This classic, homemade meatloaf recipe is low in sodium and full of all the savory flavors you know and love. It uses simple pantry-common ingredients and is ready in about one hour.
Approximate sodium content: 71mg per serving
Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that has seemingly been around forever. A staple of American foods, it’s hearty, easy to make, and tastes so good! Of course, meatloaf is usually loaded with sodium. One serving of meatloaf typical meatloaf can often be as high as 400mg of sodium. Let’s lake a look at how we can still enjoy this classic favorite, with about half the sodium.
Meatloaf, at it’s most basic, is really just ground beef (and sometimes ground pork), egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings and ketchup. The sodium culprits in regular meatloaf is the pork, breadcrumbs, ketchup, and seasonings such as Worcestershire sauce and seasoning packets. Unfortunately, those packets are loaded with sodium. But for this recipe, our aim is to use simple, common ingredients for flavoring that have little or no sodium at all, while creating that savory taste and texture of meatloaf that we know and love so well.
Instead of regular breadcrumbs, we use panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs contain almost 40% less sodium than most regular breadcrumbs. And as far as taste and texture, you won’t notice it a bit. Commercial ketchup can have almost 200mg of sodium per serving. Now, no-salt added ketchup is common on many supermarket shelves and contains only about 5mg of sodium per serving. With the ketchup alone we’re saving massive amounts of sodium.
For seasonings, we skip any Worcestershire altogether. Instead, we use onion powder and garlic powder for the savory flavors, along with oregano and parsley for a touch of herb brightness. And finally, some black pepper. We only use 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, but it really adds a nice vibrance to the flavor profile. It’s all held together with just 1 egg.
Sodium Notes By Alex G., Registered Dietitian
A typical meatloaf recipe made at home could easily contain between 400-600 mg of sodium in one 4 oz serving due to sodium filled ketchup and salty seasoning powders. Even worse for your sodium budget, a restaurant serving can contain as much as 930 mg per serving, due to the flavoring coming from added salt or possibly MSG. This savory and delicious recipe saves you hundreds of milligrams of sodium by making simple yet highly flavorful swaps. The use of onion and garlic powders here amp up the savory taste and add only about 10 mg of sodium for the entire meatloaf. Adding herby dried parsley and oregano and no-salt added ketchup also helps create the Italian inspired flavor you crave in a good meatloaf recipe, without the heavy dose of sodium. Make sure to choose plain, unseasoned panko breadcrumbs to avoid sneaky additional sodium.
I think we can all agree that we love recipes that are nice and easy. For the most part, we’re just throwing most of the ingredients into a large bowl and mixing it with our hands. Start by preheating your oven to 350°(F). Add all the ingredients, except for ¼ cup of ketchup into a large bowl and use your hands to work it all together.
After working all the ingredients together, shape the meat into a loaf and place it in a 5″x9″ glass loaf pan. Spray the inside of the dish with a little non-stick cooking spray first. You don’t have to press the loaf too tightly, just lightly form it if possible.
Cook at 350°(F) for a total of 1 hour
Time for the meatloaf to go into the oven, uncovered, at 350°(F) for 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, carefully remove from oven and apply the remaining ¼ cup of ketchup. Simply brush over the top of the meatloaf and back in the oven it goes, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
Carefully remove meatloaf from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Quite naturally, meatloaf pairs well with a baked potato, fresh green beans, or just about any other fresh green vegetable. Broccoli or green beans are excellent for low sodium diets and you can really bump up the taste of veggies with a little lemon juice.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover meatloaf in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheating is as simple as placing in the microwave oven for a minute or two. For best results, you can add a teaspoon of water to each slice prior to placing in the microwave to help prevent drying out. To reheat on a conventional oven, place slices of meatloaf on a baking sheet or foil and heat at 350°(F) for about 10 minutes.
You can also freeze leftover meatloaf. Wrap it tightly with foil or plastic, and then in an air tight container or freezer bag. Store frozen for up to 3 months.Print
Low Sodium Meatloaf
- Total Time: 1hr 5min
- Yield: 8-10 slices
- Diet: Low Salt
A low-sodium, hearty classic meatloaf with all the savory flavor you know and love.
- 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
- ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup no-salt added ketchup, divided
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350°(F)
- In a large bowl, use hands and mix all ingredients except for ¼ cup of the ketchup
- Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place in a greased baking pan. It does not need to touch the sides. A 9.5″ x 5″ loaf pan works best.
- Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Brush remaining ketchup over meatloaf and bake another 15 minutes for a total of 60 minutes. Internal temp when done should be 165°(F).
*This recipe and all the recipes on EasyLowSodiumRecipes.com are meant to offer alternatives for individuals seeking low sodium recipes. These recipes DO NOT follow any specific medical guidelines for individual diet needs or specific sodium restrictions. Be sure to check with a medical professional regarding your individual sodium and dietary needs.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 60 min
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
I will be making this meatloaf again.
Didn’t have ground beef, so used ground turkey instead…really, really good! Next time I think I’ll add some onions, but the taste is awesome as-is. Thanks for the low-sodium option!
Thanks so much for the feedback, Scott! We’re also BIG fans of ground turkey. In fact, we use it more often now than ground beef. I can’t wait to try this with ground turkey.
We used ground turkey instead of beef and it was fabulous!
made this meatloaf the other night it turned out great will be adding this to my regular rotation. Now that I am on a low sodium diet.
We had this meatloaf today. It was delicious! Even my husband, who doesn’t follow a low sodium diet (but should) liked it. Thank you so much!
Not for me. I did not mind the spices, but this is the first time I’ve tried ketchup in meatloaf and didn’t care for this no salt added type at all. They have substituted lack of sodium with sugar. It is extremely sweet tasting to me and ruined the flavor of the meat. Cannot eat it so it goes in the garbage
I’m so happy to have found this recipe! I LOVE cooking but tend to go full throttle with seasoning (and occasionally salt ?). Recently my grandfather was put on the low salt diet. I’ve started prepping meals, portioning and freezing them for his daily use. This was a winning recipe! Thanks so much!
We loved this recipe. We were skeptical but happily surprised! Thank you.
Made this a couple of nights ago and thought it was really good. I’m not one to eat leftovers but I ate every bite. Will definitely make again and for some taste variation, might add bell pepper, onion, Anaheim pepper, or low or no salt seasoning, etc.
We loved this meatloaf. Thank you!
I recently got diagnosed with high blood pressure to go to low sodium diet my favorite food is Meatloaf the average meatloaf recipe has so much sodium in it I’ve been searching for so long for meatloaf recipe this is truly the best low-sodium meatloaf recipe I have seen yet I cannot wait to try it
Thank so much for this recipe. It’s wonderful. My mother switched to a low sodium diet several years ago. She loves meatloaf and honestly, this is the best meatloaf recipe I’ve ever made. You don’t miss salt at all. So thank you!
Wonderful full flavored meatloaf! We are new to low sodium cooking and this meatloaf was one of the most satisfying recipes we’ve yet made. We used the Heinz no salt ketchup, which is great stuff. Today I used this recipe but also added diced onion to make meatballs. They turned out good as well. Hoping to serve them with gravy made from Herb Ox no sodium boullion and the pan droppings. Thanks!
I’m so glad you liked it, Shawna! Meatballs sound great too!