I’ve been crushing on spring hard lately. A spell of 40+ degree weather this week nearly had me dragging the patio chairs up from the basement to set on the back deck and lounge in the sun with a glass of white wine.
Just kidding…those chairs are heavy. And dirty.
If you’re not from around here, I realize this sounds a little bit nuts, but when the days are short and cold, and it seems the snow will never melt, us Midwesterners have to grab onto anything we’ve got, and keep our eyes on the prize. After all, 40 degree weather eventually leads to spring break! Planting gardens! Farmers’ Markets! Ice cream season!
Ok let’s be real, every season is ice cream season.
Anyways, this week I went a little wild at the grocery store, stocking up on ingredients I would normally stare wistfully at around this time of year. Tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, and grapes all made it into my cart, regardless of the fact that they’re not in season anywhere within a 500 mile radius. Guess what? I don’t care. This week I needed a fresh fix that no amount of winter root veggies could cure. It really helped lift my mood, actually!
I used some of my booty in today’s recipe for Mini Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaves – coastal cousins of the Mini BBQ Cheddar Meat Loaves I posted a few months ago!
Packed with fresh flavors like parsley, tomato, cucumber, and basil, these mini turkey meatloaves are studded with salty kalamata olives and feta cheese, and slathered with hummus, which helps keep the meatloaves incredibly moist while they bake quickly in a hot oven.
There could not be a better way to prepare lean, ground turkey breast. I’m sure of it! I can’t get over how creamy and, frankly, un-lean they tasted. Healthy, and quick enough to make for a weeknight meal, too!
Start the Mini Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaves by adding 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons hummus to 1lb ground turkey breast. You can use whatever flavor of hummus you like. Bet you didn’t see my choice coming…
Next add 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs and 1/4 cup feta cheese.
FYI – the reason why you’ve seen 3 (!) recipes in a row using feta cheese is because whenever I buy a tub it inevitably sits in the back of the fridge for WEEKS, until I remember it’s in there and scramble to think of how to use it before going bad. Planning several recipes in a week or two that incorporate feta (or any ingredient for that matter) ensures nothing goes to waste!
Now add 1/4 cup kalamata olives cut in half, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. If you’ll notice, most of the ingredients we’ve added so far are FULL of flavor, which will really help liven this turkey meatloaf up.
Few more chop chops – 1/4 cup chopped red onion, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Seasoning time. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and lots of salt and pepper.
Mix the ingredients together with your hands until just combined then divide into 4 parts, shape into loaves, and place onto a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed baking sheet. Slather the tops of each mini meatloaf with 1 Tablespoon hummus then bake for 18-20 minutes at 425 degrees.
K! While the meatloaves are sizzlin’ away in the oven, mix up a super-fresh topping that will bring even more flavor and life to the party. In a bowl combine 1 chopped vine-ripened tomato and 1/2 peeled, seeded & chopped cucumber. Organic tomatoes and cukes actually taste really great.
Next add 4-5 chopped basil leaves. Note: you could use parsley here if you don’t feel like buying parsley AND basil, but dangit do I love that combo of basil, tomato, and cucumber. It’s my refreshing summertime salad staple!
Finish ‘er up with a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper then toss to combine.
Pull the meatloaves out of the oven then let them rest for 5 minutes. Spoon on the tomato topping, and a bit more feta cheese, then dig in!
Mini Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaves
1lb ground turkey breast
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup feta cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons hummus, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper
For the topping:
1/2 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 large vine-ripened tomato, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons fresh chopped basil
juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil then spray well with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, feta cheese, kalamata olives, parsley, red onion, 2 Tablespoons hummus, garlic, dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix until just combined.
- Divide mixture into 4 equal-sized portions then form into loaves and place on prepared baking sheet. Spread 1 Tablespoon remaining hummus over each loaf then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.
- Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients in a bowl. Spoon over cooked meatloaves then serve.
While it’s still a few (ok, several) months away from tomato and cucumber season here in the Midwest, I can’t tell you how sweet it was to have a taste of summer in the dead of winter! Totally worth the out-of-season splurge.
I baked up some Baked Sweet Potato Fries to serve on the side of my Mini Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaves.
All I did was cut the sweet potato into fry-shapes then toss with extra virgin olive oil and some of this seasoning salt.
I popped them into the oven about 10 minutes before adding the meatloaf, flipped ‘em once, and pulled them out when the meatloaf was done. Voila! Perfect in-season side to this bright, fresh meal.