Combine turkey with colorful vegetables and the result is wonderfully tasty and stunningly attractive, not to mention healthy. This easy-to-prepare dish is perfect for company or a casual dinner and makes great leftovers.
Turkey with dark meat will yield a more succulent dish, but for those who desire the minimum amount of fat, breast meat works well, too. Mixing the turkey meat with bread crumbs and a splash of milk makes it easy to form into a nice loaf. The onion, Italian seasoning, garlic and Parmesan power up the flavor, giving it a decidedly Mediterranean taste.
Parmesan, which is named after Parma, Italy, where it originated, is one of the most widely used and well known hard cheeses. Real Parmesan has a somewhat sharp, nutty flavor that intensifies with age. It is sometimes served as a dessert with fresh figs, walnuts and sweet red wine in Italy. In America, though, it is mainly used for grating on pasta, salads and pizza. When mixed into ground meat, Parmesan cheese adds a nice smooth texture.
What helps set this turkey dish apart, though, are the colorful vegetables. They add texture and nutrition. Best of all, you can use almost any fresh vegetables that are available from your early fall garden, the farmers’ market or your grocer. Of course, as with any good recipe, you can experiment with what you have on hand to create a great seasonal dish. Brushing on a bit of tart berry jelly adds even more appeal and taste.
Although the turkey loaf alone is a hearty offering, you can make a complete meal by adding a tomato basil salad. It’s easy. Simply cut a few fresh tomato wedges, chop up some fresh basil leaves, add finely sliced garlic, and drizzle on a little olive oil with fresh squeezed lemon juice or wine vinegar and toss. You might also add a side of lightly steamed green beans.
Vegetable Stuffed Turkey Loaf
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 large egg, beaten well
- 1/2 cup fine whole-wheat bread crumbs (any whole-grain bread crumbs can be substituted)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup plain soy milk (low-fat regular milk can be substituted)
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, crushed fine
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1½ lbs. ground turkey
- 3 Tbsp. tart berry jelly (currant works well)
- 1 Tbsp. water
- Fresh parsley leaves, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat steam carrot, peppers and broccoli with small amount of water until tender crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In large bowl mix egg, bread crumbs, onion, milk, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine well. Add turkey and mix well.
Lay sheet of wax paper on clean counter. Place turkey mix on paper and pat into 7×11-inch rectangle. Arrange vegetables over turkey 1 inch from edge.
Starting with short width, use wax paper to gently lift turkey mixture edge. Proceed to tightly roll turkey mixture into a loaf, peeling away the paper as you roll. Gently place loaf in greased baking dish.
Bake for about 1¼ hours until internal temperature is 170 degrees. Carefully transfer loaf to serving platter.
In small saucepan over medium heat combine jelly with 1 tablespoon water and warm until melted, mashing currants or berries. Brush top with melted jelly and garnish with parsley, laying leaves flat in 6 diagonal rows. Slice and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 249 calories, 12 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 12 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 183 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
Photo Credit: The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)