Cheese Stuffed – Power Greens Pesto Meatloaf


My husband works long hours during the week so our only chance for a family dinner is Sunday evening. Saturday nights we pretty consistently keep set aside as our date night. So I take this chance to make something that I hope won’t lead to any major meltdowns from the little people crew and that will also make my husband happy.

He comes from a long line of meatloaf lovers. I am from a long line of not overly patient women who like a meatloaf but don’t like any unnecessary steps in it. I always pause and review meatloaf recipes when I see them and if I have to do too much prep work to slap it together, I keep going.

But then I found an interesting one in America Test Kitchen 6 ingredient solution. It had pesto included as the major flavor enhancer. Brilliant. So I ran to the store this afternoon (a suicide mission on a Sunday at 3:30 I discovered) and scoured the place for ready made pesto and there was none. I was struck that this was my chance to up the nutritional notches on this even more by making my own super quick.

Grabbed a mix of power greens (kale, spinach, etc) from the produce section and had all the rest of the stuff at home. I like walnuts in my pesto because I always have those around and those pesky pine nuts are so expensive.

However, I, nor will anyone else, judge you if you swipe some pre made pesto from the store and save yourself from having to clean a blender. Just sayin’.

Whipped up the pesto in seriously like 2 minutes, dumped everything into one bowl and in under 10 minutes was popping this into the oven.

italian meatlloaf2 (1 of 1)

Every single person – even Captain Picky Pants – ate this and loved it. It is officially in my rotation. We don’t do meat more then once a week, if that, but when we do, this will be high on the list of options.

Cheese Stuffed Kale/Spinach Pesto Meatloaf
  • 2 big handfuls mixed power greens (spinach/kale/arugula) – the package literally called them this. Pretty common nowadays in the produce area.
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs meatloaf mix
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 oz of mozzarella – not fresh – sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce for top
  1. Oven to 350.
  2. Puree greens, parmesan, walnuts and olive oil in a blender. It will be a thick pesto. Add some salt. Can add water or bit more oil if it is too thick to blend. Measure out 1/2 cup of that and pack the rest up for something else.
  3. Mix pesto, meatloaf mix, tomato sauce, panko, salt and pepper and mix together with hands, getting all the ingredients evenly distributed.
  4. Take half the mixture and pat into a loaf pan (should fill it just below halfway but adjust as needed depending on size of your pan. Could also make this in muffin tin in same manner.). Place the mozzarella on top of that – I used slightly less then the 8oz to cover the length of it. Put the rest of the mixture on top, pat to even out. Place on sheet pan to catch any drips, smooth 1/2 cup of sauce over top and into the oven.
  5. One hour cook time. Delicious, easy and family friendly dinner. Serve with mashed potatoes.


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