Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls
These individual-serving Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls were a fun take on regular meatloaf! And this tasty recipe is low-glycemic, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet Phase Two, and you can use almond meal instead of breadcrumbs if you want it to be low-carb and gluten-free. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
If anyone is scratching their head over a recipe named Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls, let me start by telling you how I came up with Meatloaf Balls in the recipe title. A while ago, I happened to see a site where a famous food personality (who shall not be named!) was touting the idea of meatloaf cooked in muffin tins. I loved the idea, which sounded perfect for any house where some family members want different ingredients in their meatloaf than others.
I tried the meatloaf cooked in muffin tins, and (putting it as nicely as I can) it was horrible. All the fat from the meat collected in the bottom of the muffin tins, and the sides of the mini-meatloaves didn’t brown. I still liked the idea of individual meatloaves though, so I tried again, making the meatloaf mixture into large balls that I flattened down slightly when I cooked them. Voila, meatloaf balls! And if you have kids in the family who won’t eat red or green pepper, this recipe is a perfect one to divide into two variations to please the whole family.
Remove the ground beef and sweet Italian sausage from the fridge and break apart into a bowl, then let it come to room temperature while you chop and saute the vegetables. (If you’re adapting the recipe to please different members of the family, I’d put the meat into two bowls.) Since the meatloaf balls cook much more quickly than meatloaf, I sauteed the onion, red pepper, and green pepper before I added it to the meat. When the vegetables are starting to soften, add minced garlic, dried fennel, dried oregano, and dried basil and saute a few minutes more.
While vegetables are cooling, I added breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, Spike seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder to the meat. (I’m a bit of a fanatic about sprinkling these dry ingredients over the surface of the meat so they’ll get evenly distributed in the mixture.) Wash hands, then begin to mix the seasonings into the meat with your hands. Then add cooled onion-pepper mixture and 2 eggs to the bowl with the meat mixture, and mix a bit more with your hands. (Only mix as much as you need to to get the ingredients well-combined, because over-mixing makes tough meatloaf.)
For years I’ve used this kind of roasting tray to cook meatloaf, because the holes allow the fat to drain down into the lower tray, keeping the fat away from the meat. I buy these roasting pans at thrift shops, and I have a good collection of them! I used a 1 cup measuring cup to scoop out the meat and ended up with 9 large meatloaf balls. I made a mixture of reduced-sugar ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and a touch of balsamic vinegar to brush on the meatloaf balls.
I brushed this mixture on the meatloaf balls, and I tried to brush it on so it completely covered the top and down the sides. I basted once more with the extra sauce while the meatloaf balls were cooking too. Here’s how the finished meatloaf balls looked when they came out of the oven. I cut them in half to serve, but if you’re serving kids it might be fun to leave them whole. I served these to my dad who said they were the best meatloaf I’ve ever made!
Make it a Meal: Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls would be great with Roasted Broccoli with Garlic or Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine nuts.
More Recipes for Meat Loaf:
Low-Carb Grain-Free Meatloaf with Fennel, Tomatoes, and Flax Seed Meal from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Meatloaf with Herb Cream Sauce from Life’s Ambrosia
Horseradish Meatloaf with Caramelized Onion and Sour Cream-Horseradish Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls
These individual-serving Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls are a fun take on regular meatloaf!
- 24 oz. lean ground beef (use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach diet)
- 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage (use turkey Sausage for South Beach diet)
- 2-3 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped (You could use one red pepper or one green pepper if you prefer.)
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (I used Greek oregano)
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (I make my own breadcrumbs by drying whole wheat bread in the oven, but you could also use ground oatmeal, smashed crackers, or almond meal as a binder if you prefer)
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. Spike seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup reduced-sugar ketchup
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Remove the ground beef and sausage from refrigerator.
- Squeeze sausage out of casings and break apart ground beef into bowl so it can come to room temperature.
- Add 2 tsp. olive oil to large non-stick frying pan, add chopped onion, red pepper, and green pepper, and saute until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Decide whether you need to add another tsp. olive oil, then add the minced garlic, ground fennel, dried oregano, and dried basil and saute 1-2 minutes more.
- Turn off heat and let vegetables cool enough to handle.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs, salt and pepper, Spike seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder evenly over the surface of the meat.
- Wash your hands, then gently mix until seasonings are barely combined with the meat. (You’ll be mixing more when you add vegetables.)
- Add the cooled onion-pepper mixture and eggs, and mix again, until all ingredients are well distributed
- Don’t over mix because that will make the meatloaf tough.
- Spray a roasting pan with olive oil or non-stick spray (preferably with holes so fat can drain.)
- Use a 1 cup measure to scoop out meatloaf mixture and form into balls, then smash down slightly so they stay in place on the roasting pan.
- Whisk together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar and use a pastry brush to spread evenly over all the surfaces of meatloaf balls. (You will probably have some of the sauce mixture left, which you can use to baste with.)
- Bake meatloaf balls 35-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers at least 165F/75C.
- I rotated the pan and basted with the remaining sauce after about 20 minutes.
- Serve hot, cutting in half if desired.
- These can also be sliced and served on sandwiches.
- The meatloaf balls freeze well and can be heated in the microwave, but don’t overcook or the meat will be tough.
This recipe created by Kalyn.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
There’s a lot of meat and peppers in these Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, and Peppers Meatloaf Balls compared to the small amount of breadcrumbs, so although this recipe isn’t strictly low-carb, I think it’s suitable for low-glycemic and carb-conscious eating plans, especially if you make sure to use low-sugar ketchup. Made with low-fat ground beef, turkey Italian sausage, and whole wheat bread crumbs, this would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. You could definitely sub almond meal for the breadcrumbs if you want a version that’s low-carb and gluten-free.
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