So you make meatloaf. One of the greatest foods ever. I know a lot of people are off of it. They don’t like it. I think that’s just because they grew up with crappy meatloaf. I think my meatloaf is a great meatloaf. I ended up putting spinach in the middle of this meatloaf, and it’s a whole different thing. It’s completely gorgeous. It’s maybe one of the most beautiful meatloaves I’ve ever seen in my life. It occurred to me one day, as I’m looking at a leftover big fat slice of meatloaf, what could that become? It became a meat sauce for me. I had in my fridge, some leftover roasted red pepper sauce that I made. That, I think, is one of the greatest things ever that you can make literally with a jar of roasted red peppers and a little broth and some seasoning. You’re there and you put it in a blender and you’re done.

–Sam Zien

How do i keep my meatloaf moist?

Meatloaf often gets a bad rap. But when you’ve had one that’s juicy and moist, you know better than to turn your nose up. The secret to keeping your meatloaf with spinach tender and not dried out is making sure there’s enough of the right components in there to begin with, as well as adding a little more. Use a fattier grade of ground beef as the lean stuff will crumble and be dry. Also include ingredients that are high in moisture themselves—spinach, eggs, onions, ketchup, or anything wet, really. Finally, a thick layer of glaze helps to keep everything beneath it juicy and tender.

A cooked meatloaf with spinach with four slices cut from it.

Meatloaf with Spinach

5 / 3 votes
This meatloaf with spinach, made with ground beef and pork, and topped with a sweet and spicy chipotle ketchup, is an easy way to get your greens in and keep everyone happy.
David Leite
Servings6 to 8 servings
Calories555 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


For the meatloaf

  • Oil or nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably 80/20
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • One package (1 ounce) store-bought or homemade fajita seasoning or Texas Dry Rub
  • 4 ounces canned diced green chile peppers
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

For the glaze

  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade ketchup
  • 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)


Make the meatloaf

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Slick a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan or rimmed baking sheet with oil or coat with cooking spray.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: For easier cleanup, line your loaf pan or baking sheet with foil before coating with oil or cooking spray.

  • In a medium bowl, combine all the meatloaf ingredients and transfer to the prepared loaf pan, or shape into a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: For a neater free-form loaf, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and press the meat mixture into the pan. Flip the loaf pan onto your baking sheet, remove the plastic wrap, and voila, perfection!

Make the glaze

  • In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, apricot jam, and chipotle chile, and spread about 3/4 of it over the meatloaf. Reserve the remaining glaze.
  • Bake until the meatloaf is cooked through and registers 155° to 160°F (68° to 71°C) on an instant read thermometer, 45 to 75 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, coat with the remaining glaze, and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch-thick (25-mm) pieces. Sprinkle with scallions, if using, and serve.

Adapted From

Sam the Cooking Guy: Recipes with Intentional Leftovers

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 555 kcalCarbohydrates: 32 gProtein: 32 gFat: 34 gSaturated Fat: 12 gMonounsaturated Fat: 14 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 170 mgSodium: 1052 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 16 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Sam Zien. Photo © 2020 Lucas Barbieri. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

My family loves meatloaf. This version of meatloaf with spinach was a nice (and easy) adaptation to a classic. Enough of a spicy spin while maintaining texture and comfort. The tangy-sweet glaze was a delectable change to the usual ketchup—not that there’s anything wrong with plain ketchup.

I also appreciated having all of the veggies without having to precook everything—a true time-saver—and the reason I’ll make it again. I served this with a baked potato, braised cabbage, and soft dinner rolls. Quite a yummy comforting meal that I’ll make again.

This recipe for meatloaf with spinach was delicious and so quick and easy. I make a lot of meatloaf and this was by far the moistest I have ever made. It is just perfect for a weeknight meal and takes no time at all.

I didn’t use a loaf pan as I always mold my meatloaf and like how my 9×13″ pan bakes. The sweet and spicy glaze went perfectly with the savory loaf and the spinach added a wonderful earthy taste as well as extra moisture. I couldn’t make out the undrained chiles that much but I knew they were there and again, they added great moisture to the loaf mix.

This meatloaf with spinach lived up to its claim that it would put an end to the “meatloaf again” whining. This is nothing like any meatloaf that I’ve made before. And trust me, I’ve made a TON of them.

The meat was juicy, not dried out, the spinach was a welcome addition from the usual parsley or cilantro, the panko and eggs held it all together without being gooey, and the spicy, slightly sweet and tangy glaze took it over the top. Make this for your family and you too can be a rockstar. All right. Maybe not. But it won’t be boring!

Meatloaf has always been on my list of top-ten dinners, and this superb version of meatloaf with spinach puts it at the top. The flavors are balanced and the glaze on top adds a nice kick. I like the addition of apricot jam, the subtle sweetness counters the chipotles and the acid of the ketchup. Next time (which will be soon!) I’ll put all of the glaze on top of the meatloaf as it doesn’t add to the sliced meatloaf. I used the Texas dry rub for seasoning.

Every ingredient in this recipe is just right; the green chiles and spinach are a new twist from my standard onion, diced tomato, and Worcestershire version. I can’t stop thinking about how good this meatloaf is. Thirty minutes to mix the meatloaf, one hour and fifteen minutes in the oven (plenty of time to prepare the rest of dinner), and five minutes to rest. Proceed to devour.

