Your first meatloaf experience can be pretty memorable. Whether you were forced to eat it while visiting your relatives, or your school served it up on your lunch tray alongside a milk carton and some syrupy peaches, there it was: meatloaf.
The hearty comfort food has taken a number of forms throughout history and in different cultures, but the true loaf-shaped version of the dish became an American staple in the late 19th century. The ketchup loaf of beef is no stranger to the American dinner table, perhaps because of its enduring comfort. With each bite, there are not only memories but the warmth and enduring power of protein.
In recent years, meatloaf has been reimagined into healthier, more creative recipes. The tried-and-true classic version isn’t going anywhere, but some nights you don’t feel like a heavy beef dish, especially in the summer. We’ve done some searching, and we’ve found six easy meatloaf recipes to fit your seasonal and diet needs. From a low-carb Paleo version to a barbecue turkey meatloaf, one thing’s for sure: these aren’t your grandma’s recipes.
BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
Root + Revel’s barbecue turkey meatloaf recipe has a hidden ingredient: mushrooms. In addition to adding in some antioxidants and plant protein, mushrooms add extra nutrients to this already nutritious take on meatloaf. But you won’t know it’s healthy, because its barbecue sauce twist will taste like a treat instead.
Summer Turkey Meatloaf
This summer turkey meatloaf recipe from Pickled Plum not only looks good, but it’s also filled with veggies. Inside the turkey loaf are zucchini, bell pepper, spinach, and peaches. Top it off with a sprig of rosemary, and your meatloaf will look surprisingly sophisticated.
For a more traditional meatloaf that’s still made of turkey, try this recipe from Melanie Makes. This dish takes only 10 minutes to prepare and a little over an hour in the oven. The best part? You’ll have it for seconds and maybe even leftovers.
Meatloaf Sliders with Frizzled Onions
If you’re looking to break out of your burger rut, these meatloaf sliders from How Sweet Eats might just do it. Topped with homemade fried onions, the sliders have a slightly crunchy exterior and a moist interior. The small size makes it easy to control your portions, so you won’t get carried away with this comfort food.
Healthier Meatloaf with Tomato Glaze
For a slightly lighter take on the original meatloaf we all know, Foodie Fitness offers up this turkey version that still has a little ketchup involved. It’s also full of veggies like onions and bell peppers, but you won’t know they’re there. These simple changes mean a big cut in the calorie count.
Low-Carb Paleo Meatloaf
Food Faith Fitness serves up a meatloaf to fit almost any diet or food sensitivity needs. The Paleo, Whole 30 dish is free of gluten, dairy, sugar, and grain. The dish still uses beef as a base, and it incorporates veggies like bell peppers and tomato paste, similar to the classic meatloaf you’ve known and love.
One Pan Meatloaf Dinner
In this recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron, you won’t have to worry about all of the dishes accumulating. In it, miniature meatloaves, green beans, and mashed potatoes are all cooked together on a single pan. Another perk? The miniature meatloaves are the perfect size for kids.