CSA Cooking: Turkey Meatloaf and Quick Pickled Chard Stems

May 21, 2015(updated on August 30, 2021)

finished meatloaf

One of the items in my Philly Foodworks box a couple of weeks ago was a big bundle of chard. Chard is a fairly regular player in my kitchen and most of the time when I’m possession of a bunch, I work it into a pot of soup or turkey chili.

However, with the weather warming up, I didn’t feel moved to make soup or chili. And when I try to serve my husband a side dish of garlicky sauteed greens, he balks. So I split apart the stems and leaves and used them separately.

I cut the leaves into ribbons, sauteed them with a chopped leek and stirred that delicious mess into a batch of turkey meatloaf (that is the recipe at the bottom of this post). I know that meatloaf is singularly unsexy, but it’s one of my favorite week night dinners. I love that it can contain a world of vegetables, is easy to throw together, and makes the very best leftovers (meatloaf sandwiches are my jam).

swiss chard quick pickles

The leaves taken care of, I chopped the stems into small bits and funneled them into a pint jar. Then, I combined 1 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a glass measuring cup and microwaved it until the salt and honey dissolved. I poured the warm brine into the jar, put a lid on, let it cool until room temperature and popped the jar into the fridge.

The meatloaf was good, but those pickles are the true winner here. They remain intensely crunchy and have just the right amount of pucker. I’ve been eating them spooned onto salads for the last week and am nearly down to the end of the jar. As soon as another bundle of chard appears in my life, I plan on making another batch.

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Turkey Meatloaf with Leeks and Chard


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large leek cleaned and sliced
  • 1 bundle chard leaves cut into ribbons
  • 2 pounds ground dark meat turkey
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs cracker crumbs, or cooked rice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons or thereabouts ketchup
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add leeks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the chard leaves and continue to cook until wilted. Once the chard has cooked down, remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, eggs, crumbs/rice, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, combine the ingredients.
  • Add the cooked leeks and chard and stir until just combined.
  • Turn the meat mixture into a loaf pan and even out the surface. Spread the ketchup on the surface of the meat and evenly sprinkle the onions on top.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the meatloaf is fully cooked. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should read 165 degrees F when the meatloaf is done.
  • Once it is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a couple minutes. Eat and be happy.


I learned the trick of arranging the sliced onions on the top of meatloaf from Trisha Yearwood when I was writing a column for the Food Network's blog and regularly made recipes from their TV personalities.

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11 thoughts on "CSA Cooking: Turkey Meatloaf and Quick Pickled Chard Stems"

  • Thanks for the reminder of meatloaf! IMy mother used to make it often, I keep forgetting about it! Another great thing to make when I need to have the oven on for roasting our veggies during the summer! And I have a bunch of leeks that didn’t get harvested last year & are still growing nicely..,will be a great way to begin chipping away at them! It does make for incredible leftovers!

  • I am really taken with the loaf pan in the picture – looks so beautifly elegant. Is it vintage, or where did you get it?

    1. It is a vintage Dansk Kobenstyle loaf pan, but they’ve recently started reproducing some of the pans from that pattern. I don’t know if they brought back the loaf pan, though.

  • I can’t wait to try those pickles. I hate to waste food and I’m always glad to hear of a way to use something that usually gets thrown away.

    Vinegars are interchangeable as long as they are 5% acidic, correct? I think I’ll try this with apple cider vinegar because I always have that on hand.

  • Thanks for the inspiration! We are having meatloaf for dinner with sautéed chard, and I have the chard stem pickle cooling off presently

  • I went to my local butcher shop on Friday and bought two pounds of ground turkey. They cut the (pastured) turkey and ground it right in front of me so it was the freshest I could ask for. I did not have any ketchup, but I had a jar of honey tomato jam that I made at the end of last summer, (recipe from your cookbook), so I put it all over the top. I did not have a red onion, but I had a jar of pickled red onions (also from your cookbook), that I also spread on top. The meatloaf was delicious. I was skeptical about the chard stem pickles, but it was so easy to make so I tried it. I used Seasoned Rice Vinegar (again what I had on hand), and I am pleasantly surprised at how good they are. The organic chard where I shop was red, so the pickles were a beautiful color! I had the pickles on a (grass fed) burger that I made yesterday. I am so happy to see that you will pickle just about anything, and you make such a variety of food.

    I am very lucky to be able to buy directly from farmers or from a butcher shop where the animals are raised on the lush pastures of small Midwestern farms and are allowed to thrive.

  • The pickled chard turned out awesome. I used leftover rainbow chard stems and all the colors are really beautiful. After only one day in the fridge, they have a satisfying crunch like celery but with a tasty vinegar flavor. I look forward to seeing how the taste matures!