Baby Spinach Leaves Make For The Perfect Meatloaf Stuffer

A popular American comfort food, with a long, rich history, meatloaf is an easy and delicious dish that can be kept simple and classic, or be spruced up, adding new flavors, textural elements, and cuisine inspirations. One such twist is the addition of spinach. Tender and flavorful, baby spinach leaves are a perfect stuffer for meatloaf, adding extra nutrients (potassium, vitamin K, and lutein), fiber, and flavor. Baby spinach is harvested sooner than mature spinach leaves, and has a sweeter taste with softer stems. As well as adding another dimension to a meatloaf's flavor profile, spinach adds a velvety texture and a vibrant pop of color.

Easy to incorporate, baby spinach pairs harmoniously with ground meats such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and veal — all of which can be used singularly or in any combination in your favorite meatloaf recipe. Spinach works well with the tomato sauce or paste that so often accompanies meatloaf, and just like tomato sauce, the moisture in spinach helps to keep your meatloaf from getting dry, which is the last thing anyone wants. It's also ideal for helping you do the one thing meatloaf was designed to do — stretch your dollar further — by bulking up the final product with complex flavors, and reserving your meaty resources.

How to stuff your meatloaf with baby spinach

Stuffing your meatloaf with spinach is super easy and can be done a couple of different ways. Both fresh and chopped frozen spinach work equally well, so use whichever you prefer. If you want to infuse a little extra flavor in your spinach, saute it in butter first, like in Andrew Zimmern's go-to meatloaf. Once cooked, mix the spinach into your meatloaf alongside breadcrumbs, egg, seasoning, and any other ingredients. If you're using frozen chopped spinach, thaw it ahead of time and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Opting for fresh? Be sure to wash it and cut it into chiffonade (thin strips) before adding it to your meatloaf. The addition of spinach offers many opportunities to play with flavors. Start with the classic Italian breadcrumb, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomato sauce version, or try a lamb and ground beef concoction that features oregano, garlic, mint, and feta alongside the spinach for a mouthwatering Greek take. A truly stuffed meatloaf can be made by spreading the raw ground meat of your choice into a large rectangle and covering it in a sauteed mix of finely chopped mushrooms, onions, garlic, spinach, breadcrumbs, and parmesan, before rolling it up and popping it the oven. The result is a tasty-to-eat, beautiful-to-serve, truly unforgettable meatloaf roulade. Just play; experiment with your favorite ingredients and flavors to create a spinach-filled meatloaf that will tempt your tastebuds. Any way you make it, it's sure to be fire.