A Lighter, Spicier Take on (Turkey) Meatloaf

While watching t.v. on vacation last week, I saw an advertisement for this meatloaf rack that’s meant to save your meatloaves from soggy doom. I get a kick out of all of the different gadgets shown on infomercials these days – do we really need this much stuff? And are our meatloaves really in grave danger of being ruined by being cooked in a regular pan? I’m no meatloaf connoisseur – I never really ate it as a kid and don’t find the occasion to cook it now – but surely we can make due with the tools we have.

The one fruitful thing that came out of seeing that infomercial (aside from briefly amusing me) was a reminder of this meatloaf I did make for myself last semester. I used ground turkey and played with the flavors and ingredients, turning it into an incredible, low-carb version of an American classic. This is not your mother’s meatloaf, to be sure. It’s zesty and full of flavor from the curry powder, and the vegetable topping (as opposed to essentially pureeing them into the meatloaf as more traditional recipes instruct) gives it a really nice edge. Without a side dish or salad, this isn’t the most filling dish and I wound up eating double what I had intended when I started out making it, so I would recommend either a side dish or turning this into a sandwich (meatloaf burgers, anyone?), something like that to up the calories to a more filling level. I used cheese as a topping but thing that a yogurt sauce would be an even healthier, delicious way to balance out the mild spice that you get from the seasonings and veggies.

Curried Turkey & Vegetable Meatloaf, adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments
Yield: 2-4 servings

The Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, half seeded
½ fresh tomato, coarsely chopped
½ small onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ pound ground turkey breast
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons  dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon lemon peel
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
dash red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups loosely packed spinach
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese*

The Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish. Heat the oil, mushrooms, jalapeno, ¼ onion, and ¼ green pepper in a skillet over medium heat. Saute until softened, approximately 8 minutes. Add the tomato in for the last minute or two.

Meanwhile, mix the rest of the onion, green pepper, garlic, turkey, parmesan, tomato paste, egg, and herbs & spices in a medium mixing bowl. Press the turkey mixture into the prepared pan and top with the sautéed vegetables and fresh spinach. Sprinkle with cheese, cover with foil, and place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes to give the juices time to be reabsorbed into the meatloaf.

*If you’d rather try a yogurt sauce, check out the one I made alongside this Tofu Stir Fry – it’s nutty and even a little smoky, and think that it would pair well with the flavors in this meatloaf. For the recipe, simply omit the cheese and either add the yogurt sauce on after the meatloaf finishes cooking or only for the last minute or so in the oven – don’t cook it the full time.


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