Skinny Meatloaf Recipe

Skinny meatloaf offers a lighter twist on the classic comfort food without compromising on flavor. This healthy version uses lean ground beef, whole grain breadcrumbs, and a variety of vegetables to keep it moist and flavorful while reducing the overall fat and calorie content. Perfect for a nutritious weeknight dinner, this skinny meatloaf is sure to become a family favorite.


  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (for topping)


1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease a loaf pan.

2. Prepare the Vegetables:

  • Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Grate the carrot and zucchini. If the zucchini is very watery, squeeze out the excess moisture using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

3. Mix the Ingredients:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, whole grain breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, grated carrot, grated zucchini, applesauce, beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and dried thyme. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. It’s easiest to use your hands for this step, but you can also use a large spoon.

4. Shape the Meatloaf:

  • Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet or loaf pan. Shape it into a loaf about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide if using a baking sheet.

5. Prepare the Topping:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Spread this mixture evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

6. Bake:

  • Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). If using a loaf pan, it may take slightly longer to cook through.

7. Let it Rest:

  • Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This helps to keep the meatloaf moist and makes it easier to slice.

8. Serve:

  • Slice the meatloaf and serve with your favorite side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a fresh salad.

Tips for Success:


  • Lean Ground Beef: Using 90% lean ground beef helps to reduce the fat content while still providing enough moisture and flavor. You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken for an even leaner option.
  • Whole Grain Breadcrumbs: Whole grain breadcrumbs add extra fiber and nutrients compared to traditional white breadcrumbs.
  • Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce adds moisture and a hint of sweetness without added sugar or fat.
  • Vegetables: Incorporating grated vegetables like carrot and zucchini not only adds nutrition but also keeps the meatloaf moist.

This skinny meatloaf is a healthier take on a classic dish, offering a delicious and nutritious meal option for any night of the week. Packed with lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables, it’s a meal you can feel good about serving to your family. The easy preparation and flavorful result make it a go-to recipe for busy weeknights or weekend dinners. Give this recipe a try and enjoy a guilt-free version of this beloved comfort food!

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