While meatloaf purists focus on the meat, we like to look at meatloaf as a way to pack extra veggies and whole grains into a meal, as we do in this healthy, classic meatloaf recipe.
- 1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 large stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oilor canola oil
- 5 tablespoons ketchup, divided
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 pounds lean (90% or leaner) ground beef
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Pulse onion, bell pepper and celery in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or finely chop them with a knife.)
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the vegetables; stir to combine. Stir in egg and breadcrumbs. Add ground beef and with clean hands gently knead the vegetable mixture into the meat; do not overmix. Pat the meat mixture into a loaf shape (about 12 by 5 inches) on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup on top.
- Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, about 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
- To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs or about ⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs.
- Loaf pan variation, if you want a more uniform-shaped “loaf” you can bake your meatloaf in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan instead of on a baking sheet. Coat the pan with cooking spray, pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan and cover with the topping. Bake for about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing.
- Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature while oven preheats; bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F, about 1 hour.