I adapted this meatloaf recipe from one I did for my cookbook, Fresh from the Farm. The goal was to use some local veggies in the mix, and I wound up putting local (Mermaid Farm) feta cheese in it as well. The result was a lovely light texture and delicious flavor, and no one ever notices that there is kale in here! The zippy glaze is icing on the loaf.

Susie Middleton

I always hand-shape my meatloaf on a baking pan (I don’t use a loaf pan), so you should feel free to make two, three or four smaller meatloaves instead of one big one if you like. (A mini is pictured at top). Smaller loaves will cook more quickly, so get out your instant-read thermometer and test after 35 minutes or so. This meatloaf is excellent cold and makes great sandwiches, too.

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs 
  • 3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large carrot (about 3 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion (about 3 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely chopped kale (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3 ounces crumbled good-quality feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put the breadcrumbs and milk (or cream) in a small bowl and mix. Let sit. In another small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, soy sauce, and Dijon.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the carrots, onions, garlic, and kale. Pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary to incorporate the kale.

4. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped veggies and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (The pan will be crowded.) Cook, stirring, until gently softened and very fragrant, about 5 minutes. (Don’t brown, just soften.) Transfer to a plate and let cool (10 to 15 minutes).

5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, pork, feta, egg, several grinds of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the breadcrumb mixture, the cooled vegetables, and 3 tablespoons of the ketchup mixture (reserve the rest for brushing on the loaf). Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly without mashing too much. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and shape into one long, narrow loaf  (about 9 inches long and 4 inches wide) or two or three smaller loaves. Spoon the rest of the ketchup mixture down the length of the top of the loaf (or loaves) and gently spread or brush it over the sides.

6. Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160° to 165°F, 55 to 60 minutes for large loaf, 35 to 45 for smaller loaves.

7. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.