Attack of the Giant Mutant Zucchinis, part IV: Healthier meatloaf

I have always liked meatloaf, but health-wise it’s usually fairly horrific.  The inspiration for the first incarnation of “my own” meatloaf recipe actually came from Susan Powter–remember that crazy woman with the blond crew cut who was hugely famous for 15 minutes about 15 years ago? She published this cookbook called something like “C’mon, America, Let’s Eat!” with lightened up versions of a lot of American “classics.” (These were in the days when All Fat was Bad and All Carbs were Good…so nice that we are all becoming so much wiser.) (That was mild sarcasm, by the way. Food fads annoy the heck out of me.)  There are actually some really good recipes in there.  She had a meat loaf recipe that used a really high proportion of grated veggies to the amount of meat in it, and it was quite tasty…this is sort of a variation on that, only with more veggies than she used, and almost all of the veggies here are–you guessed it–zucchini.  And lots of barbecue sauce.  Because I like barbecue sauce.

Healthier Meatloaf (with barbecue sauce)

In a bowl, squish the following into gross homogenous submission:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 chopped onion (medium-sized)
  • 3-4 cloves crushed garlic, or more if you like garlic a lot
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (from bottle or your own favorite recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground meat

Place into 9×9 baking dish; pour a little more barbecue sauce over the top if you wish. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Take out and let rest for 10-15 minutes (to let the juices re-absorb.)

This will be tonight’s dinner; I’ll come back later with an edit to say how it went.

ETA, edit, later: Okay, it was good.  Very good.  And this is a way to use 3 whole cups of grated squash and only a pound of ground beef and get easily 6-7 servings out of it.  But…there’s something that happens when you use a really high proportion of veggies to meat, and what happens is that you really can’t taste any flavor of the meat in there at all.  The barbecue sauce sort of fools you a bit, but honestly it has very little actual meat flavor. I find myself wondering if a packet of boullion concentrate in there would intensify the flavor a bit, but that’s an experiment for another day.

That said–my husband liked it and wanted seconds.  My kids thought it was gross and made gagging faces and my son tried to wipe the last molecules off his tongue with the back of his hand so as to remove the vile pollution.  But that’s business as usual.  This makes a nice meatloaf.

And I’m only on the second mutant zuke.  This is going to be a long blog series.


The full Giant Mutant Zucchini series:  Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part IV.


Posted on September 9, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. How would this taste w/ ground turkey instead? I haven’t made meatloaf w/ beef in years.

  2. greenmomintheburbs

    I’m guessing it would be absolutely fine with turkey–we used beef because that’s what we had, something with which I humor my “beef it’s what’s for dinner” husband every now and again, but honestly since the meat’s flavor itself doesn’t dominate the recipe at all I’m sure turkey would work fine. I bet the textured soy protein stuff would also work; putting the bbq sauce into the loaf itself gives it a tangy flavor that would probably acclimate to almost anything, and have a vegetarian (but non-vegan) version.

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