Well, this post was supposed to be a salad recipe, but my husband decided to take my camera on a day trip to Mt. Hood with the kids, so I can't shoot any photos of it! Arghhh! Well, lucky that I already have some pics of the lovely Italian turkey meatloaf that I made yesterday- I *might* forgive him in the next week (or 2)!
I love meatloaf- grew up with it, probably ate it at least once a week for many years. However, in this day and age, I don't cook with ground beef too much- I have substituted ground turkey or chicken for a lot of dishes that I once made with ground beef. Meatloaf, though, has been an exception....it has been difficult to make a turkey meatloaf that meets the standards of a regular beef one in terms of not only flavor, but also texture. Recently, I was browsing the Foodgawker site, and happend to see a turkey meatball recipe that caught my eye, because it contained ricotta cheese. The recipe promised a moist, tender texture to the meatballs, so I figured, why not try it with meatloaf? The verdict: GREAT idea! It really helps the turkey to retain moisture and tenderness, without compromising the stability of the meat. I will definitely use this again!
This is kind of a standard meatloaf recipe, other than the fact that it uses ground turkey instead of ground beef. I used 93% lean ground turkey, rather than the ground turkey breast (which is 99 % lean) because, well, this is meatloaf. It needs some fat. I went with an Italian theme, because as previously noted, I have lots of zucchini to get rid of, and this was a good use of it. And honestly, you don't even notice it in this dish. I have made Italian meatloaves before, and usually in those, I use jarred spagetti sauce in place of ketchup. Here, instead, I used tomato paste, along with the usual Italian spices, to balance the moisture brought by the ricotta. You only want to go so far with moisture in a meatloaf- otherwise, you have meatmush. This produces a tender, moist, flavorful, and light meatloaf. You can always play with the herbs and spices to change it up a bit, if you want.
Serves about 8
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package ground lean turkey (93% lean)
1 zucchini, shredded, pressed through a strainer/colander to remove water
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup jarred spaghetti sauce
1. Sautee onion in 1 tbsp. vegetable oil until soft.
2. Place ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add zucchini, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmsean, onion (cooled), and egg, and mix to incorporate. Add seasonings, tomato paste, and bread crumbs and mix well.
3. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place meat mixture on sheet and form into a loaf.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 180 degrees at deepest point.
5. Pour spaghetti sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Bake for additional 5-10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool. Slice and serve.