What do you get when dinner and dessert have a baby? BBQ Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Topping that are almost (almost) too cute to eat.
Small size but mighty flavor
Meatloaf regularly finds it’s way on my weekly meal plan for several reasons, not only because it’s delicious and one of my favorite comfort foods, but it’s also easy to make ahead, freezes well (both raw and fully-cooked) and it’s a more economical way to get grass-fed beef into our diet. Because ground meat is way less expensive than steak, but you already knew that.
The only downside is that it takes awhile to a bake an entire 2 lb. loaf of meat. That and my kids don’t think it’s the prettiest meal. So for those two reasons alone I’ve started making these mini-meatloaves using a muffin pan. Aren’t they cute?
Because saving time in the kitchen is of the utmost importance here at The Real Food Dietitians, we’ve kept this recipe simple with just 5 ingredients in the meatloaf (not including salt and pepper) and 2 ingredients in the topping. Just 7 ingredients total!
Sweet potatoes make the perfect topping for savory meatloaf
Don’t be intimidated by the pretty sweet potato topping swirls in the picture. Keep in mind, we’re food bloggers and piping pureed root vegetables onto small disks of meat at midnight during a snowstorm is what we do. That really happened.
Feel free to dallop, scoop or spread your topping on if that’s easiest for you. It’s still going to be so ridiculously mouth-watering delicious, especially with a little drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce or hot sauce. We like Tessame’s when we’re Whole 30-ing because it doesn’t have any added sugar (it’s sweetened with dates) but you can use any good-quality store-bought sauce like Annie’s Natural without high-fructose corn syrup.
If you do want to get all fancy-shmancy with the topping, just scoop your pureed sweet potatoes into a quart-sized zip-top bag. Gently press the mixture to the bottom of the bag and seal it. Then snip off a small bit of one corner of the bag to create a piping bag. Now you can squeeze and swirl your way to fancy BBQ meatloaf muffins with sweet potato topping. Just like the pros do.
Ready, Set, Garnish
We couldn’t resist an extra drizzle of smokey barbecue sauce and a sprinkle of thyme or chopped parsley. It just seemed to elevate these cute little bbq meatloaf muffins to glorious, savory dinner cupcake status almost instantly.
You can see why these are so kid-friendly, they don’t even look like meatloaf. And they’re easy to freeze once baked, cooled and topped. Just return them to the muffin pan and place in the freezer until frozen before transferring to a freezer-safe container with lid or a large zip-top bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a covered skillet with a few drops of water until heated through. They won’t be quite as pretty but you’ll just need to add a vegetable side dish or two and dinner will be on the table in no time.
Alternatively, you can bake the meatloaf muffins, cool and freeze them. Then thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat as directed above and top with freshly-made sweet potato topping just before serving if you want to keep them looking fancy.
- 1 lb. ground beef or Pedersons Natural Farms ground Bison
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, ghee or butter
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place ground beef in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Melt 1 tsp. coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften.
- Add garlic, cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add onion-garlic mixture to ground beef. Add barbecue sauce, sea salt, pepper and dried thyme. Using your hands or a spoon, mix well to combine.
- Divide meat mixture evenly among 8 wells of a muffin pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in the center.
- While meatloaves are baking, steam sweet potatoes until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and puree sweet potatoes and coconut oil or butter in a food processor, or mash well with a fork.
- Scoop topping onto meatloaves or fill a plastic zip-top with topping, trim the corner of the bag with a scissors and pipe topping onto meatloaves. Or use a spoon to top.
- Drizzle with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.
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