Leaner loaf is full of veggies

January 03, 2007|By Jill Wendholt Silva | Jill Wendholt Silva,McClatchy-Tribune

Think of meatloaf as an edible time capsule.

A simple mixture of ground meat and seasonings bound with eggs and bread crumbs, meatloaf has the ability to transport taste buds to another time and place.

To Mom's kitchen, where fat slabs are doused with ketchup.

To the all-night diner, where it stars on the weekly blue-plate special.

To the froufrou restaurant, where well-heeled diners clamor for a glamorous truffled version of what was once considered working-class fare.

Meatloaf changes with the times because its list of ingredients is highly elastic: The cook can easily stretch the meat with filler or embellish it with exotic ingredients.

And that flexibility is good news for anyone who can't bear to give up a sentimental favorite just because traditional versions are frequently loaded with fat, cholesterol and calories.

Our recipe for Vegetable-Stuffed Meatloaf combines lean ground beef and turkey with a vegetable medley. (Anyone remember the Knorr instant vegetable soup mix meatloaf recipe?)

The mixture is bound with egg whites to cut cholesterol and rolled oats, which offer the benefit of a whole grain. Unlike ketchup, the tomato juice and balsamic vinegar used to baste the meatloaf do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient health experts point to as a major contributor to the nation's obesity crisis.

Cooking tip: To evenly distribute the mixture of carrots, mushrooms and zucchini in this meatloaf, we roll it up before cooking. When sliced, the colorful spirals make for an attractive presentation.

Vegetable-Stuffed Meatloaf

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1 1/2 cups low-sodium tomato juice (divided use)

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (divided use)

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/2 pound ground turkey breast

3/4 pound ground round (85 percent lean)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup rolled quick-cooking oats

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine carrots, mushrooms and zucchini in small saucepan. Stir in 1/2 cup tomato juice and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Uncover and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of juice has cooked away. (Watch carefully so it doesn't cook dry or scorch). Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.

Spray a broiler pan with nonstick spray coating.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine ground meats, 1/2 cup tomato juice, onion, oats, egg whites, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; stir well. Spoon meat mixture onto a sheet of wax paper and press lightly into a 9-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Spoon vegetable mixture over meat.

Use wax paper to gently roll meat, jellyroll fashion, forming a loaf about 10 inches by 4 inches. Transfer to prepared pan and place loaf seam side down. Bake at 375 degrees 50 minutes.

Cook remaining 1/2 cup tomato juice in small, uncovered saucepan 5 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Brush tomato-juice mixture over meatloaf.

Continue baking meatloaf about 10 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees and meat is no longer pink inside.

Allow to stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Per serving: 248 calories, 13 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrate, 22 grams protein, 177 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber

Recipe and analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.

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