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Dorothy Dean presents: Greek meatloaf with tzatziki sauce

A spin on a childhood staple, this Greek meatloaf is tender, juicy and full of flavor. (Audrey Alfaro)
A spin on a childhood staple, this Greek meatloaf is tender, juicy and full of flavor. (Audrey Alfaro)

When it comes to making dinner, I always open my refrigerator and see what speaks to me. I look in the drawers to see what fruits and veggies I have. I check for proteins, sauces, cheeses and whatever leftovers I could use. And then I incorporate that into new recipes or tinker with the old.

Last night, upon checking my fridge, I saw ground beef, feta cheese, Greek yogurt, cucumbers and spinach (that looked like it was on its final breath). Pondering the numerous possibilities, it finally came to me: Greek meatloaf with tzatziki sauce.

Now if the word “meatloaf” is making you cringe, it’s probably because you’re still scarred from Grandma’s dried-out, flavorless version, or it reminds you of that mystery meat at school lunch.

Let me assure you, this is far from that.

A spin on a childhood staple, this Greek meatloaf is tender, juicy and full of flavor. The feta adds bites of saltiness and creaminess. And the zesty kicks of garlic and onion are soothed with the refreshing, cool tzatziki sauce. Your mouth will be syrtaki dancing in delight.

Ground lamb and mint can also be added, I’m just not a huge fan of the two. And it goes great served with Greek-style potatoes or a Greek salad.

With the leftovers, forget the boring ol’ meatloaf sandwich. We’re making pitas! This savory meatloaf with slices of cucumber, onion and tomatoes, topped with feta and a drizzle of tzatziki sauce, all cuffed in a warm pita. These are leftovers your family will be begging for.

Greek Meatloaf with Tzatziki Sauce

For the sauce:

1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and finely diced

Kosher salt

2 cups plain Greek yogurt, full fat

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Fresh cracked pepper

1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped

For the meatloaf:

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup dried stuffing mix

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 tablespoons steak sauce, divided

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1/3 cup onions, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

Zest from one lemon

4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped and divided

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoon oregano

2 cups crumbled feta cheese, divided

1 cup tomatoes, diced

Tzatziki sauce

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, toss cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside to drain, about 20 minutes. Place drained cucumber into a cheese cloth and squeeze out excess liquid.

Combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice; and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Stir in cucumber and dill. Cover and chill in fridge for at least one hour before serving.

Make the meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine milk and stuffing in a small bowl and allow to soften, about 5 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons steak sauce, spinach, onions, garlic, lemon zest, 2 tbsp parsley and seasonings. Add 1 cup feta cheese and softened stuffing mixture and mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined.

Form into a loaf, approximately 9 by 5 inches, and place in prepared baking pan. Brush the top with remaining steak sauce.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Tent with foil and rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve slices with tzatziki sauce, sprinkled with parsley, diced tomatoes and feta crumbles.


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