These mini meatloaves have a delicious smoky, barbeque flavor twist: and best of all, they’re bite sized! Take the intimidation out of cooking an entire meatloaf for your family, and instead try these easy-to-prepare meatloaf-inspired meatballs. These meatballs have all of the flavor components of a meatloaf, except made into smaller portions, making this recipe also super family-friendly. The meatballs cook quickly in the oven, and with no fuss or mess. Serve these healthy BBQ meatloaf meatballs alongside your favorite starch and vegetable for a well-rounded meal, or serve them sandwich style for a fun twist.
Why not just make meatloaf?
Well, I guess you really could make this into a meatloaf if you really wanted to! But there is just something so cute about meatballs like this. You can serve them in different ways, on a sandwich or in a bowl, and I think kids might be more inclined to eat them in this format as well. They also make for an easy to portion meal prep.
To make this recipe into a full meatloaf, you might have to adjust the cook time to ensure it is cooked through.
What you will need to make these healthy BBQ meatloaf meatballs
- 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- I like using this beef in recipes because it is real ground beef, but just extra lean.
- It can be tricky to find depending on where you live; however, some supermarkets carry it in addition to Target, Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
- Using this ground beef is a great way to hit your point and macro goals, while not having to substitute ground beef for chicken or turkey.
- seasoned breadcrumbs
- I use seasoned breadcrumbs from 4C Foods
- garlic powder
- kosher salt
- grated onion
- I like using a cheese grater to grate the onion for this recipe; it helps the onion disappear into the meat mixture, rather than having big chunks of onion running through the meatballs
- barbeque sauce
- My favorite barbeque sauce that is naturally lower in sugar is this one: Stubb’s Sweet Heat
- You can use any barbeque sauce you prefer, just make sure to adjust the macros and points accordingly.
How to make these meatloaf-inspired meatballs
To make these meatballs, start out by preheating the oven to 350F.
Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, spices, Worcestershire, and grated onion thoroughly. Form into 12 equal-sized meatballs. They should be about 1.75 ounces in weight each, or the size of a heaping small cookie scoop.
Place the meatballs in a sprayed muffin pan, and brush 2 tbsp of the barbeque sauce on top of each meatball. Bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through. Drizzle with the reaming sauce.
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How to serve these meatloaf meatballs
You can serve these meatballs in so many ways to suit your family! The most classic way to serve these meatloaf meatballs is with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, just like you would with meatloaf. However, another great option is on a sandwich, with cheese and all the fixin’s. These meatballs also make a great topping for homemade pizza.
Other lightened-up meatball recipes
Let’s face it, meatballs are just fun! Here are some other lightened-up, healthy versions of meatball recipes you can try out if you like this recipe:
Skinny Florentine Chicken Meatballs in Pan Sauce: these are a great, elevated version of a meatball; think: chicken piccata becomes a meatball! Perfect for a weeknight dinner that feels a little fancy.
Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs: these make an excellent meal prep on top of a salad, or the perfect game day appetizer when dipped in ranch.
Italian Beef Meatballs: these are a classic staple. Italian meatballs served in marinara sauce, with pasta or on a meatball sub.
Asian Glazed Turkey Meatballs: these make another great meal prep option or light dinner option, with some brown rice or cauliflower rice and a side veggie. You won’t believe these are made with ground turkey!
Healthy BBQ Meatloaf Meatballs
- mixing bowl
- muffin pan
- 1 lb 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup onion, grated
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup barbeque sauce, used: Stubb's sticky sweet
- non-stick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, grated onion, egg, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, and paprika.
- Form into 12 equal-sized meatballs (about the size of a small cookie scoop, appx. 1.75 ounces each).
- Spray the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, and add a meatball to each opening.
- Take 2 tbsp of the barbeque sauce, and brush it on the top of the meatballs. Reserve the remaining barbeque sauce for later.
- Bake the meatballs for 35 minutes.
- Once cooked, drizzle with the reserved barbeque sauce.
Not everything has to be turkey or chicken in order to be “healthy!” Check out these other ground beef recipes that are delicious and family-friendly!