion, garlic and spinach mixture.  Use your hands to mix well and distribute everything evenly, but don't over-mix.  
After it is mixed, take it out of the bowl and place right onto the baking sheet.  Then form it into a loaf about 2-3 inches tall and 8 inches long, give or take.
Seriously, this is really easy and kind of fun.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. 
 Don't let the pan fool you, this is perfectly cooked, but it is the reason why foil is an absolute necessity when baking this.
See, once it is on a plate it looks beautiful. 

Sprinkle with a bit more parsley, slice and serve.  This is fantastic just like this or with Tzatziki sauce, which is a Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce you can find in nearly every store.

The flavors are fantastic and vibrant and really elevate the classic meatloaf recipe.  Give this one a try and let me know what you think!