Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze

Looking at our freezer full of meat and our refrigerator full of veggies, I wondered, what on earth could use up a lot of these items pretty quickly. My mind settled on this meatloaf. It's a recipe that we've used often, as it's delicious and freezes well for later leftovers. It takes some effort to prepare, but the end result is well worth it. It's also a great, tasty way to get some veggies into a very meat-centric dish.

The original recipe found on Food Network is fantastic in it's own right, but feel free to experiment with other veggie and meat combinations. We've added jalapeno and poblano peppers instead of bell and it's turned out lovely. I always add an onion (white or yellow). We've also substituted lamb in place of the beef with no ill effects. When making this dish for gluten free folks, I've substituted Corn Flake crumbs for breadcrumbs.

This time, in particular, since we were using up whatever was in the fridge, we used a veggie combination of yellow bell pepper, two small zucchini, one white onion and a jalapeno pepper. We used  a combination of lamb, veal, pork and beef for a total of 5 lbs. of meat (I told you we were using up everything!).

The recipe below is our base recipe. It's a slight adaptation from the original, but as I've shown, it can be further modified each time to work with what you have on hand.

Vegetable Meatloaf
adapted from this Food Network recipe

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large zucchini, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
1 sweet onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan
1 cup ketchup, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a large saute pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the zucchini, peppers, garlic paste, half the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the veggies are just soft. I usually take them off the heat once the onions start to appear translucent. Remove from the pan into a large bowl to cool more quickly.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, herbs, meat, bread crumbs and cheese. Add to that 1/2 c. of the ketchup and 2 tbsp vinegar as well as the cooled vegetables. Mix (with your hands) until everything is just combined. Don't over mix as you will end up with a tougher meatloaf.
On a large baking sheet (mine is non-stick, use parchment if yours is not), mold the meatloaf . Place in the oven for 30 minutes. While cooking, beat together the remaining ketchup, balsamic and red pepper flakes. After 30 minutes, brush the mixture onto the meat liberally and rotate the pan in the oven. We like to put ours in an old Ketchup container so it squeezes onto the loaf and the remainder can be used again since it doesn't have any uncooked meat juices in it. Cook for another 30-45 minutes or until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, cover and allow to rest before slicing. Top with a little extra ketchup-balsamic sauce for extra tang.

*Extra slices of meatloaf can be frozen for re-heating later as a great leftover solution. 

** My dad, Meatloaf King, actually said that he really liked this meatloaf when I made it for him. He said to keep it hush-hush though because there was no way he was chopping all those veggies. Use a food processor for extra speedy assembly.

1 lovely comments:

  1. Can I move in with you guys so I can eat all this yummy food? :) This looks great. Bookmarking it because I have NEVER made meatloaf in my life. I think it is high time I get my feet wet with this recipe.

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