The idea of meatloaf doesn’t necessarily bring to mind the most positive of images. Dry, grey, greasy-spoon (or school cafeteria!) fare, served alongside wilted canned green beans and instant mashed potatoes. This of course is a gross generalization, and I am here to show you that meatloaf can be delicious, a bit spicy and even healthy!

This recipe has been adapted from Alton Brown. In the original, he uses more than a kilo of ground/minced meat, which seems a bit excessive to me. I’ve tinkered quite a bit with the recipe, to find the right vegetable-to-meat ratio so that it holds together well.  The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the glaze on the meatloaf; its tangy/spicy/sweetness really brings out the flavors of the garlicky meatloaf.

And by all means, serve your meatloaf with green beans and spuds, but please use fresh ingredients, no one wants mash from a box.


  • 500 grams ground beef/veal (carne picada)
  • a package (80 g) of garlic croutons (picatostes de ajo)
  • 1 carrot
  • half an onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pimentón dulce (sweet paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón picante (hot paprika – or you can use cayenne)
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón de la vera (smoked paprika)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 60 grams ketchup
  • 1/2 TB honey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of hot sauce, like Tabasco or Espidaler
  • dash of Worcestershire or brown sauce


Preheat oven to 180ºC/360ºF.

In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, paprikas and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. (Note: before I had a food processor – thanks Mom! – I used to mince the shit out of the vegetables (technical term) with a knife until they were of a fine texture. And I would pulverize the croutons by beating the bag w- a wooden spoon. In some ways highly satisfying. But I digress.)

Combine the vegetable mixture and carne picada with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the sea salt. Add the beaten egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat, this is what makes meatloaf tough.

Form a large ball with the meat mixture and place it onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat the meat into a loaf form. You can also form it into an oblong shape with a round ball stuck to one end of it and call it a cat loaf. (Muffin doesn’t find this amusing.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, honey, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and cumin. Brush onto the meatloaf after it has been baking for 15 minutes.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 70ºC/155ºF. This is a more accurate way of determining doneness, and keeps you from over-baking (and thus drying out) the meatloaf.

Servings: Four generous portions. 430 calories.


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