This isn’t just any homemade meatloaf! This balsamic meatloaf with vegetables recipe is juicy and moist, featuring sauteed onion, zucchini, and carrot. It’s topped with a balsamic vinegar and ketchup glaze that caramelizes as it cooks for a ton of flavor.
“MA THE MEATLOAF!!” <— There’s no way that I can cook or eat meatloaf without that Wedding Crashers quote being yelled around the house throughout the day. No possible way.
But I’ll gladly endure obsessive movie quoting if it means that balsamic meatloaf with vegetables is for dinner. This is a meatloaf recipe worth craving!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- No need to worry about dry meatloaf with this recipe. It’s incredibly juicy, which is only helped by the fact that there’s a whole onion, zucchini, and carrot added into the mix.
- And speaking of, this recipe for balsamic meatloaf with vegetables is a slam dunk on sneaking carrot and zucchini into a dish they typically aren’t. Grating them is key, not only for helping them fly under the radar but for helping the mixture become more cohesive.
- The glaze might just be my favorite part of this meatloaf. Equal parts balsamic vinegar and ketchup, the glaze deepens and the sugar in the ketchup begins to caramelize during the cook time. Some of the run-off glaze will cook into little crispy bits on the sheet pan, and my husband and I will fight each other to grab those bits for our own plates.
- Meat: I use an equal mix of ground beef and ground pork, but you can also use a packaged meatloaf blend for convenience if your store carries that. Either 85/15 or 80/20 is my pick for the beef as the fat can cook out on the baking sheet.
- Breadcrumbs: The larger size of panko is my preference for meatloaf, but regular or seasoned breadcrumbs also work. I’ll frequently combine the two varieties if I don’t have enough panko on hand.
- Vegetables: Grating the carrot and zucchini helps them blend right into the finished product. Besides a hint of color they’re really not noticeable at all, but help on the moisture front. The zucchini in the ingredients picture above had been frozen and thawed before sautéing if you notice the extra water content.
- Begin by adding olive oil to a large pan set over medium-high heat. Once heated, add diced onion, grated carrot, grated zucchini, pressed garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have slightly softened. Set the pan aside for now so the vegetables can cool a bit before handling.
- Now’s a good time to heat your oven to 400°F/204°C. Add the remainder of the meatloaf ingredients to a large mixing bowl, taking care to only add half of the ketchup and balsamic vinegar (three tablespoons each) in this part of the recipe.
- Pour the slightly-cooled sauteed vegetables into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- With your hands (my choice), spoon, or sturdy spatula, mix everything together just until all of the ingredients are evenly-dispersed. The meatloaf mixture should resemble one gigantic meatball in looks and consistency.
- Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper, then turn out the meatloaf mixture onto the center of it and press it into a rectangular loaf. Pack it in well as it being dense will mean it holds together well once cooked and sliced. Also make sure it’s about the same height throughout so it cooks evenly.
- Whisk/stir together the reserved balsamic vinegar and ketchup in a small bowl, then brush it all over the top and sides of the meatloaf.
Magic happens while the meatloaf bakes and leads to a deeply caramelized glaze that tastes much fancier than simply balsamic vinegar and ketchup mixed together.
- Bake the meatloaf for an hour and ten minutes, or until the center registers at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. Let the meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Be sure not to skip letting this meatloaf with vegetables rest for at least ten minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows it to cool off some, but will also help it slice cleaner.
- Glazing the meatloaf before it bakes allows the sugars to really caramelize and results in super crispy glaze bits along the bottom edges (you can see it in these pictures). If you’d rather not have the glaze quite as caramelized, you can instead take the meatloaf out of the oven halfway through the cook time to add the glaze then.
Eggs work in meatloaf to act as a binding ingredient. Flax eggs work in a similar capacity and have the benefit of being vegan and cholesterol-free. To make one “egg”, stir together one heaping tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water (double this to replace the two eggs in this recipe). Let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken, then use in place of the eggs.
One hour and fifteen minutes should do it, though times may vary. I use an instant-read thermometer (affiliate link) to make sure the center of the meatloaf reaches 160°F, as that’s the USDA recommendation for safely cooking ground beef and pork. If using a meatloaf blend for this meatloaf with vegetables (or making up your own) that includes ground chicken or turkey, then you’ll want the meatloaf to reach 165°F. The food safety temperature is a bit higher for poultry.
A side salad is what I go with most of the time, but sometimes jazz it up with something else, too. If you want to utilize the long oven cook time, put in vegetables that roast at 400°F at the appropriate time to sync up with the meatloaf. If you’d rather steer clear of the oven altogether, sauteed green beans or mashed potatoes are done on the stovetop, and instant pot collard greens or an air fryer baked potato are made in other appliances altogether.
More Ground Meat Recipes
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Balsamic Meatloaf with Vegetables
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 zucchini peeled and grated
- 1 large carrot peeled and grated
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp ketchup divided (6 tbsp total)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar divided (6 tbsp total)
- Add olive oil to a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, carrot, onion, garlic, and a good shake of salt and pepper, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly tender. Remove from heat and let cool while you prep the rest of the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add eggs and lightly beat. Add ground beef, ground pork, panko breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, Parmesan, 3 tbsp ketchup, and 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Add sauteed vegetables and mix everything together with your hands or a spoon.
- Form the mixture into a loaf on parchment-lined sheet. Make sure you firmly pack in the loaf to help it stay together. Aim for the loaf to have the same height throughout so it cooks evenly.
- In a bowl, whisk together remaining 3 tbsp ketchup and 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Brush onto the tops and sides of the meatloaf.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the center of the meatloaf reaches 160°F and is no longer pink inside. Let meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- The consistency of the meatloaf should be similar to that of meatballs. It should hold together in a shape but not be crumbly or easily fall apart. If your mixture is too wet, add additional breadcrumbs until it reaches the right consistency. If it’s too dry, add a little extra ketchup.
- Letting the meatloaf rest for at least ten minutes before slicing helps prevent it from crumbling and mushing apart when you slice it.
- If you’d prefer a less dark and caramelized glaze, cook the meatloaf without glaze for 20-30 minutes before removing it, glazing it, and continue the cook process.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.
Adapted from Food Network