Thursday 17 October 2013

Zucchini Meat Loaf Provence

When Fall and Winter come marching in with a chill in the air....I think .....meatloaf.  It was one dish I had a lot growing up.  I didn't even think about putting zucchini in my Mom's recipe, until I tasted this in one of my cooking classes, years ago.  It keeps the meatloaf very moist, and the best part is that the kids don't even notice the vegetables! My kids loved this growing up and Wee Bear goes a little crazy every time I make it.

I always double the recipe, and freeze one for another dinner in a month or so. This time I made three....well 2 1/3 hahaha! The small one for Wee Bear to pop in the oven when I am traveling. I love the Basic Tomato Sauce and triple that recipe, then freeze in 1 cup portions. 

Zucchini Meat Loaf Provence
adapted from Les Arcades

1 1/2 lb zucchini, unpeeled and shredded in food processor or chopped
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 c. uncooked rice ( I use basmati, but, any type is good) 
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
1/4 c. chopped basil
1/4 c. chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
dash of nutmeg
1 1/4 c. grated gruyere
Basic Tomato sauce, recipe follows

Arrange layers of chopped zucchini in a colander, sprinkling salt in between layers. Set over a bowl and allow to drain for 2 hours. Then rinse and dry with paper towels.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Cook the onions and shallots, over low heat and covered with a lid, until tender. Season with salt, add garlic, and cook for another minute or two.

Uncover pan and add the zucchini and rice. Cook over low heat until zucchini is soft, about 15-20 minutes. If too dry, cover the pan with the lid.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.

Remove Zucchini mixture from heat and add the meats, herbs, eggs and 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook a small patty in a frying pan to check seasoning. Adjust seasoning if needed.

A treat for the cook and her pal! Wee Bear squealed with delight!

Pack mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of Gruyere on top. Bake for one hour in conventional oven or 35 minutes in convection oven or until firm.

This is comfort food like no other—a scrumptious delight through and through. You’ll notice the edges are nice and brown; that’s the way I like it!  It increases the flavor, and also indicates that the inside of the meatloaf has been adequately cooked. Pink meat loaf is a definite NO! NO!

Serve this delicious meat loaf warm or room temperature, cut into slices. Pour tomato sauce into a sauce boat and pass separately. 

Basic Tomato Sauce

2 T. unsalted butter 
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. diced onions
1/2 c. diced carrots
1/2 c. diced celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T flour
1 can (28 ounces) Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. basil
2 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat butter and oil. Cook the onions, carrots and celery until soft, but not brown; about 6-8 minutes. Use low heat and cover pan; vegetables will not burn.

Add flour, stir well, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, partially cover the pan and cook for one hour, stirring often. If sauce gets too thick, add a little chicken or beef stock to it.

After one hour, strain sauce through sieve. Can be frozen.

Serve the meatloaf with Scallop Potatoes, mashed potatoes, Blue cheese and Rosemary Scallop potatoes, Truffled mushroom risotto or just some pasta with butter and parmesan. I served with Quick Scallop Potatoes, green beans and almonds, very simple.

There’s nothing better in the universe!! The next day, Wee Bear makes meat loaf sandwiches with the leftovers, PERFECT!!


This big guy was on the Tonto Ridge trail Wednesday morning, here in Desert Mountain.

Bandit and I had an eventful morning as we hiked our newest trail in Desert Mountain. Built over the Summer, it added 2.2 miles to our trail system of over 8 miles done. Another 7 miles will be built in the future. You can hike, bike or walk, and take in the spectacular views from a beautiful Trail head, or to see (literally) for miles and miles at the Summit.

The Desert Mountain Trails were designed to immerse you in the quiet, natural beauty of the high Sonoran Desert, while encouraging you to pursue a vigorous and healthy lifestyle. The area that surrounds the trails is simultaneously wild, stunningly beautiful, incredibly quiet and serene, and, once you reach the Summit, it opens up unparalleled 100-mile views of both the city below and the wilderness beyond. Bandit and I hike here often, and also outside our gates with a hiking group. Lovin' Life!


  1. Looks moist and delicious and perfect for those wanting to get more vegetables into their diet. Wish I was your neighbor. Sam

  2. This is my favorite meat loaf!! I make two and triple the sauce. I freeze the extra loaf and sauce. It is so juicy and good! Thank you for sharing your recipes and expertise! John M


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