Family Friendly Recipes

Garden Meatloaf

Garden Meatloaf
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Garden Meatloaf

I typically make this Garden Meatloaf after I harvest my vegetables from the garden.  This time I just had an abundance of vegetables in the house, so it was time to use some up.  I know many people use a mix of ground beef and pork to keep their Meatloaf tender.  I found the following trick to do the same thing with just using ground beef.

Yes, ground beef can sometimes dry out and get tough.  However, baking soda mixed with water (slurry) and added to the ground beef will ensure tender meat.  It will also speed up the browning process.  I use 90% ground beef, but it is very tender by adding the baking soda.

Make a slurry with the 2 tablespoons of water and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  Mix thoroughly with the ground beef.  Let sit for a 5 minutes to absorb throughout the meat.

Dice up all of your vegetables. I had some diced tri-color peppers, but you can just use green peppers if that is all you have.  I don’t always add the carrot, they will get tender, but it is a different texture than the rest of the Meatloaf.  I have also used a diced tomato from the garden.  Just not the seeds or juice.  You can also add a small can of drained, whole canned tomatoes that you have crushed through your fingers.  If I add crushed, drained whole tomatoes, I typically cut back on the ketchup.  I was actually out of both this time, so they didn’t make it in, but I do typically add one or the other.  Diced mushrooms also work.  Basically, whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Meatloaf - Diced Vegetables

I use Italian bread crumbs.  Plain bread crumbs just don’t have enough flavor for this.  After you add your diced vegetables and Italian bread crumbs into the bowl, add in your minced garlic, eggs, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.  Finally add in the ketchup and then the fun begins.  Mix everything thoroughly with clean hands.  I tend to leave everything sit for about 30 minutes before I mix the meatloaf together.  That is just so my hands don’t get too cold while mixing.  Form into a meatloaf and place into a loaf pan.  Spread ketchup liberally on top of the meatloaf.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.  Drain well before serving.


If you would like to know if you have the seasonings to your taste, take a small hamburger size patty and fry it in a small pan to taste it.  Adjust the seasonings as needed.

If you like my Garden Meatloaf Recipe, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you made it, post your wonderful images on Instagram and tag me. Don’t forget to subscribe and you will be emailed each time I post a new recipe.

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Garden Meatloaf

April 17, 2021

Not your typical Meatloaf.


  • 2 pounds ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small red peppers, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, small diced, no juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • Additional ketchup to spread on top of meatloaf
  • Step 1 In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef.  Make a slurry with the water and baking soda.  Add it to the ground beef and mix thoroughly.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2 Then add the remaining ingredients.
  • Step 3   Mix thoroughly and shape into meatloaf. Placed formed meatloaf into a loaf pan.
  • Step 4 Spread ketchup on top of formed meatloaf.
  • Step 5 Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Drain well before serving.


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