Meat Loaf From 'Lighten Up, America!'

Meat Loaf with Spinach
Hélène Dujardin

Of all the recipes in Allison Fishman Task's new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, her healthier meatloaf was one of the most intriguing. She lightens the loaf in a few ways: first she uses ground sirloin mixed with veal and pork for a leaner meat blend, next she adds whole grain oats instead of bread to bulk out the meat, and then she stirs in a box of wilted baby spinach for color and extra nutrition. Task finishes her meatloaf with a classic glaze made from ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar.

Why I picked this recipe: Meatloaf is the first thing I think of when I think of classic American food.

What worked: Adding spinach was a smart choice: the greens added a brilliant pop of color and complementary earthiness.

What didn't: Don't make the same mistake I did and wring out the spinach after cooking it. The meatloaf needs the additional moisture.

Suggested tweaks: If you aren't keen on adding spinach juice to your meatloaf, you'll want to soak the oats ahead of time. Water will work, but milk would be better. If you don't want to use veal, you can substitute more sirloin. I wouldn't recommend cutting out the pork.

Reprinted with permission from Lighten Up, America! Favorite American Foods Made Guilt-Free by Allison Fishman Task. Copyright 2013. Published by Oxmoor House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 85 mins
Serves: 8 servings

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  • For the Meat Loaf:
  • 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Cooking spray
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C).

  2. For the Meat Loaf: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add spinach and 2 tablespoons water to pan. Cover and steam 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove pan from heat; cool 5 minutes.

  3. Combine ground sirloin, veal, pork, and next 8 ingredients (through egg white) in a large bowl and gently mix just until combined. Add spinach and oats and gently mix until blended.

  4. In a 9 x 13–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray, shape mixture into a 9 x 5–inch loaf.

  5. For the Glaze: Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar, stirring with a whisk until blended. Brush glaze over meat loaf. Bake at 450°F (232°C) for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (180°C). Bake an additional 45 minutes or until done; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

  6. Per 1 slice serving: CALORIES 218; FAT 6.8g (sat 2.5g, mono 2.6g, poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 25.3g; CARB 14.7g; FIBER 1.9g; CHOL 93mg; IRON 2.7mg; SODIUM 498mg; CALC 42mg