This meatloaf hits the spot the way the homestyle favorite should. It is hearty, moist and meaty, with a tangy tomato topping that cooks down to a mouthwatering glaze.
But this recipe has the bonus of being better for you than most for three reasons: It is made with lean meat; it incorporates a whole grain; and it has extra vegetables. Ground beef that is 90% lean or more is used in place of the more typical 75 to 85%, keeping this meatloaf well in the healthful zone when it comes to saturated fat. (You could substitute ground turkey, but I recommend getting the kind that has at least some dark meat mixed in, so that it also is about 90% lean.)
That leanness might ordinarily make for a dry, crumbly loaf. Not here, though. Substituting quick-cooking oats for the usual refined breadcrumbs serves to lock moisture in the mix, keeping the result supple and tender, not to mention adding fiber and whole-grain nutrition. The finely ground oats blend in seamlessly with the other ingredients once cooked, so rather than adding an oat-like texture, the blend still has the feel of the meatloaf you know and love. A whole, grated zucchini and finely chopped red bell pepper bring yet more moisture, nearly undetectable, and add a measure of vegetable goodness.
With those few changes and add-ins, you get all you want in a meatloaf in a better-for-you way that is not only the centerpiece of a heartwarming dinner but also makes an excellent lunch the next day, hot or cold.