I decided to try a different spin on meatloaf. I still have the box of quinoa from the first time I made meatloaf. It's been sitting in the cupboard daring me to try something with it. Quinoa is such a foreign food to me that I've been afraid to really experiment with it. Although I still enjoyed the regular meatloaf I made something was a little off about it. I realized what was wrong earlier today. You're supposed to cook it first! Silly me, I just threw it into the meatloaf mixture right out of the box. No wonder something wasn't quite right. Live and learn, told you quinoa was foreign to me. So I decided to learn a little bit about it since it seems to be a common food for a gluten free diet.
Did you know that quinoa is like a super food? It is closely related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweed and it is actually the seeds that you cook and eat. The Inca's thought the crop to be sacred and referred to it as the "mother of all grains." It is a high protein grain and has a balanced set of essential amino acids. It is also a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. It is an unusually complete source of protein. Best of all it's naturally gluten free and considered easy to digest. It's very versatile. You can use it for a number of recipes including breakfasts and desserts. Given all that information, a turkey meatloaf suddenly seems extremely healthy!
So, for the turkey meatloaf I fully cooked the quinoa, then added it to the meat mixture. I'm sure someone has read my meatloaf recipe just shaking their head at me. Once the turkey meatloaf was out of the oven and I was able to taste it, whoa what a difference. It was delicious! In fact, I prefer the turkey over the beef. I also made it more friendly for acid reflux. Lesson learned, learn how to properly cook new foods before trying them. There was quite a bit of leftover quinoa and I wasn't sure what to do with it. As I've stated, I've never really had it before so I tried some of it right out of the pot. Not bad, bland though, I can see why it's usually mixed with other things. I sprinkled a little garlic salt into it, stirred it up, and viola! Not so bland and the perfect carb to go with most anything. Now I'm looking forward to experimenting with quinoa more.
What you'll need
2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa
About 1/4 cup ketchup
1 onion, diced
Herbs and spices of your choosing
2 tablespoons sugar
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Saute diced onions in a small pan with a little olive oil*. In a large bowl mix ground turkey, egg, Worcestershire sauce (a few dashes is how much I put in), herbs and spices**, onions, quinoa, and sugar***. Mix it all together until well mixed. Put into a loaf pan and cook for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degree. Enjoy!
*Okay to put onions in raw. I saute them first to help cut down on the acidity of them so they're not so potent in the meatloaf.
**I used dashes of each of the following (I don't measure much): garlic salt, seasoning salt, oregano, basil, and a small amount of cayenne powder.
***The sugar is only used to reduce the acidity of the ketchup, it doesn't affect the taste so it's okay to skip this ingredient.