Meatloaf! Here’s something I hadn’t had in a while. I’m really not sure why, though, cuz I happen to absolutely love meatloaf. In fact, I should probably be making meatloaf as often as I bake muffins…
Maybe I should work on that! It sure could be fun to come up with all kinds of different meatloaf flavor combinations, like this Cheddar Parmesan Zucchini Meatloaf.
Of all the meatloaves I’ve come up with so far, I think this one is my favorite — at least as far as flavor is concerned. Now, I’m not gonna lie to you, though: this latest creation of mine is extremely delicate and doesn’t hold its shape all that well when you slice into it. It has a bit of a tendency to want to break up a little… But really, it’s so moist and TAAAAASTY, I’ve no doubt that you will totally forgive it this slight “imperfection”.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a slightly imperfect slice of super delicious and tender meatloaf anytime over one that’s perfectly straight and all but that’s so tough and firm you almost need a knife to slice into it…
I guess the fact that this baby is LOADED with grated zucchini, cheese and sun dried tomatoes greatly contributes to making it so super moist and tasty. I suppose I could’ve held back on the zucchini a little bit, but then it wouldn’t have been nearly as moist. Plus, more zucchini equals more healthy! I’m a fan.
One word of advice that I feel I must share about that zucchini: make sure that you squeeze it really, really, REALLY dry. When you think that you’ve squeezed all the water out of it, squeeze it some more, and then again. If you happen to have a nut milk bag, I strongly suggest that you take it out now; it totally is the best tool for this job! Otherwise, a clean tea towel will definitely do the trick…
Once your zucchini has been dealt with, preheat you oven to 375°F, then place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead with your hands until well combined.
Note that you could use both your hands… I just have a problem with having my hands dirty, so if I can spare one of them, trust me I will.
Transfer the meat mixture to a loaf pan; press it down real good and shape the top so it looks nice and round.
Now at this point, you could very well cover your raw meatloaf and keep it in the fridge until you were ready to bake it. Don’t go waiting too long though, cuz it’s still ground beef you’re dealing with, but providing that your meat was really super fresh when you mixed it up, I suppose that you could afford to let this wait for up to a full day, maaaaaaybe even stretch it to 2 days.
Place your meatloaf in the oven and place a roasting pan or large piece of aluminum foil directly underneath it to collect any drippings that will eventually leak out of the pan. Now take my word for it, there WILL be over-spillage, and quite a lot of it, too… so don’t think that you can get away with not protecting your oven.
Bake your meatloaf uncovered for the first 30 minutes, then take it out of the oven and drain the excess liquid that accumulated in the pan. Tent tent loosely with aluminum foil and return to the oven. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes; after that time, remove the foil, drain excess liquid once again and resume baking for 15 minutes more, or until the top is nice and crispy and brown.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. This rest time will help it hold its shape a little better, plus, it will prevent you from burning your tongue and all…
When ready to serve, sprinkle a little bit of grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on top of your meatloaf, if you feel like it!
Oh, and if you should be lucky enough to generate leftovers, try reheating the slices in a frying pan over medium heat, in a little bit of ghee or olive oil…
- 900g (2lb) lean ground beef
- 2 cups (275g | 9.7oz) grated zucchini, grated and squeezed dry (about 2 large, weigh after squeezing)
- 1 cup (125g | 4.4oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup (60g | 2.1oz) grated parmesan
- ¼ cup (30g | 1.05oz) chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 1- 170g (6oz) can tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp dried onion flakes
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead with your hands until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan; press it down and shape the top so it looks nice and round.
- Place your meatloaf in the oven and place a broiler pan or large piece of aluminum foil directly underneath it to collect any drippings that will eventually leak out of the pan.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then drain excess liquid, tent loosely with aluminum foil and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. After that time, remove foil, pour excess liquid once again and return to the oven for 15 minutes more, or until the top is nice and brown.
- Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Sprinkle with a little bit of grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley at the moment of serving, if desired.