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Basic Meatloaf

Basic Meatloaf

While meatloaf purists focus on the meat, we like to look at meatloaf as a way to pack extra veggies and whole grains into a meal, as we do in this healthy, classic meatloaf recipe.


10 servings

Prep Time

30 minutes

Total Time

1 1/2 hours


  • 1large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2large stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 5tablespoons ketchup, divided
  • 2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2teaspoons paprika
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4cup dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2pounds lean (90% or leaner) ground beef


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Pulse onion, bell pepper and celery in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or finely chop them with a knife.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the vegetables; stir to combine. Stir in egg and breadcrumbs. Add ground beef and with clean hands gently knead the vegetable mixture into the meat; do not overmix. Pat the meat mixture into a loaf shape (about 12 by 5 inches) on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup on top.
  5. Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, about 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.

Loaf pan variation, if you want a more uniform-shaped “loaf” you can bake your meatloaf in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan instead of on a baking sheet. Coat the pan with cooking spray, pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan and cover with the topping. Bake for about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing.

Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature while oven preheats; bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F, about 1 hour.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (recipe makes 10 servings)

Calories 205kcal
Carbohydrate Total 10g
Total Sugars 4g
Added Sugars 1g
Fiber 2g
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 3g
Mono Saturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 74mg
Sodium 328mg
Protein 19g
Potassium 355mg
Calcium 28mg
Chromium 2mcg
Folate 17mcg
Vitamin E 1mg
Zinc 4mg
Vitamin B3 4mg