Much has been written and shared amongst parents about good ways to get those veggies into the kids’ dinner in the most painless ways possible. I’ve never liked the smuggling zucchini into brownies idea (but I am definitely up for a good loaf of zucchini bread), but I definitely know that burgers and meatloaf and meatballs and Bolognese sauce and other things made with ground beef are excellent vehicles for trafficking vegetables. I don’t like the idea of hiding it, but I also don’t think you necessarily have to announce it loudly either.
However, in this meatloaf, the vegetables are loud and proud, dotting the meatloaf with a pastiche of color. Orange sweet potatoes, yellow corn, red bell pepper, green peas…. to slice into this beauty is to know that this meatloaf has a lot going on. It kind of has a mosaic feel to it.
And guess what? Add a salad, don’t add a salad, add a side vegetable, don’t add a side vegetable—you have fulfilled your blue plate special duty no matter what you decide because there are over 3 cups of finely diced vegetables built right in.
If you wanted to cut the recipe in half and make a smaller meatloaf to feed four, that would be just fine. It would probably cook in about 45 to 50 minutes. I happen to think leftover meatloaf is one of the top ten items that elicit joy when found in the fridge later in the week, so I can’t ever make a just-the-right-size meatloaf. Also, my dog really loves this (*see How to Give a Dog a Pill).
Gorgeous and super healthy, thanks to over 3 cups of diced vegetables built right in.Tweet This
Do let it sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing so it slices cleanly, and you can really get the full impact of the rainbow of produce hidden within.
This makes one big meatloaf, but as any meatloaf-lover can tell you, a just-the-right-size meatloaf is a shame. Leftovers might be the part, whether it’s a slice wedged between two sturdy slices of bread for a sandwich (hot or cold, your choice), or maybe a slab sitting atop a salad of vinaigrette-dressed mixed greens (your own homey version of a country pate).
You could also divide the mixture into two halves, and make 2 meatloaves that would generously serve 4 each.
Whichever route you choose, you might consider mixing up ½ cup of mayonnaise with a teaspoon or two of pureed chipotles in adobo and a squeeze of lime juice to dress up the sandwich, or serve on the side of the meatloaf for dipping.
Other Ground Turkey Recipes:
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Vegetable Studded Turkey Meatloaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup minced shallots
- ¾ cup finely diced sweet potato
- ½ cup finely diced zucchini
- ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- ¾ cup frozen or fresh corn
- ¾ cup frozen or fresh peas
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 pounds ground turkey preferably 85/15 fat ratio
- ½ cup ketchup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sweet potatoes and sauté for 3 minutes, then add the zucchini and red bell pepper and sauté for 2 more minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften slightly. Add the corn, peas and garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, just until the vegetables are all lightly cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the mixture onto a plate and cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, Panko, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, parsley, thyme and Parmesan cheese. Add the cooled vegetable mixture and stir to blend. Add the turkey and mix well (hands are far and away the best tools for this). Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the ketchup over the top and sides of the meatloaf.
- Bake until cooked through, about 50 minutes. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, then slice with a large, sharp knife and serve.
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