I wanted to make a healthier meatloaf with lots of vegetables in it. At one time I made a delicious one for my husband and I, but last night I couldn’t find the recipe. I didn’t want to completely wing it (no pun intended), so I dug around and used a few recipes (1, 2, 3, 4) I found online as guidelines. I also wanted to use what I had in the house.

Generally I try to use organically grown or raised foods. I also avoid dairy products, wheat (and or gluten) and egg yolks due to allergies. In October I tried being vegan, mostly succeeding, since I’m not really supposed to eat meat either (too bad it tastes so good). The only exception I made was eating fish about four times. At the beginning of this month I reintroduced meat into my diet, only eating it during one meal a day and being otherwise vegan. Honestly I am feeling much better than before my “diet” when I was eating meat more often. I still think I would feel even better if I didn’t eat meat daily, since my stomach usually lacks the enzymes to efficiently and effectively digest meat. (Mental note: pick up digestive enzyme supplements.)

This meatloaf is actually dairy and wheat free. If you want, it should be rather easy to make it without eggs by using flax or chia “eggs” instead*. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. Sorry I didn’t take many pictures. (We were entertaining guests. It wasn’t done until midnight, and we were in a hurry and starving.) Keep in mind that when I served up the portions, I cut it into six rather large pieces (four and an half square inches), but you could cut it smaller to serve with salad or a side of veggies.

Chicken Vegetable Meatloaf
Serves 6 – 9

Ingredients
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
2 T Garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 C Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns, ground
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Brunches Broccoli, finely chopped
1 pkg Frozen Mixed Vegetables, chopped
3-4 Stalks Celery, chopped, optional
2 Medium Carrots, chopped, optional
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 lb Pesto or Italian Chicken Sausage, removed from casings
1 Egg or 2 Egg Whites*
1 1/2 T Italian Seasoning
1/2 T Herbs de Provence
2 tsp Mustard Seed, fine ground
2 T Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce
1 1/2 T Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with foil, and lightly coat the foil with oil.

Saute the onion and garlic in oil until the onions turn clear. Add the broth, vegetables, salt and pepper and cook the mixture on medium heat for 8 minutes. (You can add herbs and spices now or later, depending on how strong you want them to taste.) Set aside.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, hand mix the meat, egg, herbs, sauces and vinegar. Mix the vegetables in the meat.

Transfer the meat-vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Smooth the mixture to evenly distribute it in the dish. Cover the loaf with foil, and bake it for 30 minutes. Uncover the meatloaf, and bake it another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle (do not touch the thermometer to the bottom of the dish) reads between 160 and 170 degrees F. Remove the dish from the oven to cool for 5 minutes. Portion the meatloaf as you like. Serve and enjoy.

Note: You can wait until the meat is fully cooked to use the teriyaki as a glaze on top instead of adding it to the meat mixture earlier on, if you like, for a different texture and color.

*Typically flax or chia (yes, the same seeds used on chia pets) eggs are made by mixing one tablespoon of either kind of seed (I prefer ground for a smoother texture) and three tablespoons on water. If you want a more yellow or golden color to your eggs, use golden flax seeds. If you aren’t worried about the eggs affecting the color of your dish, go ahead and use brown flax or chia, which I have found only in black with white speckles and turn gray when ground up.

One of the reasons it took so long to make this dish is that one of my meat thermometers broke. I’m very glad I had an extra one to double check. If it takes longer than an hour to reach 160 degrees F, definitely double check. I highly recommend having a back-up cooking thermometer! In addition, I also recommend testing your oven with an oven thermometer before hand to learn how to trick your it into cooking at the right temperature; many ovens out there are inaccurate to varying amounts in either direction. So be careful. I ended up baking the meatloaf for at least an extra hour.

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