Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

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This meatloaf muffin is the perfect spin-off of a culinary classic, which many children despised during the early twentieth century.

The muffin is densely packed with wholesome protein and vegetable, but it does not feel or taste heavy. The filling makes it moist, with creamy ricotta cheese in every bite. The confetti-looking pieces of speckled spinach add pizazz.

The ricotta/spinach combination works perfectly. Consider the two an inspired duo, helped along by the saltiness of Parmesan and good old-fashioned salt and pepper. The muffins stand alone beautifully and can be served with salad or a side of baked fries. The topping is optional for those who like marinara.

If meatloaf is on your menu this week, try this lighter version. If you intend to serve leftovers, omit the mozzarella on top because it does not reheat as well as the rest of the ingredients.

This recipe is great to make with beef or a mix of turkey and beef.

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Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf Muffins (makes 12)

1 Lb ground turkey
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or 14 Ritz crackers, crushed)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Topping (optional)

1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix thoroughly with hands the turkey, spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
3. Distribute turkey mixture into the muffin-pan cups and press with back of spoon.
4. Spoon the marinara evenly over muffin cups. (optional)
5. Sprinkle mozzarella over marinara (optional).
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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Thai Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

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This Thai-flavored recipe creates a stark contrast to the “comfort food” meatloaf that made me cringe when I was a kid. That meatloaf was not pretty, rather dry, and covered in ketchup. My own children would never fall for this, half of them detest ketchup, and the other half have an aversion to meat.

These Thai Turkey Meatloaf Muffins won’t bring you back to your childhood, but they will win over you and your modern-day family. Thai flavors infuse these super moist muffins that are protein packed with ground turkey, rice, coconut and Thai seasonings. The peanut sauce tastes delicious throughout and as a dip.

This quick-and-easy recipe is not only something else to do with ground turkey, but it’s foolproof. Throw the ingredients together and into the oven, or mix ahead of time and pop in the fridge until 30 minutes before hunger sets in. If you have leftovers, these muffins are perfect for reheating.

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Thai Turkey Meatloaf Muffins (makes 12)
1.25 Lb ground turkey (preferably  a mix of half dark meat and half light meat)
3/4 cup rice, cooked
1/4 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp lemon grass
1/4 tsp scallions
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup Thai peanut sauce
2 tsp sesame oil (or peanut oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat 12 muffin-pan cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Combine turkey, rice, seasoning, coconut milk, peanut sauce, and sesame oil, and mix thoroughly with hands.
3. Distribute turkey mixture into the muffin-pan cups and press into mixture with back of spoon.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Serve with peanut sauce.