One of my all-time favorite foods for Passover week was Pinwheel Meatloaf. Reaching back into my admittedly faulty memory, I don’t remember my mother ever making meatloaf except during Passover. But, whenever Passover came around, we always pored over the latest recipe pamphlet from one of the kosher food companies, and planned our grocery list around some old favorites and some interesting new possibilities. We always put a great big check mark next to the meatloaf recipe!
Their version of Pinwheel Meatloaf revolved (you should excuse the expression) around a filling made with crushed matzo, dried herbs, and a lot of oil to hold it together. It was (and still is) delicious. A little light on the nutrition aspect, maybe, but delicious. I’ve since lost most of those recipes. Or maybe Mom’s just hiding them from me. So, it’s time to start from scratch and maybe lighten it up a little.
Here, I’ve adapted my go-to basic meatloaf recipe to use matzo meal instead of my usual oatmeal. If you’re not making this for Passover, feel free to use an equal amount of oatmeal, instead. I’ve also added a surprise veggie ingredient to the meat mixture, and filled the meatloaf with an even more nutritious vegetable combination.
Such a pretty presentation and so full of flavor, you’ll definitely want to make this more than once a year! (The aroma was making us too hungry to wait for me to do the “food porn” photo styling. Forgive me. )
Be sure to read the Notes after the recipe.
Pinwheel Meatloaf with Vegetables
Makes about 8-12 servings
- 8-12 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 1-1/2 lbs potatoes (reds or golds)
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (button or cremini (crimini?)/”baby bella”)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- 3 Tbs. dried chopped onions (divided)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt (divided)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 26.46 oz Pomi Finely Chopped Tomatoes (or Strained Tomatoes)
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Place the spinach in a metal strainer or colander, and dip it into the boiling water for just a few seconds to barely wilt the spinach. Drain the spinach well by pressing out as much of the water as possible, then rolling it up in several layers of paper towels. Set the bundle aside.
Cut the potatoes into roughly 2″ chunks and use the same boiling water to boil the potatoes, uncovered, for about 15 – 18 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and mash well until smooth. Do not add any liquid or fats. Return to the pot, cover and keep warm until needed.
While the potatoes are cooking, place the mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor and chop very finely, until they reach the texture of the ground beef. This will go faster and easier if you buy the the packages of sliced mushrooms. They’re usually the same price as the whole ones.
In a large mixing bowl, place the ground beef, chopped mushrooms, egg, matzo meal, 2 Tbs of the dehydrated chopped onions, the garlic powder, 1-1/2 tsp of the kosher salt, and the pepper. Add 4 Tbs of the Pomi tomatoes. Mix it all together very well (your clean or gloved hand is the best and most efficient tool for the job), and all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
Place the meat mixture between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and with a rolling pin, roll it out to a roughly 13″ x 13″ square, about 1/2″ thick. Remove the top layer of parchment paper.
Spread the still-warm mashed potatoes in an even layer over the the meat to within 1/2″ of the edges. Unroll the spinach from the paper towel and arrange it in an even layer over the mashed potatoes. Lightly sprinkle with an additional pinch of salt.
Using the parchment paper at one end to do the rolling, begin rolling up the meat over the spinach and potatoes, jellyroll-style. You want it to be a tight roll, without squooshing out the filling. Use your fingers to press and seal the bottom and ends of the meatloaf. Use the parchment paper to transfer the meatloaf into a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) 11″ x 17″ oven-safe glass baking dish. Make sure that the seam side is down. Bake for 45 minutes.
To make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining Pomi tomatoes, lemon juice, sugar, the remaining 1 Tbs of dehydrated chopped onions, and the remaining 1 tsp. of salt. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside while the meatloaf is baking.
After the 45 minutes of baking time, remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour/spread the sauce evenly over the top and ends. Return the meatloaf to the oven to bake an additional 30 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing with a very sharp knife.
You can use any potatoes you like. We like the reds or golds for this, because they have very thin skins and we don’t have to peel them. To plagiarize myself from a previous post: “In and of itself, the average potato is only about 110 calories and quite the nutritional powerhouse, containing 45% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C – and that’s just in the flesh. Eaten with the skin, you’ve got additional dietary fiber and more potassium than a banana! And they’re fat-free… ” If using a thicker-skinned potato, such as russet, you’ll probably want to peel them before cooking.
For you “mushroom-haters”, I swear that you will never know that there are mushrooms in here! I got the idea from the Mushroom Council people, last summer. They call it “blendability”. As an experiment, I made burgers by processing a pound of mushrooms, mixed them with a pound of lean ground beef with some breadcrumbs and a few seasonings. They were grilled and served to 6 people who had no idea that their burger contained 50% mushrooms. The burgers were moist, juicy, and got many compliments. Until I revealed my secret, no one knew! This is a great and economical way to not only stretch the ground beef, but to cut a few calories, and sneak some extra veggies and nutrition into your and your family’s diet. Mushrooms are rich in vitamin D and B vitamins, so it’s a win-win!
If Pomi shelf-stable tomatoes are not available in your area (you can generally find them on your grocer’s shelves with the other canned tomatoes), you can substitute a roughly equivalent amount of canned chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce (2 15 oz cans or about 3 cups). If using canned chopped tomatoes, you may want to chop them more finely with a food processor or stick blender. Or not. That’s the joy of cooking, right?
For more Passover-friendly recipes, both classic and modern, be sure to check out my Passover Central Pinterest board! I’ve asked several other Jewish food bloggers to join in and Pin some of their favorite recipes, too.
Disclosure: Um, there isn’t one. Nope. Regrettably, no one paid me or gave me any type of consideration whatsoever to promote any brand or recommendation in this post. It’s all me.