Rainbow Vegetable Meatloaf

Meatloaf wasn’t a staple food when I was growing up. We had something similar called “katleti”. Consider a “katleta” to be a mini-meatloaf. It could be made with any kind of ground meat and usually had ground onion in it and a binder (egg and breadcrumbs). They’re formed into small hamburger-patty-like shapes and are gently fried on a skillet. My mom would make large batches of katleti and it would take her the better part of a weekend morning.

Following suit, when my son started eating table food, I would make katleti. And my goodness, they were so time consuming! Plus, they really didn’t pack as much nutrition as I’d like them to. So I went the American route and started making meatloaf (enough for a family!) and adding whatever vegetables that I had on hand. 

Rainbow Meatloaf with a side of asparagus
(this batch was made with carrots, yellow peppers and zucchini)
Meatloaf is so forgiving and so flexible; another reason to love it! I try to pack as many vegetables into the meatloaf as possible. Staying away from red meat and want to make it with ground turkey? Fantastic. Have extra broccoli or cauliflower? Great, throw them in!  Hard vegetables like onions, peppers and carrots need to be sauteed for a few minutes, but soft vegetables like shredded zucchini are added directly to the raw meat.  
Hint to hide ALL vegetables: To make the vegetables invisible: saute all of the vegetables until they’ve softened. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) puree until smooth. Try not to add any additional liquid. 
Rainbow of vegetables waiting to go into the meatloaf!
(clockwise from left: diced red bell peppers, coarsely shredded zucchini, TJ’s shredded carrots and diced onion)


Saute the “hard” vegetables to soften them up a bit. In this recipe, it’s the onions, peppers and carrots.


While the sauteed vegetables are cooling down, throw all of the other ingredients into a large bowl. I love one bowl wonders!


Mushed beauty! A bit fuzzy, but you can still see the rainbow! 😉
Form into a loaf shape on a baking sheet and cover with glaze.
Rainbow Meatloaf with Carrots, Zucchini and Peppers


Rainbow Vegetable Meatloaf

Serves 8
Adapted from Bobby Flay


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 small zucchini, Coarsely shredded
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
8 ounces TJ’s shredded carrots (About 2 large carrots. If you shred your own, no need to saute them because they’re thin enough to bake through.)
5 cloves crushed garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 pounds lean ground beef (90 or 95 percent lean)
1 cup panko (coarse Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and  carrots. 
2. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. In the meantime, in a large bowl add the beef, zucchini, garlic, parsley, eggs, panko, parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup ketchup and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Add the sauteed vegetables once they’ve cooled down. Mix until just combined.
4. On a foil lined baking sheet, place the meat and form into a loaf. 
5. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf. 
6. Bake for 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

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