Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze

Sometimes you just want simple comfort food.  Sometimes you just want to sneak veggies into unsuspecting family members.  Well, why not both?

This recipe really doesn't sneak in the veggies ... 

... unless you eat in the dark ...

... and the family members have colds and can't taste the food they can't see ...

YoungerSon did pick out all the tiny pieces of red pepper and zucchini.  But theHubby ate his meatloaf all gone, INCLUDING said red pepper and zucchini!  And he normally HATES red pepper and zucchini!  So there is something to be said about this recipe.

The original recipe included green pepper along with the red pepper.  But even I don't like green pepper except in salads, so it was omitted.  You can add a 1/2 green pepper if you like.  I certainly won't stop you.

There is no onion in the original recipe.  Meatloaf really tastes better with onion.  I was going to add onion.  Even hand-written it on my hard copy.  But despite the glaring hand-written scribble next to the pretty typed instructions, I still missed it.  It's added below.  Don't you miss it, or you'll miss it.

The original used only 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey, and no ground beef.  For 8 servings.  Nuh-uh!  Maybe if I also served soup, salad and dessert (and maybe a nice aperitif afterward as well) it would feed 8 people.  But not my family.  I only wanted to add ground beef one-to-one, but there was a sale on the family-sized package, and I was lazy didn't have time to wrap and freeze the excess so I made a 3 lb. meatloaf.  Which served us tonight, plus leftovers for Monday.  And maybe lunch at work on Tuesday.  And Wednesday. 

Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze
adapted from Bobby Flay, Food Network Magazine
makes 8 servings 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 Tbl. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 lb.  ground turkey
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 cup ketchup, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar, divided

Preheat the oven to 425F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

 When hot, add oil, wait 10 seconds, then add zucchini, bell pepper, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Isn't this pretty? Cook until the vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in parsley and thyme (looks really rocking now), then set mixture aside to cool a bit.

 Place ground meats in large bowl.  Dump in egg, panko, 3/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and somewhat cooled veggies.  Mix until just combined.  Avoid over-handling the mixture to avoid a tough meatloaf (similar to what happens to meatballs when oversquished).

 Um ... where did that nail tip go?  It was there before I started squishing up the meat ... Ha!  Fooled you! It actually broke off when I reached for the skillet earlier and missed.  Hope you weren't too nervous.

Anyway, gently press the mixture into a loaf pan or casserole dish large enough to accommodate meatloaf.  Avoid compressing the mixture (see warning above).

Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl; spoon mixture over the entire loaf. I gently made an indentation with the spoon and poured most of the mixture into it.  Insert temperature probe half-way into meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, or until internal temperature is 160F.

This is what happens when you don't pay attention and the internal temperature shot up to 170F.  The ketchup mixture burned a bit.

Those white parts aren't cheese.  I think it was the fat congealing or something.  Tasted better than it looked ... thank goodness!

Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing, unless you are starving because you underestimated the time involved in making this recipe.  Serve with red potatoes that you tossed into the oven alongside the meatloaf.  They looked burnt as well, but were fine on the inside.