Slice for easy serving and enjoy!

BBQ Meatloaf


Who could have ever thought that one of the absolute healthiest recipes in my repertoire would be a classic comfort food?  Between growing up in a Portuguese household and my father’s distaste for the dish, meatloaf was never ever on my radar until later in life when I dated someone who absolutely loved it.  He also loved BBQ ANYTHING. But, he was also super health conscious… I do love a good challenge though… So, I thought to myself, “Self… why not combine his favorite meal with his favorite flavor and figure out a way to make it healthy for a special stay at home ‘healthy’ date?!”  And the Healthy BBQ Meatloaf was born.

Although the relationship ended many many moons ago, this recipe has stood the test of time and been requested by friends and family time and time again over the years.  So I stopped calling it a “Healthy BBQ Meatloaf” and just call it plain ole “BBQ Meatloaf” and people know no difference. Where as a traditional meatloaf is made with ground beef, pork and veal, this version uses a combination of lean ground beef and ground turkey.  And honestly, I would put this meatloaf recipe up against the fattiest version your great Aunt Melba ever made!

What I like to do quite often is make up a double batch and freeze half.  My husband is not a big meatloaf fan in general.  His not growing up Portuguese left him scarred by meatloafs past.  So, this is something I make for my kids (who love it), friends (who instantly ask for the recipe) and my in-laws (who get excited to have it after their son’s avoidance of it). It’s great paired with a Basic Mashed Potato and green beans as seen above or real special with a home-made 4-Cheese Mac&Cheese and Pan Seared Asparagus.  It’s super easy to put together and even easier to pull out of the freezer and pop into the oven!

Start with 90% lean ground beef and ground turkey.

Add in two eggs.

Add in bread crumbs. These are just some home-made bread crumbs I happen to have on hand, if you don’t have home-made ones, you can just use store-bought. I go back and forth depending on what I have on hand.

Add those right into your bowl. If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, this works great with gluten-free bread crumbs.

Dice up some onions. I like a relatively small dice. This is up to your preference.

Dice up some celery. Again, I like a small dice.

Heat a small skillet with a bit of olive oil.

Saute onions and celery until soft.

Add in italian spices.

Add in ground sage. If you have some fresh sage, that’s good too, just be sure to mill it pretty well.

Add in some salt and pepper.

Now mix.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes off the heat. Then add into your bowl.

Once your onions and celery have been fully incorporated, form into a loaf in a pan.

Drizzle with BBQ sauce of your chosing.

At this point, you can either refrigerate for later or the next day, bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or freeze. I have done all three options and they have all worked out nicely.

Because of the little fat content in the meat itself, the loaf doesn't reduce quite as much as your traditional meatloaf.

Because of the little fat content in the meat itself, the loaf doesn’t reduce quite as much as your traditional meatloaf.

Remove from the loaf pan discarding any remaining fat from the sides and place on a serving plate.

Slice for easy serving and enjoy!


BBQ Meatloaf

Serves 4-6


1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2 eggs

1/2 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1/2 lb. ground turkey

1/4 cup diced onions

1/4 cup diced celery

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning mix

1/4 tsp. dry sage or 1 tsp. fresh sage, minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 tsp. olive oil

1/4 cup BBQ sauce plus more for dipping

1/4 fat free milk (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl mix meats, eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings.

In a small skillet heat olive oil and add in onions and celery.  Saute until soft.  Let stand off heat for 5 minutes or so. Then add into mixing bowl.

Form into a loaf shape in a loaf pan.  Glaze top with BBQ sauce.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from pan and serve on serving plate with extra BBQ sauce on the side.


***Make this gluten-free by substituting gluten-free bread crumbs and being sure the BBQ sauce is gluten-free.