Asian Flavored Mini Meatloaves


Mini meatloaves accented with ginger and soy make for a great make-ahead midweek meal. photo by: Nancy Duran

Unlike a lot of Americans, I didn’t grow up eating meatloaf. In fact, I didn’t even try it until I was eleven years old. I do, however, remember that day clearly. I was having dinner over at a friend’s house and they were serving meatloaf. I was the type of kid who was open to trying new foods (surprise, surprise) so I eagerly dove in. It was love at first bite. Something about the concoction spoke to my carnivorous heart. To this day, I absolutely love meatloaf.

A basic meatloaf recipe is a bit of a blank canvas, ripe for creative inspiration. And yet, do a search for meatloaf recipes on the internet, and you’ll mostly turn up variations on the same theme. Practically every culture in the world has their own way of flavoring ground meat, whether it be kofta in the Middle East, larb in Thailand, or meatballs in Italy. I like to take those flavors and use them to change up my meatloaf, giving it a different spin depending upon the cuisine I feel like visiting that day.

I’ve been making an Asian meatloaf for years. I think I may have perfected it here. Fresh ginger, pungent cilantro, and a sweet and salty sauce come together in just the right balance in this mix. And I use a combination of ground beef and pork for a beautiful texture, richness, and depth of flavor.

Serve these mini meatloaves with a crisp vegetable dressed up with Asian flavors, such as Orange and Ginger Scented Broccoli or Sesame and Soy Baby Bok Choy. I think you’ll find that there’s a lot to love about this humble midweek meal.

Makes 8 (1/2-cup) meatloaves

Cooking spray for greasing the muffin tin
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 8 (1/2 cup) muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Using your hands, mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups.
  3. Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the meatloaves are beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin. Dab with a paper towel to remove any excess grease and serve.

Nutritional analysis per individual meatloaf:
Calories 206, Fat 12g, Sodium 195 mg, Carbohydrate 5g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 2g, Protein 17g

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