Dinner tonight: pesto meat loaf

June 30, 2015

This may soon become your favourite meat loaf recipe! The pesto itself is rich in flavour including rice for extra body and cheddar cheese to complement the beef. The meat loaf's tang is courtesy of a common pantry ingredient: salsa.

Dinner tonight: pesto meat loaf

Pesto meat loaf

Prep time 15 min 

Cook time 50 min 

Serves 8


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 75 ml (1/3 c) olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 250 ml (1 c) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 175 ml (3/4 c) cooked long-grain rice
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) chopped walnuts
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) saltMeat loaf
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) quick-cooking oats
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) finely chopped green onions
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) salsa
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 1 kg (2 lb) lean ground beef
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. For pesto, place the garlic, olive oil or vegetable oil, basil, rice, walnuts, cheese and salt in a food processor or blender. Cover and process on low speed until a paste forms.
  3. For meat loaf, in a large bowl, combine the oats, green onions, egg, salsa, garlic and salt. Add the pesto and stir to combine.
  4. Add the beef and mix well. Transfer to a greased 23 x 12-centimetre (nine x five-inch) loaf pan and gently form into a loaf shape. Bake until no longer pink, for 50 to 60 minutes, draining off fat as necessary.
  5. Remove from the oven and let stand in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing.

One more notch!

For extra zip, spread another 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) salsa over the top of the meat loaf before baking.

Cook's tip

What's meat loaf without mashed potatoes?

  • Add a new twist by incorporating another vegetable.
  • Try adding mashed carrots (your kids will love it).
  • Or use half potatoes and half of one of these: cooked and mashed cauliflower with a dollop of grainy mustand; or cooked and mashed celeriac flavoured with salted herbs.


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