comfort with a twist

My man likes meatloaf. I hate meatloaf. I don't know why, I'm just not that into it. Even a "good" meatloaf is still just meh to me. I've made it my mission to find a recipe that gives Matt what he loves without making me curl my nose. Selfish, right?! I have to say, this recipe has me reconsidering this whole meatloaf thing!  With a little help from Bon Appetit, I've made a meatloaf we both enjoy!

No, it's not your traditional meatloaf, but it is technically a loaf made of meat so I'm going to call it a win. Matt LOVES bahn mi sandwiches and when I saw the hoisin-glazed mealoaf sandwhiches in their March issue, I knew I had to try it. Just enough Asian infusion to take a regular hunk of meat and make it dreamy. It's bursting with flavor and the fresh, crunchy veggies on top combined with the sweet and tangy glaze make this recipe memorable. While meatloaf (even bahn meatloaf) isn't ever going to be a meal that I could eat every day of the week, I'll consider this dish a win! 

bahn meatloaf
adapted from bon appetit

for the loaf:
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
2 c. bread cubes (I used white bread finely diced)
½ c. milk
1 tsp. ground star anise (was about 3 whole, ground up)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 TBSP olive oil
2 carrots finely shredded
1 celery stalks finely diced
1 bunch of green onions diced, including dark green parts
7 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼" of ginger minced
2 eggs
2 TBSP. hoisin sauce
salt + pepper to taste

for the glaze:
¼ c. hoisin sauce
2 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP siracha
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce

for the salad:
1 c. matchstick sliced carrots
1 c. matchstick sliced radishes
1 c. matchstick sliced cucumber
½ c. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and set aside.

In a skillet, drizzle with olive oil and cook carrots and celery until they start to soften. Add in green onions and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more until softened and fragrant. Let cool in pan. In a small bowl, combine bread cubes and milk and let the bread absorb the liquid. In a large bowl, combine spices and eggs and stir until combined. Add cooled vegetable mixture and bread slices in with the egg mixture and stir. Add in your beef and pork and work together with your hands until well combined. Dump mixture onto baking sheet and form into a loaf shape. In this case, I made 6 mini loaves - do what you prefer.

In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients and top a few spoonfuls over your loaf. Put remaining sauce in the refrigerator (you'll want it for leftovers or if your man insists on over saucing his slices). Bake for 40- 45 minutes if doing mini loaves or 1 hr 20 minutes for 1 loaf. It should read 165º F internally when inserted in the center of the meatloaf. All ovens and loaf sizes will cook slightly differently. Temperature never lies! Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with fresh veggie salad. I like to serve it with a side of cilantro rice as well. 

note: this recipe can be made 1 - 2 days in advance and kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator before baking. it also freezes really well. 

improv style:

beef, pork, turkey or chicken. pick your  meat or your combo of meat. just make sure you have 2lbs. 

sweet challah, brioche or hawaiian bread would be a great substitution for white bread cubes. you can also use whole wheat if you like but i find it's a bit drier. use whatever kind of milk or cream you have on hand. i used non-fat. 

star anise?! it's a common asian spice that has anise like qualities. i hate licorice but this spice adds something special to the mix. if you don't have it and don't want to buy it you can substitute for chinese five spice. a hint of cinnamon might be nice here if you're into that sort of thing. lots and lots of fresh garlic makes this delish. i recommend you stick to it. if you don't have fresh ginger, you can substitue for 2 tsp. of ground ginger. i like to think fresh makes a difference though. 

i use carrots and celery because i like the added veggies. if you don't have one or the other on hand, leave it out. you can also add in your favorite veggies like bell peppers and maybe even broccoli chunks. 

for the glaze you can choose your own adventure. keep it sweet or make it spicy. this recipe is right in the middle. matt's not a big fan of spicy so i keep it on the milder side for him. you can adjust the measurements here very easily. this one isn't science, just yummy sauciness. 


  1. Meat loaf is very yummy. I tried this recipe in my home. It came very well. I have a suggestion. I think it will be good if you just stuff some butter. My blog.

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