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Miniature Meatloaves

  • Author: One Lovely Life, inspired by Smitten Kitchen
  • Yield: makes 24-30 meatballs 1x


I typically mix up the sauce while the vegetable mixture is cooking to save time. The sauce can be mixed up ahead of time and refrigerated, if you prefer.



For the meatloaves:

  • 2lbs ground beef (I used 85%. If you go much leaner, they’ll be dry)
  • 2 slices bread (regular or gluten free*)
  • 1 small onion (I like sweet onions)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce*
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1c ketchup*
  • 1/4c barbecue sauce*
  • 23 Tbsp brown sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce*
  • pinch black pepper


For the meatballs:

  1. Pulse bread in a food processor or blender until you get crumbs (they don’t need to be super-fine). Place crumbs and ground beef in a large bowl. Place onion, carrot, and bell pepper in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until fine, but not pureed.
  2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable mixture to the pan and cook until water is evaporated and vegetable mixture is just starting to caramelize and turn golden. Add vegetable mixture to the meat and bread crumbs.
  3. Add barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, salt and pepper to the meat and vegetable mixture. Working with your hands, combine all until mixed. Try not to over-mix as this can sometimes lead to tough meatballs.
  4. Divide mixture into 24-30 meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment.

For the sauce:

  1. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine ketchup, barbecue sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, Worcestershire, dijon, and pepper. Taste and add additional brown sugar if necessary (depending on how spicy your barbecue sauce is, you may want even more brown sugar. It’s your preference.).
  2. Brush or drop dollops of sauce over tops of meatballs.
  3. Bake meatballs at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through (a meat thermometer would register about 160 degrees).


*Gluten and dairy free notes: We’ve used Rudi’s or Udi’s gluten free bread with good success. Also, not all Worcestershire sauce is gluten free, so be sure to read your labels. We like Lea & Perrin’s brand. For barbecue sauce, we like Bone Suckin’ sauce, but Bull’s Eye and Stubb’s are also dairy and gluten free. We use Hunt’s No High Fructose Corn Syrup ketchup.