Here I go again. Overhauling one of Grandma’s classic recipes. I just can’t help myself.
Grandma’s consists of ground beef, a pack of onion soup mix, and a ketchup-brown sugar glaze. I lightened it up, and increased the flavor (sign of the times). Mine has ground turkey, spinach, ricotta, parmesan, onion, garlic, herbs and spices. (I told ya I packed it with flavor!)
Let’s get our ricotta cheese talk out of the way. Got your pen and paper ready? (You’re all smart people. Of course you have your note pad ready when you read my blog!) Ricotta is my latest food obsession. It is creamy and slightly sweet. Wonderful on a piece of toasted baguette, spooned into your favorite pasta dishes, or layered on a pizza. If you’ve never had freshly made/small batch ricotta … the time to remedy that fact is now. Do it! Go to the farmers market. Go to Plum Market. Go to Whole Foods … just do it.
Zucchini noodles (Zoodles) pair perfectly with this lightened-up meatloaf. I use a vegetable spiral slicer or a julienne peeler to make my zoodles. I plan to post a recipe for zucchini noodles soon. For now, this is what I did: Per-person, you will need 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1 spiraled zucchini, 1/2 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp minced onion, salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium heat and saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes until zucchini is tender. Toss with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. Easily multiplied to serve a crowd. Healthy, light, and delicious.
The prefect on-the-fork ratio for this dish was about 75% meatloaf to 25% noodles. So good.
Comfort food on the lighter side. Grandma would be proud.
- 1 pound white meat ground turkey
- 12 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (find it in the deli section of your specialty food store)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 onion, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup whole wheat unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- pinch fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil for finishing
- A batch of Zoodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the turkey, spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix ingredients well. (Note: I like to do this step with my hands.)
Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Roughly form the turkey mixture into a 3 inch thick loaf. Pour the marinara sauce over the loaf and top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cook-time. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with zucchini noodles, extra parmesan cheese and fresh torn basil (Duh!).