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5 Healthy Meatloaf Recipes That Are Better Than Your Mom’s

Meatloaf is a classic American dish that has deep roots in ancient Rome. One of the many theories about where American meatloaf came from is that adding a starch to minced meat stretched expensive proteins and used up less-than-fresh vegetables during the Great Depression.

However it came to pass, meatloaf is still a family-pleasing meal.

Meatloaf Basics

To make a meatloaf, you need four key ingredients:

  • Ground or minced meat
  • A binder
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs

In the United States, beef is probably the most common meat ingredient, while in other parts of the world, combinations of beef and veal or beef and pork are often used.

Binders are what stretch the protein, allowing it to feed more people. Traditionally, crackers or breadcrumbs were used, but with the number of people today opting to go grain-free and gluten-free, we are seeing more and more unique binders being added to meatloaf.

Coconut flour, almond flour, brown rice, and gluten-free oats are often the top choices. If you want to replace wheat breadcrumbs in a recipe with coconut flour, for example, you will need to adjust the amount of moisture and fat in the recipe so that your meatloaf doesn’t end up dry.

As for the vegetables you can add, the options really are limitless. Grated carrots, zucchini, or even beets will add moisture and a ton of flavor. Aromatics like leeks, onions, and garlic are often a staple in American meatloaf recipes and give it its classic taste.

Eggs are a must for meatloaf; they marry the vegetables, meat, and binder together to ensure that the result can be sliced, hot or cold.

And let’s not forget a topping. While catsup is traditional, spicy glazes, gravy, or even rich yogurt sauces can make your healthy meatloaf recipe the best you’ve ever had.

5 Healthy Meatloaf Recipes

Keto Meatloaf Recipe

Traditional meatloaf contains wheat crackers, breadcrumbs, or oats—none of which are keto-friendly. This delicious keto meatloaf recipe has all the great flavor and the texture of a traditional meatloaf, without any type of grain. Instead, almond flour is used as the binder, and it gives this meatloaf a delightfully nutty undertone.

Mushrooms, almond milk, and a touch of tomato paste provide moisture. Be careful not to overbake the meatloaf, as doing so could cause it to become too dry. For best results, use a temperature probe you can program to alert you when it reaches 155°F. You can enjoy this delicious and healthy meatloaf recipe the day it is baked, or as leftovers for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of crimini mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (80/20 is best)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of either dried oregano, basil, thyme, or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Topping:

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the diced tomatoes, salt, and coconut aminos, and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the vegetables, mushrooms, eggs, ground beef, coconut aminos, tomato paste, and almond milk together gently, until just combined.
  4. Sprinkle the almond flour, salt, pepper, and herbs on top, and gently fold together until well incorporated. Don’t over mix.
  5. Press the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan, and then flip over onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Brush the tomato sauce over the top and the sides, and then place the sliced beefsteak tomato on top.
  7. If using a probe thermometer, run it at an angle, keeping it 1 inch above the sheet pan, and set it to alert you to 155°F.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until it reaches proper temperature. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Paleo Meatloaf Recipe

This delicious paleo meatloaf recipe uses coconut flour as a binder. The coconut flour does a great job binding the meat, vegetables, and herbs together with the eggs to create a delicious and tender loaf. It slices well, and this meatloaf recipe is fantastic the next day as a sandwich.

As coconut flour absorbs every bit of moisture it can, use a ground meat with a higher fat content, like grass-fed chuck roast or grass-fed ground short ribs. If you do want to use ground poultry, lamb, or bison, you’ll need to reduce the amount of coconut flour by half. Otherwise, you might find this recipe is a little on the dry side.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground grass-fed beef
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped

Topping

  • 1/3 cup natural catsup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onion, the celery, and the red bell pepper together in the olive oil. Sauté over medium-low heat, allowing the vegetables to become translucent slowly. Add salt and pepper, and taste. Let the sautéed vegetables come to room temperature before continuing.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the catsup and the coconut aminos together as the topping and set aside.
  5. Add the sautéed vegetables, ground beef, eggs, coconut aminos, coconut flour, tomato sauce, and fresh herbs to a large bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix gently to combine. Do not overmix as doing so will create a tough and dry meatloaf.
  6. Gently pat the meatloaf mix into a loaf pan, and then place the parchment paper-lined baking sheet on top and flip over. Shake the pan as necessary to get the meatloaf to release.
  7. Using a basting brush or a spoon, brush the topping mixture on the top and sides of the meatloaf. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 155°F. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

* Note: this recipe adapts well to a variety of herbs and spices. Choose ones your family loves, like basil, chives, dill, dried chili pepper flakes, or a combination. Make this recipe your own!

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

If you’ve had dry turkey meatloaf and have been hesitant to try it again, this recipe will surprise you. As turkey has significantly less fat than beef or pork do, to keep turkey meatloaf moist and delicious, you need to add plenty of moisture with vegetables and mushrooms.

As a note, this is not a paleo or keto meatloaf recipe; it does contain whole wheat panko breadcrumbs. However, if you want to make this gluten-free, feel free to replace the panko with cooked brown rice or raw, gluten-free oats.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced fine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
  • 8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of white wine (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup natural catsup, divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground dark meat turkey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by rubbing it with olive oil. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet set over medium heat, sauté the carrots in a touch of olive oil until just tender. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, and sauté until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine, chicken stock, or just water, scraping up all the tasty bits.
  5. Set the vegetables aside and cool to room temperature.
  6. In a large bowl, add the Worcestershire sauce, half the catsup, milk, eggs, and ground turkey. Mix gently until well combined. Spoon the vegetable mixture on top and sprinkle with panko over the top. Fold together until fully incorporated.
  7. Free-form a loaf in the prepared baking dish, making a loaf approximately 8 inches long by 4 inches wide. Spread the remaining catsup over the top.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 170°F.

Hidden Veggie Meatloaf

If you struggle with picky eaters refusing to eat vegetables, this healthy meatloaf recipe is for you. In this recipe, feel free to use any lean ground meat, including chicken, turkey, or even 93/7 ground beef. You’ll get plenty of moisture from the fresh zucchini, carrots, and bell peppers.

This recipe adapts well to a number of cuisines—add basil and oregano for an Italian flare, or cumin and chili powder to make a southwest-inspired meatloaf. To top it off, the balsamic glaze adds a touch of acidity and a delightful sweetness. You can use a simple catsup instead, but the glaze really sets the recipe apart.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper (red, green, or yellow), diced fine
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or another fresh herb
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Glaze

  • 3/4 cup catsup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Carefully add the zucchini, bell pepper, carrot, and onion and stir constantly until vegetables are cooked through. Fold in the minced garlic and set aside until cool.
  3. Mix the egg with the fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
  4. Fold in the ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 of the catsup, and the vegetables.
  5. Gently press the meatloaf into a loaf pan.
  6. Whisk the balsamic vinegar and the remaining catsup together and brush over the top of the meatloaf.
  7. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F. Remove from the oven and rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Lamb Meatloaf Recipe

If you are looking for a healthy and unique meatloaf recipe—this is it. Bon Appetit has created a delectable, herbaceous meatloaf recipe rooted firmly in flavors from Greece and the Middle East. The combination of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, paprika, and parsley give this lamb meatloaf its distinctive flavor profile.

Bon Appetit’s Lamb Meatloaf is accompanied by a delicious lemony, garlicky yogurt sauce that simply cannot be missed. This meatloaf recipe takes a bit more preparation, and it is baked at two different temperatures, so read the recipe carefully before beginning.



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