How to Make a Taco Meatloaf Bowl

If you have been a regular reader, you know that I’m all about all-in-one meals in a bowl for dinner. This week my favorite meatloaf became the anchor for a meatloaf bowl that combines a little bit of healthy and a little bit of less healthy.

Everything in moderation.

I don’t know how many times I’ve made this taco meatloaf. It has turned many who had previously resisted meatloaf into meatloaf lovers. And it’s the only way that some of my friends’ kids will eat beef.

a bowl with two slices of meatloaf, cavatappi and cheese, braised carrots, broccoli, and spinach

It seemed appropriate to pair the meatloaf with this macaroni and cheese recipe. The cooked pasta, bechamel loaded with cheese, and crispy topping all come together under the broiler. No more dry mac and cheese! It’s another recipe that has quickly become the favorite among my friends. You can freeze any extras, and then it’s an easy addition to your meatloaf bowl without much prep.

Balance the unhealthier bits with some green vegetables. Pick a base of greens (e.g. spinach, kale, lettuce, etc). Add steamed broccoli or another cruciferous vegetable.

And then expand your rainbow with braised carrots or tzimmes (if you’re an Ashkenazi Jew). Tzimmes is one of those recipes that has taken on a life of its own. Some recipes include different root vegetables, dried fruit, and even meat. My tzimmes are just carrots, braised with a little bit of honey.

Plan on one large or two medium carrots per person as a side dish. Unless someone in your family really likes braised carrots, and then I’d probably double the amount per person. My kiddo would eat a meal just of these.

a pan full of braising carrots and thyme

FAQs about this taco meatloaf bowl

What’s the difference between braised carrots and glazed carrots?

Really, none. Braising is a method of cooking in which the food is cooked gently in a small amount of liquid (which makes it different than boiling.). If we are Venn diagramming, glazing would be a subset of braising, including butter and a sweetener (e.g. sugar or honey) that reduce and coat the vegetables after the liquid cooks down.

I’m trying to eat less meat. Can I make the taco meatloaf with a meat alternative?

Yes. I’ve made my taco meatloaf with Beyond Meat as a meatless meatloaf. And while we preferred beef to the substitute, I’m all for supporting people in reducing their meat consumption.

I’m trying to eat less pasta. What can I substitute for the macaroni and cheese?

How about cauliflower mac and cheese? Or make mashed potatoes, or even just a baked potato.

What should I drink with this?

This meatloaf bowl screams for this spicy margarita with jalapeño simple syrup. A lager would also work well.

a bowl with two slices of meatloaf, cavatappi and cheese, braised carrots, broccoli, and spinach
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5 from 1 vote

Braised carrots for a taco meatloaf bowl

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large carrots or 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" rounds
  • ~1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp salt plus more to taste


  • Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a lidded saute pan large enough to hold the carrots in a single layer.
    1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • When the butter has melted, add the carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2 large carrots or 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" rounds
  • Add the broth (it should come about halfway up the sides of the carrots), honey, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook at a simmer until the carrots can be pierced easily with a fork. If the pan has dried before this has happened, add a little bit of water and continue braising. If liquid remains in the pan when the carrots are done, remove the lid and continue cooking for a few minutes until the pan is nearly dry.
    ~1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, 1 tbsp honey, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp salt

What’s next?

If you make this taco meatloaf bowl or any of its components, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Psst. You really should make the taco meatloaf.

Check out other dinner bowls from the uglyducklingbakery archives like this rainbow poke bowl with seared tuna or Mediterranean lamb bowl.

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