When I think of comfort food, I don’t necessarily think of meatloaf. The first thing that comes to mind is soup (or stew, or chili – anything of the broth-based variety). Next come casseroles and lasagnes. Meatloaf probably rates a distant third in my comfort food line-up. And yet, I love meatloaf and every time I have it, I wonder why I don’t have it more often. It’s an easy meal to throw together, and it’s wonderfully versatile. You can spice it up with any number of flavourings, you can dress it up with toppings and sauces. It gets a bit of a bad rap because everyone has had bad, dry, flavourless meatloaf at some point, but it shouldn’t be relegated to “only choke down under grandma’s watchful gaze” pile. It’s easy to make good meatloaf, and good meatloaf is delicious.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were kicking around ideas for dinner. As he had just come home from our local wholesale club with a large tub of feta cheese and a big package of ground turkey, I was focussing on those two ingredients. We wanted something easy to put together, and the idea of a greek-inspired meatloaf just came to me. My husband is a true lover of feta cheese, and his biggest concern was that the flavour of the cheese not get lost in the rest of the meatloaf. So I decided to pack it into the middle of the loaf, so as to get a concentrated area of feta-ness. Spinach and feta go so well together, I thought I might mix frozen spinach right into the meatloaf base. And to top it all off, a wonderful garlicky tzatziki yogurt sauce.
To keep it low carb, I skipped the bread crumbs and used almond meal to help bind the meatloaf and keep it moist. I loosely (very loosely) followed a recipe for turkey meatloaf from Ina Garten just to get my proportions right. Other than that, this meatloaf was purely my invention.
The Results: This was a really good, interesting take on meatloaf. The flavours of the feta and tzatziki were a wonderful addition to this comfort-food dish and I would happily make it again. I would make one change, though, and that would be to add some gyro spices or seasoning to the basic mix. The meatloaf derived most of its flavour from the feta and tzatziki sauce, and I think some seasoning that was reminiscent of gyros would enhance the dish even more.
I didn’t label this recipe gluten free because I am not certain if Worcestershire sauce has any gluten. If you want to make it gluten free, skip the sauce or find a brand of steak sauce that contains no gluten.
Feta-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf with Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 medium cucumber, cut in half longwise and thinly sliced
1 tsp chopped, fresh dill
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the sauce, mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and chill until serving.
For the meatloaf, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, salt and pepper and saute until onions are translucent but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add in spinach and stir until heated through.
In a large mixing bowl, combine onion mixture, turkey, almond meal, chicken stock, eggs and worcestershire sauce. Mix until very well combined.
Place half of the turkey mixture on prepared baking sheet and shape into a flat rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Cover with feta cheese, pressing on feta to adhere to meatloaf. Place remaining turkey mixture overtop of feta and shape the whole thing into a rough loaf.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until internatl temperature reaches 160F on an instant read thermometer.
Cut into slices and drizzle with tzatziki sauce, passing remaining sauce at the table.