This juicy meatloaf has got to be the most flavourful meatloaf I've ever eaten. It's covered with a saucy glaze and packed with hidden vegetables that will fool even the fussiest eater. What's more, it freezes like a dream, so you can save any leftovers (what leftovers?) for those days when you don't feel like cooking.
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The juiciest meatloaf
This juicy meatloaf is a quick and easy meal that you can throw together in no time and then just leave it in the oven to cook away. It's perfect for when you want a healthy, comforting meal for the family, but you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen.
I've packed this meatloaf with lots of grated vegetables so for those of you with picky eaters who turn up their noses at the slightest sniff of a vegetable I think you are going to love it. The vegetables are grated before being added to the meatloaf mixture, and they cook away to almost nothing but leave the meatloaf beautifully moist and juicy.
The meatloaf is also covered with a beautifully sticky glaze before going into the oven. The glaze serves 2 functions - it helps prevent the meatloaf from forming a hard crust on top, and it also provides lots of extra taste.
This is the second meatloaf recipe I've posted. The first one was for my meatloaf wrapped in bacon which is just as juicy but takes a bit more effort to make. The recipe I'm posting today takes only 10 minutes to prepare, and then you just pop it in the oven and let it bake away.
If you'd like to cover this meatloaf with my marinara sauce, I've included the recipe for that too, further down the post.
How to make it
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this juicy meatloaf on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
First of all, prepare your ingredients.
- Beef mince - I like to use beef mince with no more than a 12% fat content, any higher than that and your meatloaf will end up swimming in a greasy pool in the baking dish. If you prefer you can use half beef mince and half pork mince instead of just beef.
- For the vegetables, I've used grated zucchini/courgettes, carrots and onion. I normally just grate them on the large holes of a box grater/cheese grater. If you'd like to make your vegetables even smaller, you could whizz them around in a food processor fitted with the metal 'S'-blade.
- To add bulk and help the meatloaf hold together you will need a couple of slices of bread soaked in milk. If you are using crusty bread you might like to remove the crusts first, but if you are just using sliced sandwich bread it's fine to leave the crusts on. For a more intense flavour, you could soak the bread in chicken or beef stock instead.
- An egg - which helps with the binding.
- Worcestershire sauce - for flavour.
- And then the spices and seasonings - paprika, salt and pepper.
- Finally, for the glaze, you will need red wine vinegar, tomato sauce (ketchup), and brown sugar. The glaze is spread onto the meatloaf before it goes into the oven.
What to do
Once all the ingredients are prepared, assembling the meatloaf is simplicity in itself.
You will need a 4" x 8" non-stick loaf tin (10cm x 20cm).
Place the meat, grated vegetables, egg and spices into a mixing bowl. Give the bread a squeeze to remove any excess milk and add that. Then get your hands in and mix well until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the loaf tin. I don't bother greasing mine, but if you are worried about the meatloaf sticking to the pan you could rub it with a little oil first, or line it with baking parchment. Press down firmly on the mixture to ensure that it will all stick together as it bakes.
Place the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Spread the glaze over the top of the meatloaf and then cover the baking pan with a sheet of tinfoil.
Bake in a preheated oven (180C/360F) for 30 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and bake for a further 20 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 71C/160F.
Once the meatloaf has cooked, leave it to stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Cut into slices and serve either on a bed of mashed potatoes or on a pile of spaghetti or tagliatelle.
If you'd like to cover your meatloaf with my marinara sauce, here's how to make it.
You'll need these ingredients.
- Tomato passata - this is sold in cartons or bottles in the UK. Passata is simply whole tomatoes that have been processed and then sieved to remove the pips and any bits of skin. The result is a smooth, thick tomato sauce - not to be confused with tomato ketchup.
- Shallots - these have a much milder, sweeter taste than normal red, white or yellow onions. If you can't get shallots, red onion would be the next best option.
- Mixed herbs - sometimes called Italian herbs. This is just a mixture of rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme.
- Garlic - you can use fresh garlic which has been finely minced, or ready crushed garlic from a jar.
- Sugar (not pictured) - I always add a small amount of sugar when I cook with tomatoes as I think the sweetness of the sugar helps bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.
- Salt - optional - but I like to add a small amount for extra flavour.
Peel and finely chop the shallots, and peel and crush the garlic. You should aim to get the shallots to be about the size of a grain of cooked rice. You can do this in a food processor, or use a sharp knife. If using a food processor, be careful not to over-process.
Fry the onions and garlic with the herbs, in a little sunflower oil. Use a low heat and let them sweat slowly. Take care not to let them brown - the onions will turn translucent when they are ready.
