Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe

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One of the biggest issues for feeding children is usually getting them to eat their vegetables. When kids refuse to eat their veggies, parents have to pull out their superpowers and come up with a good hidden veggie recipe. With two toddlers in need of well-balanced meals, I came up with the idea for a hidden veggie meatloaf recipe.

Since having kids I want to make sure I’m feeding them right but I don’t always have the time or energy to cook. This recipe is simple enough to prepare, cook in the oven, and freeze for another day.

Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe

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Hidden Veggie Meatloaf Inspiration

My youngest didn’t take well to eating meat. She loved fruits and vegetables but chicken and meat would immediately get spit out.

One day I got fed up and decided to mix veggies with meat and hope for the best. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of decision and I just grabbed whatever veggies I had, chopped them up in my food processor, and blended it with some ground meats, seasoning, and sauce.

Probably not the usual reason for a ‘hidden veggie recipe’ but this meatloaf was a huge stepping stone for our family. 

Since then I’ve never stuck to a measured recipe for this so please bear with me. It’s still pretty simple because trust me, I’m no chef!

We’ve also had it as meatballs because it’s easier for led weaning and who doesn’t love a flavorful meatball with vegetables mixed in!?

Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe

Customizing your ingredients

What I like most about making this meatloaf is that I can pretty much add whatever I want into it, depending on what I have in stock in the fridge/freezer. My freezer is always stocked with frozen veggies because they’re so easy to prepare for whatever occasion. 

A hidden veggie recipe works best with finely chopped or riced vegetables. It is easier for us to hide them into the recipe and also easier for our children to chew them. We can easily convince them it’s just “seasoning” for them to accept it.

I abuse my food processor for this because it saves me time and makes them even smaller than I could chop by hand. A vegetable chopper is also a fantastic tool for this. For other vegetable recipes, like veggie noodles, a spiralizer would also be a fantastic kitchen tool to have.

Sometimes you can find riced veggies at the store (usually in the frozen isle) so that can save you even more prep time but may be a little too watery.

hidden veggie Meatloaf/Meatballs Ingredients

So here’s what you need for a hidden veggie meatloaf or meatballs:

  • Ground Beef (or Turkey, Chicken or a combination)
  • Meatloaf Pan or Baking Pan
  • Seasoning (salt & pepper as a minimum, plus an Italian blend for added flavor)
  • Finely Chopped or Riced Veggies (my usuals range between carrots, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower…)
  • Eggs
  • Onions and Garlic (freshly chopped gives it more flavor but powder works too)
  • Sauce for flavor (I mix bbq and ketchup)
  • Topping Options (I use more of the sauce and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs)
Hidden Veggie Meatloaf
Hidden Veggie Meatloaf
Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe

Below is the full recipe for the latest one I made, but like I said, this is an improvised “recipe” and sometimes not having all the ingredients or having extra ingredients work just the same.

You could also scoop or roll them into hidden veggie meatballs, yum!

Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe

Kid-Approved Hidden Veggie Meatloaf or Meatballs Recipe
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November 15, 2018 4:03 pm

I love the hidden veggies in this because my daughter has been boycotting eating them. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to make it!

December 14, 2018 9:44 pm

Good call on blending those veggies in! I will have to try it out on my three year old. If I put a little ketchup on top, he probably won’t suspect a thing.

December 15, 2018 3:22 am

This looks so easy and delicious! I’ve actually never made meatloaf before- I didn’t grow up eating it. This makes it look so simple! Can’t wait to give it a try.

December 15, 2018 3:31 am

My kids hate veggies so I love your idea of making meatballs out of this recipe. With the added sauce they really won’t know what they are eating!

December 15, 2018 2:07 pm

This is a good idea! I too struggle with the vegetable department. Two of my kids tolerate vegetables but the third does not even stand to see them. They do love meatloaf so I should give this a try. Thank you for sharing!