Cook the Book

Meat Loaf From 'Lighten Up, America!'

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[Photograph: Hélène Dujardin]

Of all the recipes in Allison Fishman Task's new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, her healthier meatloaf was one of the most intriguing. She lightens the loaf in a few ways: first she uses ground sirloin mixed with veal and pork for a leaner meat blend, next she adds whole grain oats instead of bread to bulk out the meat, and then she stirs in a box of wilted baby spinach for color and extra nutrition. Task finishes her meatloaf with a classic glaze made from ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar.

Why I picked this recipe: Meatloaf is the first thing I think of when I think of classic American food.

What worked: Adding spinach was a smart choice: the greens added a brilliant pop of color and complementary earthiness.

What didn't: Don't make the same mistake I did and wring out the spinach after cooking it. The meatloaf needs the additional moisture.

Suggested tweaks: If you aren't keen on adding spinach juice to your meatloaf, you'll want to soak the oats ahead of time. Water will work, but milk would be better. If you don't want to use veal, you can substitute more sirloin. I wouldn't recommend cutting out the pork.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Lighten Up, America! to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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