Now add the passata, a teaspoon of sugar, and salt to taste. Turn the heat down as low as possible, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave to simmer for about half an hour until the sauce has thickened.
Serve spooned over the meatloaf.
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Tips and FAQ for the juiciest meatloaf
Covering with tin foil for the first half of the cooking period helps keep the moisture in, which results in a juicier meatloaf. Once the meatloaf is partially cooked, we remove the tinfoil to give the meatloaf time to firm up.
Yes, it freezes perfectly. You can either freeze leftovers or double up on the recipe, make two meatloaves and freeze one for another day (great energy saver).
I pack mine into plastic (or Tupperware) containers and freeze for up to 4 months.
To use, defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave on full power for 2-minute blasts. Depending on how much meatloaf you are heating this may take up to 3 blasts.
Alternatively, you could place the defrosted meatloaf on a baking tray, cover it with tin foil to prevent it from drying out and heat it in the oven (180C/360F) for about 10 minutes until piping hot.
You can also freeze the unbaked meatloaf. In this case, I would assemble the meatloaf in a disposable aluminium baking dish and freeze it in that. Then, when ready to use, allow to defrost in the refrigerator and bake in the oven, following the recipe instructions.
If you make the marinara sauce, you can freeze leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 6 months. To use, tip the frozen sauce into a saucepan and heat gently until it defrosts, then increase the heat to allow the sauce to boil.
This is a matter of preference - the grated raw vegetables cook perfectly well in the time it takes the meatloaf to cook, and I like the bits of vegetables to be visible.
If you are really trying to hide the vegetables in the meatloaf, you can certainly saute them in a little sunflower oil and allow them to cool before adding to the meatloaf. Softening the vegetables in oil will certainly help to make them less visible in the finished dish.
You can use any vegetable really, so long as you grate or chop them really finely.
Why not try adding grated potato, very finely diced celery or mushrooms, or even chopped cauliflower or broccoli?
Just keep to the proportions given in this recipe - for each 4oz (110g) of beef, you should add ½ cup of vegetables.
Don't exceed this ratio or you may find your meatloaf will fall apart.
Save for later
If you would like to make this juicy meatloaf, why not pin the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so that you can find it easily later? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
Other easy supper recipes
Why not take a look at some of my other easy supper recipes using beef mince:
- Macaroni and cheese lasagne
- Spicy ground beef curry and rice
- Meatball stuffed jumbo pasta shells
- Easy chilli con carne
- Cheesy garlic bread pasta bake
- Traditional cottage pie
- Homemade hamburger helper
- Ground beef hot pot
Juicy meatloaf with hidden vegetables
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1 lb (450g) beef mince (ground beef) 12% fat content
- 1 medium onion grated
- 1 cup zucchini/courgettes grated
- ½ cup carrots grated
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 2 slices bread crusts removed if preferred
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
For the glaze
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 cups (480ml) tomato passata
- 6 small shallots
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F
- Place the meat, grated vegetables and spices into a mixing bowl. Give the bread a squeeze to remove any excess milk and add that. Then get your hands in and mix well until thoroughly combined.1 lb (450g) beef mince (ground beef), 1 medium onion, 1 cup zucchini/courgettes, ½ cup carrots, 1 large egg, ½ cup milk, 2 slices bread, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Press the mixture into a non-stick baking pan. I don’t bother greasing mine, but if you are worried about the meatloaf sticking to the pan you could rub it with a little oil first. Press down firmly on the mixture to ensure that it will all stick together as it bakes.
- Place the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.1 tablespoon brown sugar, 3 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup), 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Spread the glaze over the top of the meatloaf and then cover the baking pan with a sheet of tinfoil.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and bake for a further 20 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 71C/160F.
- Once cooked, leave to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a serving dish before slicing.
- Peel and finely chop the shallots, and peel and crush the garlic. You should aim to get the shallots to be about the size of a grain of cooked rice. You can do this in a food processor, or use a sharp knife. If using a food processor, be careful not to over-process.
- Fry the onions and garlic with the herbs, in a little sunflower oil. Use a low heat and let them sweat slowly. Take care not to let them brown – the onions will turn translucent when they are ready.6 small shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- Now add the passata, a teaspoon of sugar, and salt to taste. Turn the heat down as low as possible, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave to simmer for about half an hour until the sauce has thickened.2 cups (480ml) tomato passata, 2 teaspoon sugar, salt
- Serve spooned over slices of meatloaf.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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