It sounds so boring. So plain. Some meat. In a loaf form. Woo.
But I love meatloaf. It never sounds exciting, but I everytime I find myself shoveling forkfuls into my mouth (in a most lady-like manner, of course), scooping up all the crumbs I've dropped on the table (and the floor, in the most lady-like fashion).
The thing about meatloaf is it's really not that healthy. You've got a bunch of meat- usually a mixture of beef and fatty pork, traditionally topped with a bunch of bacon, loaded with bread crumbs, topped with some form of ketchup/ sugar combo.
So I 'healthified' it. I skipped bacon. In place of regular 'ole beef I used grassfed beef (85% lean). In place of pork I used ground turkey. And in place of bread crumbs I used crushed almonds. Add in a bunch of healthy veggies like kale, carrots, peppers, and even apple, and there you have it- my version of a healthier meatloaf.
The kale I added had already been sauteed in garlic with tomatoes (the acid in tomatoes will cut the bitterness in kale- I almost always add tomatoes when making kale). I added the apple for a little sweetness to further combat the bitter kale (The Fiance sure does hate kale). I threw in every other veggie I could find in the fridge, which admittedly, wasn't much. To hold the meatloaf together, I pulsed some almonds in a food processor until ground but not powder to replace the bread crumbs/bread. It worked out well- the almonds added a bit of crunch, though it is a more delicate meatloaf than one made with bread crumbs. Definitely let cool 10 minutes before you attempt to slice or it'll fall apart. Use the sharpest knife you have to slice.
Funny story. The Fiance is all like 'what can I do to help?!' (This means he wants me to say 'nothing, sit down, have a beer') I say ' Peel these carrots'.
'I don't know how to do that!' says The Fiance. I cock my eyebrow. 'Just use this peeler and peel it!'
I continue on tornado-ing around the kitchen, flinging random sauces at walls and throwing crumbs on the floor. I look over at him. He's peeled the carrot. And kept on peeling until all he's got is shaved carrot. 'I thought you wanted Juliet carrots!' he says to me. JULIET CARROTS. Not julienne. I almost died.
I took over the peeling from there.
So take caution if asking your hubby for help in this recipe, it can get a little sketchy :)
Veggie Loaded Meatloaf
1 lb grass-fed beef (I used 85% lean)
1 lb turkey sausage
3 carrots, peeled and shredded with a shredder
3 stalks celery, diced small
1 bell pepper of your choice (I used half yellow pepper, half orange- what I had on hand)
4 shallots, peeled and minced
1/4 apple, diced
1/2 cup cooked kale
1 cup whole almonds, placed in food processor to make 3/4 cup almond crumbs.
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Caramelized Onion Topping:
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup ketchup
6 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp dijon
2 tsp sriacha or hot sauce of choice (increase or decrease based on your preference)
Preheat oven to 325.
1. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers. Saute 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the shallots. Saute another 10-15 minutes, until peppers are mostly soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Add the meat to a large bowl, and add the carrots, celery, cooled peppers, apple, kale, almonds, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your hands (clean hands) to mix well. Get in there, don't be shy! Form into a loaf, Using your hands to 'smack it' into a loaf form. Place on baking sheet, and throw in oven. It will bake for about an hour, until internal temp reaches about 155 to 160 degrees.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, raw honey, dijon, and sriacha. Divide this mixture into two small bowls. Into one bowl, add the caramelized onions. Pour the ketchup/caramelized onion mixture onto the meatloaf in the oven. About 15 minutes before the meatloaf is done, pour half of the remaining ketchup mixture on top.
4. When meatloaf is done, let cool 10-20 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining ketchup sauce.