I like to think of myself as the master of turkey meatloaf. My loaves are never dry or flavorless, instead they are bouncy and filled with a rich herbaceousness brought about by fresh oregano and rosemary. Healthy? You bet. But you wouldn’t know it. I often riff on the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe with a bit of Real Simple thrown in. Usually, it’s a classic preparation that starts with mirepoix and tomato paste. It never fails and though there’s lots of prepping and chopping involved, plus an hour of baking, turkey meatloaf is always easy. And it gets better with age.
This week however, a New York Times recipe piqued my interest: Meatloaf with Moroccan Spices. This one, made with lamb, felt like a necessary addition to my repertoire. Cumin, lamb, lemon, of course it would be delicious. But I would try it with turkey, add more spices, plus kalamata olives and lemon rind.
Credit goes to my boyfriend for making it into a killer sandwich the next day: spread a tablespoon of labneh (bonus points in there’s a pinch of zaatar mixed in) and a teaspoon of harissa on a slice of crusty bread. Thinly slice the meatloaf, then add sliced pickles for heaven.
Moroccan Spiced Turkey Meatloaf
Adapted from the New York Times. Serves 6-ish.
1 package ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 medium stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves + 1 tablespoon (reserved for yogurt)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup greek yogurt or labneh
You can make this without a food processor (I did) but it’s extremely helpful if you have one to chop all the vegetables into a fine dice.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in the largest skillet you have over medium heat. Cook the onions for a minute, then add the garlic, celery, carrots, and ginger and cook for 8 minutes so the carrots and celery begin to soften.
2. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper and garam masala and mix to combine. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes. The carrots and onions should be soft but not burned. Remove the hot mixture from the pan into a bowl to cool. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the fridge or an hour on the counter. It should be cool enough to mix with your hands.
3. In another large bowl, mix the cilantro, mint and parsley with the eggs and bread crumbs. Add in the turkey and the cooled vegetable mixture and mix well with your fingers until completely combined.
4. Press the mixture into whatever loaf-resembling pans you have. I ADORE my mini Le Cruset casserole dishes which this mixture filled up perfectly. A 9 x 5’’ loaf is standard.
5. Cook the loaf for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cook for at least ten minutes. Mix 1 tablespoon of the mint into the yogurt or labneh and serve with potatoes.