We bring it back to its roots—then spice it up again for good measure.
February 14, 2012
1 of 9Photo: Johnny Autry
Our Favorite Meat Loaf Recipes
Meat loaf, once the pride and triumph of the thrifty American housewife, now pops up, fancy-pants style, in urban hot spots. It's souped up with exotic chiles, tahini, or truffle oil. It gets the royal treatment: Anyone for Foie Gras--Stuffed Kobe Beef Meat Loaf? But at heart, it's humble food. Our goal here was to cut fat while staying true to the Essence of the Loaf. Then we tried it Italian-style. Then we decided to try a vegetarian version... more about that later.
To start off, we updated the classic recipe by adding cheddar cheese and tangy buttermilk.
2 of 9Photo: Johnny Autry
Vegetable "Meat" Loaf
Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love this ingenious twist on meat loaf. The meaty-flavored, umami-rich recipe received our Test Kitchen's highest rating. Ordinarily you wouldn't pack a meat loaf into the pan, but since we're using a vegetable mixture, you will to make sure it holds together.
3 of 9Photo: Johnny Autry
Meat Loaf Bolognese
This dish contains many of the flavors of sauce Bolognese, the classic Italian ragù of pancetta, a mixture of ground meats, and aromatic ingredients stewed together. Round out the meal with polenta. Garnish with chopped fresh rosemary, if desired.
4 of 9Photo: John Autry
Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis
Substitute mozzarella or provolone for white cheddar, if you prefer. Serve with steamed fresh broccoli spears and mashed potatoes. Make sandwiches with leftover meat loaf; serve on an onion roll.
5 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
Spicy Turkey Meat Loaf with Ketchup Topping
To keep this comforting family favorite healthy, we add vegetables for moisture and nutrition. Herbs and spices, including Sriracha for a spicy kick, create flavor without adding fat.
6 of 9Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Diner Meat Loaf 'Muffins'
Molding meatloaf into muffin tins yields a perfectly portioned main attraction. Each muffin has less than 150 calories and is loaded with finely chopped carrots and onions to provide extra antioxidants and fiber. The dish uses extra lean ground beef to keep the calories and fat low while providing high quality protein.
7 of 9Photo: Jan Smith
Italian-Style Meat Loaf
With just 263 calories per serving (2 slices, or 1/6 of the loaf), you can feel great about serving this healthy recipe. To elevate this humble dish, serve with a glass of Chianti or a California syrah.
8 of 9Photo: Oxmoor House
Individual Salsa Meat Loaves
Making individual servings of these spicy meat loaves means they cook faster, you don't need a loaf pan, and there's no fighting over who gets the thickest slice. Try a loaf between slices of pumpernickel bread for a great sandwich.
9 of 9Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Classic Meat Loaf
Sometimes a classic is what we crave. This meat loaf will not dissapoint. Serve with roasted root vegetables and you will have a comforting dinner on the table that no one will be able to resist.