Lots of home cooks are trying to "hide" fruits and vegetables in everyday foods so that they can up their nutrition consumption without feeling like they are eating overly healthy or boring food. I have found a great way to get a little more fruit into your diet. Next time you make meatloaf, skip the eggs and milk and use a banana instead. That's right, a banana. Bananas are a nutrient dense food, loaded with vitamins B6 and C, potassium, manganese and fiber. They are cholesterol free and fat-free, unlike the milk and eggs they replace in your meatloaf. Banana meatloaf is exceptionally moist, quite delicious and doesn't fall apart as easily as traditional meatloaf does.
About a year ago I had an acute craving for meatloaf. I had the ground beef, but no egg. I knew if I just skipped the egg, the meat loaf would likely be dry and crumbly. But my craving was intense and would not be ignored. I looked around my kitchen for a suitable replacement for the missing egg. I spotted a banana on the kitchen table and my thoughts immediately wandered back to the days when I first learned to make ice cream from scratch. Most great ice creams are actually frozen custards with an egg and cream base. The eggs give the ice cream a velvety smooth texture. Banana ice cream, however, does not need eggs to achieve that very same texture. The bananas take the place of the eggs in ice cream, so I wondered if it could it work in meatloaf? An hour later I had my answer. Yes! The results were better than anything I could have possibly imagined. The banana flavor is present but welcome, and not strange at all. It actually adds to the flavor of the meatloaf in a very enjoyable way. The meatloaf was incredibly moist and held together well without being tough at all. It was a perfect meatloaf, and I have not made meatloaf without a banana since.
You can use a banana in place of the egg and milk in your favorite meatloaf recipe, if you'd like. The ratio is one large banana per pound of ground beef. Here is a recipe for a simple meatloaf that comes together quickly and easily, with flavors that compliment the banana. I usually form it into four mini loaves, because it bakes quicker that way and I am almost always in a hurry. You could, however, use this same recipe for one large banana meatloaf if you would like to, just bake it for an extra twenty minutes.
Ingredients For Four Mini Banana Meat loaves
1 ripe yet still firm banana
1 piece of whole grain wheat bread
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of Hungarian hot paprika
1 teaspoon of granulated dried garlic
1 tablespoon of dried onion
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of lean grass-fed ground beef
1/4 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the banana, sea salt, dry mustard, Hungarian hot paprika, dried garlic, dried onion and freshly ground black pepper into a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to mash everything till smooth. Mix well.
Put the slice of whole wheat bread into the work bowl of your food processor and process til it is fine breadcrumbs. Add to the banana mixture and stir well. Add the grass-fed ground beef and gently mix everything; try to avoid overworking the mixture once the ground beef is added. Overmixing will result in a tough meatloaf, and no one wants that.
Combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a small mixing bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
Form the meat mixture into four even mini loaves and place into a greased baking dish that will fit into your toaster oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then evenly distribute the sauce over the top of the mini loaves. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let the banana meatloaves cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!