Food-ista: Meatloaf Makeover

Meatloaf can be so much more than the ketchup covered block of mystery you may remember from childhood! Today, I’m giving this classic dish a much-needed makeover. Here are some deliciously stylish ideas to update meatloaf for kids and grown-ups alike…enjoy!

For Grown-Ups

This sweet and savory meatloaf recipe makes a great main dish for a dinner party, or you can use it for mini-sandwiches at a less formal affair. Instead of using traditional beef, I’d go with lamb. You can also sub chicken, turkey, pork, or, for vegetarians wheat meat, soy, or tempeh.

Moroccan Meatloaf

(Makes 4 servings)


  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup couscous, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the raisins, half of the onion, the couscous, salt, curry powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
  3. Pour ¾ cup boiling water over mixture; cover. Let stand 2 minutes.
  4. Add lamb and egg; mix well.
  5. Pat mixture into a foil-lined greased 8x8x2-inch baking pan.
  6. Bake in the top third of oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees F).
  7. Meanwhile, for chutney, in saucepan combine the remaining ½ cup. raisins, half of onion, remaining cinnamon, the tomatoes, and 1/4 cup water.
  8. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat, until tomatoes pop.
  9. Lift meatloaf from pan with foil.
  10. Cut into slices and serve with tomato chutney.


(Recipe via the kitchn courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens)


Tex-Mex mini-meatloaf topped with avocado (my fave!) and a lime wedge

Two other gourmet variations on traditional meatloaf are Tex Mex Meatloaf and Rustic French Meatloaf. For the Tex Mex version, try subbing chorizo for the ground turkey. If chicken livers freak you out, you can skip those for the French Rustic recipe…but I say go with it; be bold and impress your foodie friends!

Once you’ve gotten a few of these recipes under your belt, you can experiment with your own favorite flavor combos to invent a more personal take on your meatloaf. One day, your kids and grandkids will be begging you for Grandma’s famous meatloaf recipe!

For Kids


Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

Make-Ahead Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup minced Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin
  • ¾ cup salsa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef or a mix of lean ground beef and ground t urkey
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ pound sliced mozzarella cheese



  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a skillet, sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and parsley in the oil over moderate heat until softened but not browned.
  3. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large bowl
  4. Add all remaining ingredients, except cheese, to the vegetables.
  5. Mix well with your hands.
  6. Transfer half the mixture toa 9×5″ loaf pan.
  7. Place mozzarella slices on top, then cover with the reset of the meat mixture.
  8. Bake for 75-80 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 170 F.
  9. Cool and chill.
  10. Wrap tightly in freezer fiol.
  11. Place in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
  12. Label and freeze.
  13. After thawing and unwrapping, bake in a covered pan at 400 F for 20 to 30 minutes.


Mummy Meatloaf!

You can get creative with kid-friendly mini-meatloaf and let your kids get their art on with shredded cheese, ketchup, peas, or whatever garnishes you have on hand. To make meatloaf extra tasty for the kiddies, try these recipes for Pizza Meatloaf or Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf. I mean, c’mon who are we kidding, pizza and bacon are what the kid inside all of us really craves for dinner.

For Legendary Leftovers

Let’s not forget, meatloaf is even better the next day. Here are some ideas for making yours go the distance:


Meatloaf Wraps – chop up your leftovers and top with the chutney you made for your Moroccan Meatloaf. Wrap in a piece of lavash bread and drizzle with honey yogurt.


Meatloaf Quesadillas – Thinly slice your leftover meatloaf and layer with mozzarella cheese, then warm in a lightly oiled skillet until cheese melts. Cut into triangles and serve with your favorite salsa or chutney.

Mini Grilled Meatloaf Sandwiches – Leftovers can be mini too. Cut the crust off of several slices of your favorite bread. Layer the bottom slice with Gruyere, meatloaf and caramelized onions. Spread your favorite homemade aioli on the top slice, add another thin slice of Gruyere, and grill until both sides of the sandwich are nicely browned. Cut into four triangles and serve on a platter.


Or, you can make an open-faced sandwich on your favorite country bread.

For Chic Entertaining


Anything can be made mini! Instead of making a big loaf and cutting it into slices, you can divide your meatloaf into balls and bake them in a cupcake tin. Top each one with shredded cheese and arrange on a platter. Then sprinkle with your favorite seasoning such as chives, thinly sliced scallions, or parsley. Or you can top each with mashed potatoes. Pipe the mashed potatoes on with a frosting piper for a more finished look, then pop them in the broiler for a sec to get a nice brown crust on top, as in the picture above.


You can also buy mini-loaf pans and serve individual sized portions…cute!


Stuff red and blue potatoes with meatloaf and turn the potato you scooped out into a delicious mashed potato side dish

Meatloaf Sliders

Here’s a healthy spin on mini meatloaf from the blog The World According to Egg Face.

Spinach Florentine Mini Turkey Meatloaf


  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Green Onions, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 1 – 16 oz. package frozen Chopped Spinach, cooked and drained thoroughly
  • 1 1/4 pounds Ground Turkey, the average weight of 1 package
  • 1/4 cup Italian Style Dry Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Basil Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • a few twists of Black Pepper
  • Butter/Oil for sauteing



Cook and drain spinach thoroughly. Squeezing out any excess water with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside. Saute onions till golden, Add garlic and drained spinach cook 1 minute. Mix to combine. Set aside to cool.


Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 1 minute. Beat egg. Add egg, cheese and soaked breadcrumbs to ground turkey. Add cooled veggies and seasonings. Mix till combined.


Divide into 8 equal mounds. Form into mini meatloaves or use this super groovy pan. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 oven. These freeze well either cooked or uncooked.



What other ways can you think of to make meatloaf chic and fun for the whole family?

Photo Credit: FamilyFunGo; Pinterest
  • Sarah Beckman

    I’ve never been a meatloaf fan. It was always my least favortie meal my mom made. But my husband loves it, so I make it every once in a while. I’ll have to try the cheese-stuffed variety — cheese makes anything good :)


  • Stacie Grissom

    My mommakes this Mexican meatloaf that kind of looks like your quesadilla meatloaf above! When you have leftovers, you can just make the meatloaf into a burrito! 😉

  • victoria silva

    Tori…Thank you for sharing these recipes…a few I will try… cause I love meatloaf!

    Thank you

    Victoria Silva

  • Julie Light

    I adore meatloaf! It was the first meal my son requested when he was home recently!

    I just pinned two of your recipes. Can’t wait to try them.

  • Tamara Smolyansky

    I’m glad you’re giving meatloaf the props it deserves. It’s ready for a chic comeback. I’m going to grab a martini, don my best caftan and pop one into the oven pronto.

    And the mummy meatloaves are to die for. Love!

  • Lou Lou Quatorze

    My mom makes the most delicious meatloaf on the planet! She uses ground chicken or turkeymeat but you can also use Beef ofcourse. And she puts in some dried Cranberries that she first soaked in a bit of water, and then she puts some whole Pine nuts & Pistachio nuts in the mixture and before it goes in the baking tin she lines it with streaky bacon, omg it’s freaking delicious!!! Gonna make it again tomorrow!!!

  • Jill Uno

    I use equal parts ground sirloin and ground medium sausage, Lipton Onion soup mix, egg, parmesan bread crumbs and mustard to make meatloaf… if I have left overs, I cut it into 1 in pieces, heat them and dip them in warmed mustard when eating.

  • Pauline ER

    I have just started to make this dish. My stuffing is usually garic, onion, bacon and mushrooms. We just love it!

  • olivia

    Love! Love! Love!

    Thanks for sharing!!smiley-laughing.gif

  • Momof3Boys

    Thanks for sharing, Tori. Great ideas. I am excited try the TexMex meatloaf (without the hot spices) out on my hubby & kids this weekend. Then, I am planning to try the quesadillas to use up the left overs early next week….really sounds perfect for fitting a quick dinner in after work/school and before the kids’ nightly sports/activities. Thanks again :)

  • Beth Bodine

    My favorite meatloaf is a cranberry turkey loaf.

  • Jeanne Tutt

    omg I laughed so hard at the mummy meatloafs! so creative!

  • Elizabeth Adamec

    If you are going to bring back meatloaf, you’ve got to bring back fondue as well. We are having it for guests this weekend! smiley-laughing.gif

  • nthabiseng moloi

    I’m going to try these reciepes out as I’ve never had meatloaf before but am willing to try-wish me luck!

  • susan murphy

    My mother would feel left out if i didnt mention my childhood meatloaf! My mom would hard boil eggs and put them in the raw meat mixture and bake. When she sliced the meatloaf the eggs were sliced inside the middle. Maybe European? xx PS love the leftover recipes! Great job as always!

  • susan murphy

    Made a double batch of meatloaf….just so i can make the leftover recipes here! tnx xx

  • Lori Cagle

    I have to say I am glad to see that other people like to mix it up and put the traditional style to the back. I was never a fan of the ketchup topped meatloaf my mother made but all the men in my life have always loved meatloaf, and since I am a people pleaser I had to come up with something that would wow them into believing they didn’t have to have a glob of ketchup to make it taste good. I make a very flavorfilled meatloaf then once it is almost done, I top it with mashed potatoes drizzle with some melted butter and pop back in the oven to make the potatoes crips and brown up. Your little appetizer meatloafs remind me of mine. My fiance absolutely loves this meatloaf and I plan on making it for V-Day!