For years when I thought of meatloaf, I had a flashback to the mystery meat served in the school cafeteria. It wasn’t until recently that I realized meatloaf wasn’t actually supposed to be a pale, brick-hard, loaf of meat. Now it’s become one of my favorite dishes.
Today I’m showing you the trick to making a moist, flavorful meatloaf that’s low in fat and packed with veggies. This recipe can also be used to make meatballs, as seen in the picture above.
Tip #1: Use veggies to make up for a low-fat cut of meat.
The higher fat meat you use, the moister your dish will be. If you choose to use a low fat cut of beef or turkey, add soft vegetables to your meat mixture to provide texture and moisture. For my recipe, I chose a 92% lean turkey (turkey was cheaper, but beef works just as well) and added sautéed onions, mushrooms, celery, and carrots.
Tip #2: Add Moisture.
Soak the bread crumbs in milk before adding to the meat. Ketchup or barbecue sauce not only add flavor, but they keep the meatloaf from being dry.
Tip #3: Lightly Touch.
Don’t overmix or try to make the meat into a solid block/ball. Use your hands to combine the ingredients gently.
Tip #4: Take A Break.
Let the meatloaf/meatballs rest for 5-10 minutes after they are finished cooking. This helps retain moisture.
Isabella’s Low Fat, Veggie-Packed Meatballs/Meatloaf:
Supplies: Oven, Saute Pan, Bowl, Knife, Cookie Sheet or Loaf Pan, Thermometer
Cost Per Serving: $1.24
- 1/3 white onion
- 2 whole carrots
- 2 celery ribs (sticks)
- 1 1/2 cup mushroom, whole (5-6 mushrooms)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 – 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey (I used 92% lean)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Finely dice onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms.
- Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add diced onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Cook until tender. Then add diced mushroom to the mixture and cook until soft.
- Add the egg to a separate large bowl. Whisk egg.
- Soak 1 cup breadcrumbs in 1 cup milk.
- Add ground beef, milk, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to the bowl with the egg. Use hands to combine ingredients gently.
- Fold vegetable mixture into the meat mixture.
If making meatballs:
Gently form meat mixture into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. If the meat is not easily forming into a ball, add more breadcrumbs. Once meatballs are on the cookie sheet, pour barbecue sauce on top. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until done. Test for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the meatball. Meatballs are cooked when the internal temperature is 155ºF. Cooking time will vary based on ovens.
Note: I used an air fryer to make these, and I loved it! If using an air fryer, cook at 400ºF for 15 minutes.
If making meatloaf:
Lightly place meat mixture into a loaf pan. If you do not have a loaf pan, form mixture into a loaf shape on a cookie sheet. If it is not holding its shape, add more breadcrumbs. Pour barbecue sauce on the top of the loaf. Cook for 1 hour or until done. Test for doneness by inserting a thermometer. Meat is cooked when the internal temperature is 155ºF.
Serve with mashed potatoes!
All items were purchased at Walmart Grocery Store in St. Robert, MO. Prices listed were reported on 9/27/19.
Grocery Store Bill
- 18 oz Barbecue Sauce = $0.98
- 15 oz Bread Crumbs = $0.92
- 0.5 Gallon Milk = $1.89
- 6 eggs = $0.56
- 8.5 oz Olive Oil = $2.28
- 8 oz Mushrooms = $1.88
- 1.6 oz Celery = $1.18
- 1 lb Bag Carrots = $0.82
- 1 Onion = $0.70
- 2 lb 92% Ground Turkey = $9.04
Total Bill = $20.25
Price of the ingredients used in this recipe:
- 0.5 c. Barbecue Sauce = $0.24
- 1 c. Breadcrumbs = $0.48
- 1 c. Milk = $0.23
- 1 Egg = $0.09
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil = $0.13
- 6 Mushrooms = $0.94
- 2 Celery Stalks = $0.59
- 2 Carrot Sticks = $0.27
- 1/3 Onion = $0.23
- 1.5 lb 92% Ground Turkey = $6.78
Cost For Full Recipe = $9.98
Cost Per Serving = $1.24
Let me know if you made this recipe!