CHICKEN AND BACON AND 6 VEG LOAF

I first saw this recipe in one of my favourite food blogs called Well Nourished. I love it not only because it’s super easy to make and looks incredible but it can be made in advance and re-heated – about 30 minutes in a medium oven should do it. It also packs an incredible nutritional punch and it is loaded with flavour. I have changed the recipe a little and have made it totally paleo and have snuck in some extra omega 3 fatty acids for the brain by using flaxseeds instead of grains to give body to the loaf. I’ve also added extra variety of vegetables and included a little more sweetness with tomatoes and apples to appeal to the really little people. I used the root veg I had in my veg box but you can play around with what you have. The bacon I have used is nitrate free from Waitrose. The meatloaf is delicious as a main meal or if you have any leftover then you can enjoy it as a snack, either hot or cold. Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Print Recipe

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius or 160 degrees celsius if you are using a fan oven.
  2. Place the spinach in a sieve and add a few mugs of boiling water over it to wilt it. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible and chop up and set aside.
  3. Grate the butternut squash, golden beetroot, radishes and apple and place in a colander or sieve and squeeze out as much moisture as possible and set aside. Make sure you don't skimp on this step. It's important that the grated veg and fruit are as dry as possible.
  4. Cut the chicken pieces into large chunks and place in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, including, the spinach and grated veg and fruit you have already prepared. Run the processor until everything is totally combined.
  5. Take a 2lb bread loaf and line it with the bacon.
  6. Place the mixture into the bacon lined bread loaf and press down so the mixture is firmly pressed into the bread loaf.
  7. Place the tin in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Once cooked, drain the juices from the tin into a jug and flip the loaf onto a tray. Place under a grill for 5 to 10 minutes until the bacon is lovely and crispy.
  9. Cut into slices and serve with flat green beans or a green salad. You can pour the juices you have drained over the sliced meat loaf before serving if you wish.

THE SCIENCE BIT

Our gut bugs feast on fibre and there is plenty to be had in this recipe with the root veg, apples and spring onions and garlic. Among all 127 World's Healthiest Foods, FLAXSEED comes out number one as a source of omega-3s. The primary omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseeds is alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The ALA in flaxseed has found to be stable for at least 3 hours of cooking at oven temperatures (approximately 300F/150C), which makes it available after ground flaxseeds have been added to baked goods like muffins or breads. FLAXSEEDS are also a great source of fibre and provide antioxidants due to their structure as polyphenols. The unique structure of lignans gives them a further health-supportive role to play, however, in the form of phytoestrogens. Along with isoflavones, lignans are one of the few naturally occurring compounds in food that function as weak or moderate estrogens when consumed by humans. Among all foods commonly eaten by humans, researchers rank flaxseeds as the number one source of lignans. Sesame seeds come in second, but contain only one-seventh of the total lignans as flaxseeds. To give a few further examples, sunflower seeds contain about 1/350th as many lignans, and cashews nuts contain about 1/475th as many lignans as flaxseeds. Finally FLAXSEEDS contain "Mucilage" which refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. For example, gums can help prevent the too rapid emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine, thereby improving absorption of certain nutrients in the small intestine. Arabinoxylans and galactoxylans are included within the mucilage gums found in flaxseeds. CHICKEN is packed with protein and the amino acid tryptophan making it a natural stress buster. It is a wonderful source of phosphorus to help support bones and teeth as well as selenium to help protect against free radical damage. APPLES contain a long list of phytonutrients such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. Studies have shown that a typical apple (skin on) only has about between 10mg to 15mg of vitamin C, but its antioxidant effect is the same as 1500mg of vitamin C. Phloridzin (exclusively found in apples), has been associated with providing benefit to asthma patients improving lung health in general and in prevention of bone loss. Chlorogenic acid, has been linked with improved blood sugar balance as it slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Quercetin has been shown to have antiviral, anti inflammatory and anti histamine effect – the superfood hat trick for the kids with gut and immune problems.