When it's brisk outside and only a hefty meal will warm me, meatloaf is one of the first dishes I crave. Now that it's warm out, the demand for meatloaf has waned, and meals are replaced with salads, sandwiches, and light pastas. A shame, if you ask me.
Must we toss the glorious soul-nurturing dish aside until next snowfall, like a piece of… uh, meat? Absolutely not. That is why there are these mini Mediterranean chicken meatloaves.
This recipe transforms traditional meatloaf into a healthier and lighter dish, all the while keeping it satisfying and absolutely delicious. Ground chicken is a nutritious alternative to beef, and the fresh vegetables, herbs, and mozzarella just add flavor.
A trick I learned in the test kitchen at Fine Cooking is to replace breadcrumbs with quick oats. Beyond helping to maintain the loaf's shape, the oats actually moisten the meat, even when using lean ground chicken.
And chimichurri is a fantastic accompaniment. Yes, I know that chimichurri originated in Argentina, which is not the Mediterranean. But after trying countless variations when I lived in Buenos Aires, I couldn't ignore that the bright flavor of my chimichurri — which calls for basil instead of oregano — is the perfect match regardless of its origin.
Note: These loaves go great with mashed potatoes and a simple tomato salad!
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, gently combine all the meatloaf ingredients. The less you handle the mixture, the more tender the loaf — so try using a folding motion. If using mini loaf pans, split the mixture in half and form to each pan. Otherwise, form all of the mixture into an average-sized loaf pan. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the top and sides are golden.
Make the chimichurri by combining all ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth.
Spread the chimichurri over the loaves while they rest in the pan until cool enough to transfer to a plate. Enjoy!
*Feel free to double the chimichurri recipe to have leftovers throughout the week to add onto grilled beef, as the base for dressing or marinade, or simply to spread over artisanal bread.