We love BBQ season as much as the next Canadian family, but some days in spring are still cool enough to open the windows and fire up the oven. Case in point: spring 2013. Which – basically – has sucked. Yesterday it was cool and rainy and the perfect chance to turn what was going to be BBQ beef burgers into another equally cheap, filling & kid-pleasing dinner: meatloaf! This meatloaf is like a meal all in one – loaded with protein, gluten-free, high-fiber and packed with vitamins & antioxidants.

OK, before your groan and roll your eyes, I can’t be held responsible for what your mother served you once per week for 18 years. We didn’t eat meatloaf when I was a kid. Tell me it’s chicken cacciatore tonight and I might huff and puff like a teenager, but meatloaf is something I’ve not eaten enough to tire of. Meatloaf makes great leftovers, cold or hot, and there are few other ways to feed your family meat so inexpensively – this recipe will run you about $1.00/person.

Since I like to sneak a few little extras into old-school meals like meatloaf, I’ve tweaked this recipe to make it healthier than the standard hospital cafeteria fare. And you don’t even need to tell anyone what you’ve snuck into it because I guarantee they won’t know. Add your own twist with different spices or veggies and herbs. Yum!


Southwest Kale + Oat Meatloaf


  • 1-1.5 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small head kale, leaves trimmed, washed and chopped fine
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup salsa (or ketchup)
  • 1 T each: chili powder, oregano
  • 1 t each: cumin, thyme, cayenne or ground chipotle (cayenne/chipotle optional)
  • a few splashes worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • generous pinches of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper


Glaze (optional)


  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground chipotle/cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 splash worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking tray or large dish with aluminum foil. 2. Combine oats & milk to soften a bit; set aside. 3. Combine eggs, salsa, spices, salt & pepper, herbs, kale + garlic. 4. Add oats + meat; blend with hands until just mixed. 5. Shape into a loaf on tray and place in oven; immediately turn oven down to 350 degrees. 6. Bake 30 minutes – meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in small bowl and set aside – after 30 minutes, remove briefly to brush loaf generously with glaze. 7. Bake 15 minutes more, & remove to add second coat of glaze. 8. Bake 15-30 minutes more to desired doneness.

Tip: If you keep the glaze uncontaminated (i.e., pour over loaf when you glaze and don’t let your dirty brush enter the dish) you can serve the remaining glaze as a dipping sauce. But… I prefer sriracha!  🙂

Enjoy! This is hearty enough to serve without a side starch. I often serve this meatloaf with a couple of hot vegetables and a salad. Last night we needed some carb-y comfort, so we had basmati rice cooked in a little garlic & cumin, with corn tossed in after cooking, to continue the southwest theme. The theme ended there… broccoli & carrots are about as hospital cafeteria as you can get, but kids love them and they were in the fridge!

Here are a few more shots of my recent meals, for inspiration!