Z is for Zucchini

beef and zucchini meatloaf

beef and zucchini meatloaf photo by vsimon

Are you playing ring and run, leaving sacks of zucchini on your neighbor’s porch yet? When they ripen in the garden, it seems like they grow 5 inches a day.

Here is a suggestion. Use grated zucchini in place of breadcrumbs in meatloaf. I routinely use minced veggies to tenderize and moisten meatloaf. Your meatloaf will be half meat and half veggies!

Beef and Zucchini Meatloaf uses zucchini, onion, and mushrooms. Topped with additional sliced zucchini, and glazed with preserves and mustard to make it fancy. Fancy meatloaf, does that sound funny to you too?

You cannot hide the zucchini, nor would you want too. Some kids (and adults) will notice those green specks. But you can hide the mushrooms and onions if you process them fine enough in a food processor.

Choose the leanest meat

The original recipe called for ground turkey and that works well. But I like to use naturally grass-fed beef. Whether you choose beef or turkey, choose the very leanest you can find.

This meatloaf is beyond moist; it is juicy because of all the veggies. And it is low fat, not at all greasy, because of the lean meat.

Increase the vitamin D

This has nothing to do with zucchini. But I cannot resist sharing this every time I get a chance. You can increase the vitamin D in the mushrooms! Unwrap them and put them in the sun for 5 minutes. They make vitamin D when exposed to the sun just like we do. Amazing!

sliced beef and zucchini meatloaf

sliced beef and zucchini meatloaf photo by zsimon

Beef and Zucchini Meat Loaf

Adapted from turkey and zucchini meat loaf at epicurious.com

The glaze gives this dish a sweet and tangy flavor. And the sliced zucchini are so much fancier, and prettier, than plain BBQ sauce.

Serves 4-6

ingredients metric measures
2 medium zucchini, about 10 oz. total 300 gm
1 small onion 150 gm
8 oz mushrooms 240 gm
1/4 cup fresh basil 10 gm
1 pound lean ground beef 480 gm
1 large egg 50 gm
1 teaspoon salt 5 gm
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 gm
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 gm
1/4 cup apricot preserves 60 ml
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard 20 ml

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Process 1 zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and basil in a food processor. If you only have a mini processor, do each veggie individually and add the basil to one. There is no need to rinse the processor in between. Whirl for a few seconds, to get small pieces. If you must, you can even process to a paste, with no identifiable bits.

Put the processed veggies, ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand. Put meat mixture into an 8×4 inch loaf pan, or 4 mini loaf pans. Flatten the meat mixture so the topping will not slide off it while it cooks.

Thinly slice remaining zucchini and layer on top of the meatloaf.

Stir preserves and mustard in small bowl to blend. Spread glaze over top of the sliced zucchini.

Bake meat loaf 45-60 minutes, to an internal temperature of 165. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.

How do you use zucchini?