Poor meatloaf. I think meatloaf tends to get a bad rap, but I will always have a soft spot for it because it was the first dish I ever made for Apolinaras. I was a baby of 22 and just starting to get comfortable in the kitchen when I invited him over for dinner. We’d only been dating for a few weeks, but he had actually already cooked for me and made a lovely bacon wrapped chicken, which only made me a bit more nervous about my own culinary skills. I decided on meatloaf and roasted potatoes with green beans because it was cold out and I was craving something comforting. Even though I was living in grad student housing and had a very small kitchen with maybe 3 feet of counter space, I managed to get the meatloaf in the oven in plenty of time, only to make a frantic phone call to my mom half an hour later because I thought I had burned the onions (don’t worry, they were actually just caramelized!). Much to my relief, everything somehow came out perfectly and Apolinaras was hooked – he still requests meatloaf often to this day!
I’ve experimented with various versions over the years and this is my favorite. It’s very moist and flavorful because it’s packed with cooked veggies and sun dried tomatoes. No sauce is needed – it is absolutely perfect on its own!
Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Meatloaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 large egg
1/4 cup crushed croutons
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and sauté carrots for 5 minutes. Add shallots and pepper and sauté 5 more minutes or until veggies are soft. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute.
Mix cooked veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, ground turkey, egg, crushed croutons, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, and salt in a large bowl with hands until well combined. Form meat into a loaf and place in a greased pan. Bake meatloaf at 350˚F for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 262 calories, 4.0g fat, 2.0g fiber, 27.7g protein per serving
Cost: $1.30 per serving