Definitely not your momma’s meat loaf! Spinach Feta Stuffed Turkey Meat Loaf is light and healthy with a side of vegetables right inside!
Happy Meat Loaf Monday!
I returned late yesterday from the AMAZING Everything Food Conference in Salt Lake City where I got to rub elbows, learn from and be inspired by some food blogging and industry GREATS!
I’m a little high on it all right now because, in addition, two other bloggers, Studio Delicious and Carolina Farmhouse Kitchen and I took second place in a quick-fire food styling challenge sponsored by The Food Styling School. Check out our [darn-near] winning entry on Instagram! I would be sooooo grateful if you would also follow me on Instagram!
Now back to meat loaf! This one sure ain’t your momma’s meat loaf!
Meat loaf is considered to be an American invention, however, the concept of combining ground meat with other ingredients and then cooking them together in loaf form goes back centuries. Meat loaf became popular in this country around World War II as a thrifty way to use up ingredients before they spoiled.
Meat loaf is one of my most requested items from clients, however, they request it be more healthful than what they grew up with. This Greek-inspired spinach feta cheese-stuffed turkey meat loaf is certainly that and it’s even dressy enough to prepare for guests.
Frozen chopped spinach is a wonderful convenience item and for this dish, I prefer to use it instead of fresh. When starting with fresh spinach, it’s not always easy to gauge how much you’re going to need because it shrinks so much when cooked. Frozen chopped spinach is already cooked so it’s easier to determine the amount required for a recipe.
Spinach is full of water and although much of the water in frozen spinach has been eliminated, more will result when thawed. You can just squeeze it out with your hands for a good isometric workout, however, the easiest way I have found to squeeze moisture from spinach is with a potato ricer. Place the thawed spinach into the well of the ricer, then squeeze as if ricing potatoes.
Because ground turkey and chicken are typically sold in one-pound packages, that is the amount I used for this recipe. If you can get ground-to-order turkey or chicken and want more protein, feel free to increase the amount. The easiest way to do that is by 1 1/2 times.
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Spinach Feta Stuffed Turkey Meat Loaf is a healthy and creative spin on classic meat loaf.
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes or sun-dried tomato pesto
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (regular, reduced fat or fat-free)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg white
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Transfer 2/3 of the onion to a bowl to cool. Mix in half the garlic.
Add spinach to sauté pan and cook briefly for any remaining moisture to evaporate. Let cool slightly then stir in sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and salt and black pepper to taste. Add egg white and set aside.
To bowl with onions, add whole egg, breadcrumbs, milk, 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, basil, oregano, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and remaining 2 cloves minced garlic and mix well. Mix in ground turkey (or chicken).
Place 2/3 of the meat mixture in the loaf pan, creating a small well down the center. Mound spinach mixture in the well. Top with remaining ground turkey. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees. Top with tomato sauce after 30 minutes, then bake to completion. Let rest 5-8 minutes before slicing.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool thoroughly and wrap tightly. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. Cut into pieces and heat covered in the oven.