Greek Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta

FetaMeatloafSpinach

Tangy, garlicky, and savory—this Greek meatloaf gets flavor boosts from spinach, feta and pomegranate molasses, a common ingredient in Mediterranean food.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

I love my mom’s meatloaf, made with breadcrumbs, egg, and the token veggies of carrots and onions. And of course ketchup on top.

But every once in a while I need a change. This Greek version is made with sautéed fresh spinach, zesty feta cheese, and ground beef. It doesn’t stray too far from classic meatloaf, but the spinach and feta, plus a touch of both ground coriander and cinnamon, make a world of difference.

Keeping with the Mediterranean theme, I topped the loaf with a pomegranate molasses glaze and brightened it with some chopped parsley and pistachios to transform a tasty but—let’s be honest here—drab-looking loaf into something enticing.

Homemade Meatloaf Recipe

GARLICKY GREENS ADD FLAVOR!

When you make the garlicky spinach, start by combining the garlic with the oil in a cold pan (instead of heating the oil first). Set the pan with over the heat, and when it starts to sizzle, stir it for about 30 seconds so it infuses the oil but doesn’t brown or burn when you add other ingredients to the pan. (I use this method when I make tomato sauce, too.)

Next, add the spinach and stir it until it wilts and is just barely cooked—this maintains its freshness.

A NOTE ABOUT THE FETA 

For this recipe, avoid the packages of pre-crumbled feta. Buy the cheese in a block and cut it into chunks yourself so they stay in small pieces. Gently mix them into the meat after all of the other ingredients are combined so the cubes don’t crumble too much.

You’ll love taking a bite and finding little nuggets of cheese.

WHAT IS POMEGRANATE MOLASSES?

Thick pomegranate molasses is common in Middle Eastern cooking. Its sweet and sour flavors—quite sour—really perk up meats or chicken, and add pizzazz to stews and even drinks.

It’s made from, you guessed it, pomegranate juice that is cooked down to a thickness similar to cane sugar molasses and it is often a deep reddish-brown color. If you feel like making it yourself, try Elise’s recipe!

You can also buy this ingredient fairly easily at most large supermarkets, some mom-and-pop style Middle Eastern/Mediterranean grocers, and most certainly online.

But if you don’t have pomegranate molasses and want to wing it for this recipe, you make a quick substitute for the topping using 1/4 cup ketchup, 4 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of sugar for the glaze.

Greek Meatloaf Recipe

REST THE MEATLOAF BEFORE SLICING

If I had my druthers, I would probably only eat meatloaf the day after cooking it as opposed to the day it’s made. The slices are much more appealing when the loaf has been chilled and firmly set.

But who can wait that long?!

Give the baked meatloaf a rest for at least 15 minutes to let it settle before slicing with a thin, sharp knife. The loaf has a coarse texture that will be somewhat crumbly unless you slice it after it cools, in which case it will firm up and become easier to slice.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATLOAF

A green veggie and mashed potatoes are the classic accompaniment for meatloaf, and they work well with this recipe too. Try these recipes!

HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE MEATLOAF

Don’t forget to squirrel away the leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches! Meatloaf, well-wrapped in plastic, will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

If you want to freeze it, set the remainder of the cooled loaf (or if you prefer, a whole, cooked, cooled unglazed loaf) on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap it whole or cut it into thick slices and wedge small pieces of parchment paper between the slices. Pull the sides of the wrap over the loaf to enclose it well, and wrap it again in foil.

Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake in a 350ºF oven until hot all the way through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT MEATLOAF RECIPES?

Greek Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Resting time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the meatloaf mixture:

  • Vegetable oil spray (for the pan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 packed cups (5 ounces) baby spinach leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 pound block of feta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish)

Special equipment:

  • 9-by-5-inch loaf pan
  • Rimmed baking sheet

Method

1 Preheat the oven: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.

2 Cook the spinach and garlic: In a large pan, combine the oil and garlic. Set the pan over medium heat. When the garlic sizzles, cook and stir it for 30 seconds.

Add the spinach to the pan, and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it wilts. Let cool.

Homemade Meatloaf Recipe cook the spinach and garlicHomemade Meatloaf Recipe

3 Make the meatloaf mixture: In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, panko, cinnamon, coriander, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Stir in the parsley and the cooked spinach.

Add the beef and stir until combined. Add the feta cubes and stir gently to keep the cubes in large pieces.

Meatloaf with Feta stir the spinach and spices into meatloaf Greek Meatloaf Recipe add the feta

4 Make the glaze for the meatloaf: In a small bowl, mix the ketchup and pomegranate molasses.

5 Bake the meatloaf: Transfer the meat mixture to the loaf pan and smooth the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour the glaze over the top of the meatloaf. Return and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160ºF when inserted into the center of the loaf. Continue baking for a few more minutes if the meatloaf is not quite done.

Ground Beef Meatloaf transfer to the pan Meatloaf with Spinach bake the meatloaf

6 Cool the meatloaf: Let the meatloaf cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Run the side of a knife around the edge of the pan.

Carefully lift the meatloaf from the pan with a thin spatula and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and parsley over the top.

6 Serve: Slice and serve with a green vegetable and baked potatoes, if you like. Leftover will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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One Comment

No ImageGreek Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Marta Rivera

    One of the tastiest variations on the classic meatloaf that I’ve had. I’m adding this to my regular meal plans for sure! I served mine with garlic mashed potatoes and a garden salad with a homemade Greek vinaigrette.

    xxxxxyyyyy

Ground Beef MeatloafGreek Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta