I have been going back and forth on how to label this recipe- I almost didn’t want to call it “low-fat.” I mean, that is the name of the original recipe and I suppose it is technically low-fat. But to me, low-fat implies a sad, limp egg whites with turkey bacon kind of situation. Or a cheese cake made entirely from fat-free cream cheese. No one goes out of their way to label naturally low-fat recipes as such, so saying that something is “low fat” is a blaring alert that you’re eating a bastardized version of a beloved recipe.

So I thought about mushroom-beefloaf, and some other wordy and awkward options, but the mushrooms are disguised as beef, so giving them top billing seemed misleading. Just calling it “meatloaf” was equally wrong: meatloaf is quick and easy, and while this recipe isn’t difficult on a technical scale, it takes more time than an average meatloaf (a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that involves one bowl can be found in The Joy of Cooking).

Which made me realize, no one would go through this many steps to make this meatloaf if it wasn’t low-fat- so I decided to give it its original name, with all its sad, substitute-y connotations- but DO NOT BE FOOLED- this meatloaf is good, with a complex flavor and meatiness- because while most “low fat” recipes send me running for the hills, Cook’s Illustrated always delivers, and what’s better, they don’t shave off calories by creating tiny serving sizes- so your taste buds and appetite will be fully satisfied. I encourage you to try this recipe, knowing that I wouldn’t put my name behind a low-fat dish I didn’t eat and enjoy myself. And I think scrambled egg whites are the devil.


 Some quick notes on this recipe: I made the meatloaf mix the night before and simply cooked it the next day to save time. Additionally, you can freeze it- either in whole, or in smaller portions, for later- using a disposable loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans), put the desired amount of the mixture in the container(s) and wrap it well with saran wrap. To cook, you can put the frozen meatloaf directly in the oven, testing the internal heat as the loaf cooks, cooking at normal temperature. 

Low-Fat Meatloaf
From Cook’s Country

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup tomato juice
  • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 1½ pounds 90 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. For the meatloaf: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet and arrange 8- by 6-inch piece of aluminum foil in center of rack. Using skewer, poke holes in foil at ½-inch intervals.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion and ¼ teaspoon salt until softened, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato juice and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Let mixture cool 5 minutes, then transfer mixture to food processor, add bread, and process until smooth. Add beef to food processor and pulse to combine.

3. Whisk egg, soy sauce, mustard, parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Add beef mixture and mix with hands until evenly combined. Using hands, shape mixture into loaf covering entirety of prepared foil. Bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove meatloaf from oven and heat broiler.

4. For the glaze: Combine ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar in small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Spread glaze over meatloaf and broil until glaze begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Serve.