There are a lot of meatloaf biases. Seems that people either love it or hate it, with the majority not loving it. It is practically a metaphor for bland, boring and totally tasteless. For a whole generation meatloaf for dinner meant there was no money for anything more desirable (see bland, boring and tasteless above). Admittedly for others meatloaf + mashed potatoes = comfort food. This recipe for meatloaf changes the meatloaf playing field entirely. A totally new paradigm even. There is a fair amount of
tedious chopping vegetable prep but it smells so good when the vegetables roast and tastes so amazing that - like childbirth - the less-pleasant aspects recede and all you remember is that this is good. Admittedly it is a home-y kind of meal, more diner than haute cuisine but the herbs give it a nice kick, the vegetables rescue it from blandness and it is... really, really good.
Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf
3 small zucchini , diced
3 red bell peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 lbs ground beef
2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine zucchini, peppers and onions in medium bowl. Add oil and 1 Tbsp rosemary; toss to coat. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender - about 25 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Change oven temperature to 375 F. Mix ground beef, mozzarella, panko, basil, marjoram, salt, pepper, dried crushed pepper, remaining rosemary, and 1 cup roasted vegetables. Whisk together ketchup and eggs; add to beef mixture. Stir with wooden spoon until well incorporated. Spoon into 9x5x3 loaf pan, forming rounded top. Bake until cooked through, juices run clear and top is browned - about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes. Rewarm remaining vegetables. Turn meatloaf out and cut into 1" thick slices.
I like to serve this with potatoes and cauliflower mashed together, along with another green vegetable and of course, the remaining roasted vegetables. Helps immensely with achieving the goal to eat 6-8 servings of vegetables a day. Win/win. And honestly, I haven't heard a single complaint.