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No one will be arguing over the end piece again, because with this recipe for Mini Meatloaf with a homemade tangy tomato glaze, EVERY piece has that gloriously browned crust covering a supremely moist, flavorful center! This meatloaf recipe boasts easy to serve, individually sized portions with the tastiest tomato glaze ever! A simple classic recipe that your family is guaranteed to love!
Fun Fact: I grew up Vegetarian. I can honestly say that for twenty years, I had not one bite of meat.
So while the rest of you kids were having momma’s Meatloaf Monday on a reoccurring rotation, I was living a meatless (every)day type of life where meatloaf was pretty much not even a thought in my mind.
But don’t let that sway you on my on my authority on the subject! I’ve tried many a-loaf-o-meat in my day since my vegetarian conversion and I can say that I have TWO recipes that reign supreme over the rest! This “Tangy Tomato Glazed Mini Meatloaf” recipe is ONE of them.. and the other is from my girl Ina Garten and I will definitely be sharing that one with you in the future as well! So just, hold tight on that…
Why This Recipe Works!
Food Processor: This is my go-to solution when it comes to achieving finely minced vegetables in record breaking time! No need to chop away endlessly on cutting board. Save the time and effort!
Fresh Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are used in to add texture to meatloaf. This recipe requires a slice of soft, fresh sandwich bread instead of dry packaged breadcrumbs. And it DOES make a difference! I like to use the softest, buttery bread I can find. Martin’s sandwich Potato Bread works great!
Saute the Vegetables First- After the veggies are minced along with some fresh herbs in the food processor, I like to saute them with a bit of oil. This will give the meatloaf a much better taste than adding raw vegetables. It will also ensure that all the vegetables are soft and cooked thoroughly. A par cooked chunk of onion in a meatloaf in not something to be desired.
Individual Sized: Everyone knows the end piece is the best piece, so why not make them ALL end pieces! Plus shaping them into smaller loaves, instead of one large meatloaf cuts down the cooking time and gets dinner served in half the time!
Homemade Tomato Glaze: With just a few common pantry staples and about 5 minutes you can elevate this meatloaf topping and make a more flavorful and complex tomato glaze that is 1000x better than the ordinary Ketchup topping
Ingredients for the Mini Meatloaf
Fresh Bread Crumbs: soft sandwich bread ground in food processor
Vegetables/Aromatics: Onion, Celery, Carrots, Garlic, Thyme, Chives, Parsley
Ground Beef: I used 85/15 and I think that is a good compromise between an ultra lean 90/10 and fattier 80/20
Spices/ Flavor Boosters: Smoked Paprika, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, kosher salt and black pepper.
Binders: Egg & Milk (optional) Now the reason I’m saying that the milk is optional is because by using the fresh bread crumbs and a medium amount of fat in the ground beef, there should already be enough moisture in this recipe to hold it all together. But if you are substituting dried breadcrumbs or using a leaner ground beef ratio, I would go ahead and add the milk. Use your good judgement on wether or not you think your meatloaf mix needs it. There’s a fine line between being moist and being wet, you don’t want to cross it.
How to Make Mini Meatloafs
Use a food processor to pulse sandwich bread to make the freshest bread crumbs and then transfer to large mixing bowl.
Then pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme and chives in food processor to a fine mince. Soften vegetables over medium heat with a bit olive oil in sauce pan for about 5-7 minutes. The add to the same mixing bowl as the breadcrumbs. You will want to let it cool slightly. (This would be a good time to make the tomato glaze. )
Add the egg, (milk if using), ketchup, smoked paprika, Worcestershire, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Use a fork to mix together with the breadcrumbs and vegetables.
Now add the ground beef, continue to mix and incorporate all ingredients together. I like to use a fork with mixing ground beef. I feel like it’s more gentle than a mixing spoon. I try to use a motion that I like to call, scrape and fluff. You really don’t want to mash it up and over mix- the result will be dense and chewy.
Form into about 6 or 7 loaf shaped individual portions. They should form together easily, no need to squeeze. Arrange onto baking sheet with rack and foil lined bottom tray to catch any drippings. Then spread tomato glaze over the tops.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.
How to Make Tangy Tomato Glaze
Wipe clean or quickly rinse the the same sauce pan used to saute the vegetables. Over low heat combine: tomato paste, olive oil, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire and Dijon mustard. Stir until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Adjust taste with salt. Then take off heat and set aside until ready to top the mini meatloaf portions.
Tangy Tomato Glazed Mini Meatloaf
For the Mini Meat Loaves:
- 1 slice sandwich bread potato bread
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 large carrot
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 ¼ lb ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup Milk *see note
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt and black pepper.
For the Tangy-Tomato Glaze:
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp Worcheshire Sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Pulse sandwich bread in food processor to make bread crumbs. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
- Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme and chives in food processor to a fine mince.
- Saute' minced aromatics in sauce pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer to large mixing bowl with breadcrumbs and let cool.
- To make glaze, combine: tomato paste, olive oil, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire and Dijon mustard in saucepan over low heat. Stir until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add salt. Take off heat and set aside.
- To same mixing bowl add: egg, ketchup, smoked paprika, Worcestershire, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Use a fork to mix together with the breadcrumbs and vegetables. Add the ground beef, continue to mix and incorporate all ingredients together. Be careful not to over mix!
- Use clean hands to form into individual mini meatloafs. Try to use the same amount for each one, to ensure even cooking.
- Spread the tomato glaze over top of each meatloaf.
- Arrange onto baking sheet with rack and foil lined bottom tray to catch any drippings.
- Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F
- Remove from oven and serve.