Although this is a recipe for meatloaf, it contains so much vegetables, you can feel good about eating it. The best part of these Healthy Meatloaf Muffins with Tomato Sauce is that even carnivores and picky eaters won’t know that they’re eating so much vegetables! A great way to slowly introduce them to various flavours and develop their taste buds!
A note on meat
As a flexitarian, I do eat mostly plant-based, but I still occasionally eat meat. I fully support other lifestyles such as veganism and vegetarianism, which constitute the majority of my meals. I also strongly encourage everyone to reduce the amount of meat and animal product they eat, but no matter what you choose to eat, always, always, always buy the best quality you can find. Especially if you eat animal products, it is worth paying a little more to get organically-raised and grass-fed/pastured meat/dairy/eggs. The quality will be much better (grass-fed meat contains omega 3s, i.e., good fat, while corn-fed beef does not or very little), it tastes better, and the animals are treated much better too (minimum regulations exist). Did you know for example that beef or cows that are grass-fed have an 80% less chance of developing dangerous e.coli than the ones fed corn? The strain of e.coli is also different and weaker than the strain developed by cows eating only corn/grains, which means that the weaker strain can be destroyed by our stomach’s acid. Of course, nothing is perfect, but if you’re going to eat animal products like meat, dairy or eggs, do some research to find the best version you can find in your area. Perhaps a small local farmer that lets his animals in the fields all day, or a neighbour that has eggs from their backyard chickens. It’s better to eat less but better quality.
All in all, reducing the amount of meat we eat is a great thing, and looking for organic/grass-fed/pastured is better for you, better for the animals and better for the planet. It’s what I like to call a win-win-win.
This incredibly flavourful recipe will help you stretch a small amount of meat to feed many people, and you can add as much vegetables as you’d like!
These mini meatloaves are also convenient to make a big double or triple batch so you can freeze for later use (crumbled in spaghetti sauce, or crumbled on top of nachos, or sliced in a sandwich, etc.).
One batch will make 12 meatloaf muffins and 2 mini loaves, or 2 large loaves.
Healthy Meatloaf Muffins with Tomato Sauce | Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Perfect for dinner, this Healthy Meatloaf Muffins with Tomato Sauce recipe is simple, fun and packed with nutritious vegetables. Perfect for picky eaters!
- 2 medium-size carrots grated
- 1 medium-size organic zucchini grated
- 1 medium-size onion minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups organic spinach coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup quick oat flakes For celiac, look for GF certified
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 lb organic grass-fed ground beef
- 1 lb organic pastured ground pork
- 2 free-range organic eggs
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper or to taste
- Fresh rosemary for decoration optional
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce for celiac, look for GF certified
- 398 ml diced organic tomatoes 1 regular size can
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp organic ketchup
- 3 Tbsp apricot jam
- a pinch of black pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix all the ingredients in a very large bowl (use clean hands, it goes faster than a spoon).
Make large meatballs with your clean hands to fill the muffin cups, but make sure there's enough room around for the sauce to go in. Use all of the rest of the meat mixture to form a loaf or 2 mini loafs and put in an oven-safe container.
- Wash your hands.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and use a spoon to equally distribute some of the sauce and tomatoes on top of each 'muffin' and on your 2 mini loaves.
- Put in oven at 400F and cook for about 40 minutes (if you made 1 larger loaf instead of 2 mini loaves, cook for an additional 10 minutes).
Serve with mashed potatoes (mix regular potatoes and sweet potatoes for a healthier version), and sautéed veggies on the side, along with a side green salad for a complete and balanced meal.
You can pack these in an airtight container and keep in the freezer, up to 3 months.
Note: I do not believe anyone should worry about counting calories, but here is the nutritional information for one serving
Calories: 284kcal | Fat: 15g | Saturated fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 516mg | Carbohydrates: 17g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Protein: 19g | Vitamin A: 62.8% | Vitamin C: 11.4% | Calcium: 5% | Iron: 14.1%