Meatloaf is one of those meals that I make a little differently each time. The possibilities are endless and you can hardly go wrong: fresh herbs, oats, grated onion, sauteed vegetables, raw vegetables, barbecue sauce, Dijon, mashed black beans, various combinations of meat–all of which can provide excellent flavor and texture.
Lately, thanks to my sister-in-law Melissa’s brilliant thinking, I have been on a kick of pureeing roasted veggies and adding them to the ground beef mixture. I adore the savory flavor and tenderness this creates. If you use the higher amount of the roasted vegetables and the lower amount of the panko outlined in the recipe, the slices might crumble a bit when cutting. Given the fabulous flavor, I’m okay with this. Simply go with the lower end of the veggies and the higher end of the panko if you prefer a firmer loaf. Sometimes, instead of the panko (or bread crumbs), I use old-fashioned oats. Not only is this a healthy option, but it’s a great way to make this meal gluten-free. The addition of the balsamic glaze provides a little extra kick and a special finishing touch.
- 2 pounds ground beef, grass-fed if available
- 2-2 1/2 cups roasted vegetables (see note)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2-1 cup panko (or oats)
- 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
- 1/2 +1/3 cup ketchup, divided
- 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, herbs, panko, Parmesan, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and a 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Puree the roasted vegetables. I do this in my mini chopper or food processor and leave a little texture to the veggies. Stir pureed mixture into the egg mixture, then incorporate the meat. I find it is easier to blend in the meat without over-mixing if I have everything else well combined first.
- Mold the meat into a loaf and place on a baking dish. For the glaze, combine the remaining 1/3 cup ketchup and 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. (I like the more pronounced flavor with 2 tablespoons.) Brush the glaze over the entire meatloaf and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. I used my temperature probe and hit an internal temperature of 160 degrees at exactly 55 minutes, but this could vary based on variations in ovens and the thickness of your loaf. When finished cooking, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- I roasted the following vegetables at 425 degrees for 25 minutes the evening before as I was preparing Indian Spiced Roasted Vegetables with Lentils: 1 large carrot, 1 medium onion, 4 ounces mushrooms, and 1 small sweet potato all tossed in a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. This reduced to just over 2 1/2 cups once pureed. Feel free to use whatever combination you like.