Next time I’ll make two so I’ll have more leftovers. One meatloaf easily serves four hungry people, especially if it’s cold and snowing outside! I served it with mashed potatoes, sautéed kale, and roasted applesauce (made earlier in the afternoon) for a dynamite Sunday dinner. My husband doesn’t comment often, but he loved it. I will happily serve this to guests when life returns to normal.

There are a lot of things I really like about this meatloaf with spinach recipe. The meatloaf had a great texture and was so moist. It was an easy recipe to put together and the glaze made a really nice contrasting sweetness without being overpowering.

I would’ve liked a bit more seasoning in the meatloaf, my fajita seasoning didn’t have quite enough salt. I also craved some acid in the glaze, maybe some vinegar or mustard. I think this would make a good sometime meatloaf, but it doesn’t have the flavors that would satisfy a meatloaf craving. I can’t wait to make some meatloaf sandwiches with it, though.

This meatloaf with spinach is unlike any other meatloaf I’ve ever eaten, and I’m a convert. As I kept adding different ingredients into the mixing bowl, my family was more and more intrigued, especially when the fajita seasoning and canned chiles showed up. It produces a moist and flavorful meatloaf, with a structural integrity that was conducive to gorgeous slices without falling apart. This is the first time I’ve ever baked a meatloaf freeform on a sheet pan and I will never go back…no more soggy lower halves. It’s incredibly filling and we all went back for seconds.

My meatloaf did take longer than suggested, but that’s likely because my ingredients were still quite cold from the fridge, including the spinach. I’d recommend allowing those to sit out for a little bit first, and that should help it cook in the allotted time. I did raise the temperature near the end to help it cook through (up to 400°F) and the additional heat helped darken the glaze to a rich brick-red and provided a nice caramelized flavor, something I’d look to repeat on future outings.

Since the meatloaf is designed with leftovers in mind, it may come across as less aggressively seasoned than it could be (it was beautiful as-is for the leftover meatloaf gnocchi). However, if you plan for this to be consumed all in one sitting, you may welcome a little more fajita seasoning in the meat mixture, and some additional chipotle added to the glaze.

I have a favorite meatloaf recipe but I thought this meatloaf with spinach would be good because it has so many vegetables in it. This turned out to be a great addition. It was also really easy to make and I’ll be adding spinach and chiles to all my future meatloaf.

I was wary, I admit. My mom’s meatloaf has always been my go-to. Oh, I’ve tried many others, and have actually liked some, as there are so many variations on the meatloaf theme.  I was hesitant but this meatloaf with spinach was different. This Doubting Donna decided to take the plunge; the list of ingredients varied from the norm, and so I was intrigued!

It was also pretty pandemic friendly; ingredients were either pantry staples or easy to find. Never have I ever put spinach, chiles and apricot jam in the same meatloaf incarnation. This was a first and it was a successful meatloaf marriage of what could be considered strange combinations. I do recommend using a homemade fajita seasoning, of course from (I like to know what I’m eating!), and I also recommend letting the mixed mixture meld for a bit prior to baking-just because. Roasted sweet potato wedges and a green salad were nice additions.

I used a lined baking sheet and shaped the meatloaf into a 9”x6” loaf. It cooked for one hour and we let it rest for 20 minutes—it would have been longer but my best friend stopped by and he wouldn’t wait. I’m a huge fan of the spinach and green chiles—with a 9-year-old, anything I can shove veggies in is a winner in my book. And don’t skimp on the glaze—it’s magical.

Pureed chipotles in adobo are easy to keep on hand. Just puree a whole can and divvy up into 2-Tbsp baggies for the freezer. And my best tip? Use one of those prepared, on-hand baggies to make Michael Symon’s Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos—seriously the best recipe I’ve ever made. IN MY LIFE. You’ll thank me later.

This is an easy to make, not your-every-day meatloaf. We really liked this meatloaf with spinach—it was different. Finding the ingredients, assembly, and baking were a breeze. Come to think of it—cleanup was too.

I shaped the mixture into a loaf and placed it on a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet. The meatloaf held its shape nicely and the glaze stayed on top of the loaf, thickening slightly. The meatloaf was tender but held together well, and it had good flavor. Don’t let the spinach scare you away. It blends in—you can’t taste it. I served it with Mexican rice and a small green salad and will definitely make this again.

The only thing I’d change is how the glaze is served. I found the glaze to be quite sweet. I wanted the fajita seasoning and green chiles to be the stars. Next time I make this, I’ll apply a thin layer to the meatloaf before baking and serve the remaining glaze on the side.

A fun twist on a classic. This recipe was a snap to throw together and provided an interesting flavor profile. The addition of chopped spinach added nutrition and visual interest to a traditionally simple dish. I would suggest chopping the spinach further after squeezing the liquid out, as I think it would be better dispersed through the meatloaf.

Additionally, I think the instructions for the glaze could be cut in half as I had quite a bit leftover and felt spreading 3/4 was too thick for the 9 x 5″ inch pan I used. I would also consider making a free form loaf or increasing the temperature to cut down the cooking time as I needed 1.5 hours to reach an internal temperature of 160°F. I served this dish with a salad.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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