Here's a tricky conundrum - how do you make a protein and vegetable packed "meatloaf" without using eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, cheese and tomato paste? Rest assured! It CAN BE DONE!
I needed new ideas and versions of foods that I love - making chicken, grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, etc, no problem. Turkey breast? Sure. Lamb - working on it. Cold water fish - shopping for wild caught. But meatloaf? I know how to make it lighter, healthier, vegetable packed, hearty and well-seasoned, but I wasn't sure about omitting the breadcrumbs or oatmeal, the tomato paste and the binding eggs.
Might as well give it a try. My new version, lighter, healthier, gluten free, egg free and loaded with flavor works. I swapped out the binding agents for Flax seed Meal - reconstituted with water to be the egg substitute, and used it dry to be my breadcrumb binder. To replace the tomato - paste/ketchup/sauce/bbq sauce options I used to use, I used a lot of seasonings. In the pantry there was a container of salt-free all purpose seasoning, full of good flavors - a kitchen sink of herbs and spices. BAM! It worked.
To substitute the barbecue or tomato sauces I usually use with meatloaf after it's been cooked, I made a vegan pesto sauce - another hit! Both of my revised recipes are easy and pull together with only a few pieces of kitchen gear - bowls, a blender or "Magic Bullet" blender; box grater; loaf pan; spatula or spoons.
Turkey Vegetable Meatloaf Ingredients:
- 2 Medium Carrots - peeled, scrubbed and finely grated
- 2 Medium Zucchini/Yellow Squash - cleaned and coarsely grated
- 1 Small-Medium Onion - peeled & small dice
- 3 Scallions - cleaned. Use whites and light greens only - finely minced
- 3 Small-Medium Garlic Cloves - minced
- 1/4 cup All-Purpose Seasoning - salt free. You can use a good Italian Blend or whatever you prefer that is a multi-herb seasoning blend
- 1/3 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup and 1 Tablespoon Flax seed - divided
- 1 Pound Ground Light Turkey - Kosher or Organic Preferred
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a measuring cup, add in 1/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal, stir to combine and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Clean and grate the carrots and zucchini/squash; put them into a large mixing bowl.
- Dice the onions and mince the scallions and garlic. Add to the bowl.
- Add in the ground turkey and 1/4 seasonings, and the 1/2 cup of flax seed meal. Add in the reconstituted flax seed meal - which will become your egg substitute. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and several grinds of fresh cracked black pepper.
- Stir/fold the mixture to distribute the vegetables and seasonings thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, add in more dried flax seed meal, a tablespoon at a time.
- To taste the mixture to see if it's seasoned enough, pan fried a bit and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.
- Put the mixture into the loaf pan and place the pan onto a sheet tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes, then check the internal temperature of the meatloaf - it should read 165 degrees on a thermometer.
- Once the meatloaf is 165 degrees, turn the oven off and then allow the meatloaf to cool and finish cooking in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and cool on a rack, in the loaf pan. Once the meatloaf is fully cooled, cover and refrigerate.
The meatloaf will be best the day after it's cooked. I enjoyed it reheated/fried in a small pan, with a bit of olive oil. Since I can't eat tomatoes, I enjoyed my meatloaf with a bit of cheese-free pesto made with basil, mint, almonds, salt, pepper, roasted garlic, olive oil and dry mustard powder. I'll post that recipe in a few days!