Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes

A Different Kind of Meatloaf

Confession time: I like meatloaf.

I know, I know. Meatloaf isn’t exactly gourmet or pretty or anything like that. While it tastes good, it looks funny and kind of gross. I mean, it’s a lump of meat with some sauce. But once you get over that initial aversion and flashbacks to the elementary school cafeteria’s mystery meat… it’s not that bad. Just some meat, baked in a pan, with some flavorings thrown in. Not so bad, huh? And if you make it yourself, then you know exactly what is in it–no mystery at all!

I have several meatloaves [is that a word?] that I like to make–a classic recipe of my mom’s, and a BBQ bacon cheddar meatloaf that is tasty too! While my husband likes both meatloaves and inhales them because he loves meat, there is one thing he dislikes about my meatloaves: the inclusion of the onion.

Ben despises and hates onions with a passion. This hatred of onions was exacerbated when he lost a March Madness bet in college and had to eat an onion like an apple.

Ben eating an onion
Big bite!
Ben eating an onion
Now swallow!
Ben eating an onion
Not doing so well… poor guy!

I didn’t know him at the time, but from what I’ve heard, this was not a fun night. Fortunately the girl [yes–a girl bet him on this one :)] was nice and let him off the hook pretty soon after these photos were taken. However, the damage was done. The hatred Ben had prior to this event has just grown. While he will tolerate onions in many dishes, he’ll pick them out most of the time. This happens a lot, because many of my favorite recipes include onions–and I love the flavor of onions. However, because I love him, I will decrease the amount of onion but if it’s there, it’s there, and Ben knows it.

So, what does all this talk of onion have to do with meatloaf? Well, recently we had meatloaf on the menu… and I decided to create an onion-less meatloaf. To do this, and do it well, I decided to avoid the traditional tomato-based flavor palate of meatloaf and branch out. The result? A dish made with a combination of Southwest and Indian-esque spices with just enough kick to remind you of their presence, paired with beef, bread crumbs, egg, and cheese to remind you that this is meatloaf after all.




Satisfying… even when onion-less.

Onion-less salsa meatloaf to please even the pickiest eaters!

Finally, I apologize for this picture… meatloaf is ridiculously hard to photograph! This dish is really tasty, I promise, even if it doesn’t look it!

A Different Kind of Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6
  • Print


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup salsa – be sure to pick an onion-less variety if that’s an issue for you
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
  • cooking spray


Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine all ingredients well, then transfer to the loaf pan. Top with cheddar cheese if desired. Bake for 60 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Are you into meatloaf… the dish or the singer, take your pick!


8 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Meatloaf”

  1. Aww I think it’s so sweet of you to accommodate your husband’s tastes! I don’t know that I could ever be as nice as all that…especially because I ADORE onions! This meatloaf sounds delicious though! An interesting combination of flavors!


  2. I’m so glad I’m not the only closet meatloaf fan around. It’s a classic in my family. Our recipe was devised by my great Aunt Mazelle (great name, isn’t it?) and has come to be fondly known as Crazy Mazie’s. With such a strong tradition, it will be difficult to get my family to even consider any other meatloaf, and my poor Aunt Mazelle will probably roll over in her grave. But this recipe is tempting enough for me to give it a shot.

    By the way, I had a Granny Abbott (my family is clearly not lacking in excellent names) who would regularly cut up an entire onion into one bowl of chili or beans and cornbread. She was also known to eat a whole onion like an apple simply because she enjoyed it, without losing any bets. She would have loved to have taken your husband’s place 🙂


    1. Your family sounds hilarious! 🙂 My grandpa is like your granny- he eats onion sandwiches and will just bite into them like an apple too. Crazy! I like onions but not like that!


  3. First, meat loaf is amazing! Second, salsa most likely has onions in it. So I’m not sure how “onionless” this meatloaf was. And lastly, I’m not a fan of large onions either! So after chopping the onions up as small as I can, I use the side of my knife to smash the onions. This will give your the nessisary onion flavor without ever knowing onions were over in the loach goodness!!! Try it and get back to me. Best of


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