Rest assured, this chicken meatloaf recipe with vegetables is NOT dry and boring. It’s soft, super moist and tasty with lots of hidden nutrition thanks to the onions, carrots and spinach. Your family will love this one.
And, if there are any meatloaf leftovers, it makes great sandwiches or pan-fried meatloaf the next day.
“This is delicious!” my husband announced after the first bite. “I’m glad you didn’t change anything for your blog”. Well… I kinda did. Years ago, I started adding vegetables to my meatloaves to make them more nutritious.
This time I took it one step further and used chicken to make an even healthier and lighter version. It’s about 300 calories for a thick slice. The chicken is a great alternative to ground beef used in traditional meatloaf.
The ground chicken meatloaf was so flavorful and tender that he didn’t even notice. (Unfortunately he liked it so much that he ate four slices!)
What to serve with chicken meatloaf
Some excellent sides for chicken meatloaf are Butternut Squash With Warm Cinnamon Dressing, Grilled Coleslaw (or any coleslaw), Root Vegetable Mash, Basic Mashed Potatoes and Mashed Potato Pancakes (especially if you have leftover mashed potatoes hanging around).
Tailor To Your Taste
Here are a several variations and substitutions you can use.
- Instead of carrots and spinach, try mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, broccoli or kale. Make sure the water evaporates when sautéing. Some chefs swear by mushrooms for increasing tenderness and adding flavor. The only vegetable I wouldn’t leave out is the onions.
- I used a very simple balsamic-ketchup glaze, but here’s how to make a classic meatloaf sweet ketchup glaze if you prefer: Combine ketchup – 1/3 cup ketchup/75 grams – with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon mustard.
- Instead of ketchup, use BBQ sauce. Even tomato sauce will work.
- Instead of milk, substitute broth, tomato juice or even wine.
- If you don’t have a good balsamic vinegar, you can use cider or red wine vinegar instead with a pinch of sugar. Some people use Worcestershire sauce instead of the Balsamic Vinegar.
How to make this ground chicken meatloaf recipe
- To speed things up, I use a processor to finely chop the onions, carrots, garlic and fresh spinach.
- Making a flatter loaf about 2 inches/5 cm tall cuts the baking time to only 30 minutes. [Because less breadcrumbs are used (for a less dense texture), the mixture is quite loose and doesn’t lend itself to a taller loaf unless you use a 5-inch loaf pan.]
- Lots of options here. The chicken meatloaf recipe can be made ahead and frozen raw, fully cooked then reheated in the next day or two, or frozen fully cooked then thawed and heated. Instructions are in the recipe.
What to do with chicken meatloaf leftovers
Here are some great ways to use leftover meatloaf. Chicken meatloaf of course can easily be substituted.
Looking for other low calorie dinners?
Check out our 31 delicious meals under 400 calories. Lots of variety. Light does not mean sacrifice.
If you love this chicken meatloaf recipe, you might might want to try our healthy meatloaf with mushroom gravy – also made with lots of veggies. Or check out one of our other best comfort food recipes.
Chicken Meatloaf Recipe With Vegetables
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, Note 1
- 1/4 large sweet onion
- 3 small carrots, peeled, Note 2 (or 1 medium-large)
- 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 2 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil
Breadcrumb & Seasoning Mixture
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (I use a bit less)
- 5 tablespoon milk (broth, tomato juice or wine can be used instead)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (good quality)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh or Italian seasoning)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste unless breadcrumbs or chicken have salt in them)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoon good quality Balsamic Vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400F/204C. Line a rimmed baking sheet – about 9 x 13 inch (33 x 23 cm) with parchment paper or aluminum foil, sprayed with cooking spray.
- PREPARE VEGETABLE FILLING: Cut onion and carrots in 2 inch pieces. Place in food processor along with spinach and garlic. Process on high for a minute until finely minced. Alternatively, chop all vegetables finely by hand. Heat oil in medium pan. Add vegetables and sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and all liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
- PREPARE BREADCRUMB AND SEASONING MIXTURE: In a large mixing bowl, mix bread crumbs and milk together. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in remaining breadcrumb-seasoning mixture ingredients. Mixture will be pasty.
- MAKE CHICKEN MEATLOAF: Add vegetable and ground chicken meat mixture to bowl. Using clean hands formed into 'claws', use a twisting motion to lightly mix chicken, vegetable and breadcrumb mixture together just until combined (don't over mix). Place mixture on baking sheet and form it into a loaf shape approximately 10-12 X 5 inches (25-30 X 12 cm) and about 2 inches/5cm high. Loaf will be quite wet and sticky.
- BAKE: Combine ketchup and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Note 3. Brush glaze on top and sides of loaf. Bake for 30 minutes. Instant thermometer should read 160F. Let sit for 5-7 minutes to keep juices in and for easier slicing. Slice and serve.
- Options for ground chicken: ground dark chicken meat, a blend of white and dark chicken meat, all white meat or ground turkey. If you all white meat which doesn’t have as much fat, I suggest adding another teaspoon or two of oil when you are sautéing the vegetables to help avoid a dry meatloaf.
- Vegetable options: instead of carrots and spinach, you can use mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, broccoli or kale. Make sure the water evaporates when sautéing. Some chefs swear by mushrooms for increasing tenderness and adding flavor. The only vegetable I wouldn’t leave out is the onions.
- Glaze alternative: Instead of a balsamic-ketchup glaze, make a classic meatloaf sweet ketchup glaze if you prefer: Combine 1/3 cup ketchup/75 grams with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon mustard.
- Make ahead:
- To store cooked chicken meatloaf: Cover leftovers with foil or a layer of plastic wrap and keep in fridge for up to 3 days.
- To freeze raw: Prepare loaf. Wrap the ground chicken mixture in foil and then in freezer bag. Freeze up to 6 months. Thaw in fridge the night before baking.
- To freeze cooked meatloaf: Cool loaf, then wrap well in foil and freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge.
- To reheat cooked loaf: Set oven for 300F/149C, place thawed loaf in shallow baking dish with a couple tablespoons broth or water (to keep it moist), cover pan tightly with foil and warm for 20-30 minutes.