Better Meatloaf

Serves 8.

Note: From Ellie Krieger.

• 1 small zucchini, peeled if desired

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 medium onion, half finely chopped, half cut into thin rings

• 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 tbsp. tomato paste

• 2 eggs, lightly beaten

• 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (90 or 93% lean)

• 3/4 c. quick-cooking oats

• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tsp. molasses

• 1 tsp. yellow or Dijon mustard

• 1 (8-oz.) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grate the zucchini on the large-holed side of a box grater. Place the zucchini into a strainer or colander in the sink to drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften slightly. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste until the mixture is evenly coated. Remove from the heat.

Use your hands to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the grated zucchini.

Beat the eggs lightly in a mixing bowl. Add the ground beef, oats, Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, all the black pepper, the onion-bell pepper mixture and the zucchini, mixing with your hands until just incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, then shape it into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches tall.

Stir together the molasses, mustard and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the tomato sauce in a large liquid measuring cup. Pour half to two-thirds of the sauce over the meatloaf, enough so the sauce covers the top of the loaf and drips down the sides a little, but without much overflowing onto the pan. Reserve the rest of this ketchup-like sauce to serve alongside the finished meatloaf.

Arrange the thinly sliced onion rings on top. Bake on the middle rack for about 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees. Let the meatloaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 240 Fat 12 g

Sodium 560 mg Saturated fat 4 g

Carbohydrates 13 g Total sugars 5 g

Protein 21 g Cholesterol 100 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g