Red Meat and Pork

Healthier Bison Meatloaf

If there was one recipe that people feel their mom makes the best of, meatloaf would likely be it. While I won’t even try to compete with your mother’s recipe, I will offer you this slightly healthier take on the mom-classic.  

Over the 5 years Bry and I have been together, there’s been a handful of times where he’s mentioned how much he likes meatloaf. I’ve told myself I’d make some for dinner the next week, then I’d find another recipe online and forget all about the meatloaf plans. But not this time.  

My mom was shocked when I told her I was making meatloaf. As a kid, I went through a stage of loving meatloaf, or rather I would eat the Ketchup-topping then nibble on the rest. But as I got into my teenage years, the idea of eating something called “meatloaf” just sounded awful. Plus I was getting more interested in nutrition and trying to stay away from too much red meat. But since making this bison meatloaf, I have a feeling it won’t be another five years until I eat it again 😉  

When setting out to make a lighter meatloaf, I was deciding between using turkey and bison. Obviously turkey would have been the leaner option of the two, but Bry wanted “real” meatloaf so bison it was. As I’ve talked about it other posts, bison is a much leaner (and more flavorful, in my option) substitution for ground beef. On the east coast, it can be a bit tricky to find, but generally Whole Foods and BJ’s carry it.  

In addition to using bison over beef, other healthy swaps include using soaked oats instead of breadcrumbs and bread slices, only 1 whole egg, shredded carrot instead of sugar, and a homemade tomato topping instead of Ketchup.  

The meatloaf came out juicy and moist, with a nice tang from the tomato topping and a subtle sweetness from the shredded carrots. For a more balanced meal, we served the meatloaf with a generous helping of roasted vegetables.  

For anyone meal planning, the meatloaf can be put together a day ahead of time then baked the night you plan to eat it. For leftovers, I recommend heating individual slices on the stove covered, over medium heat. You may need to add a splash of water to the pan to help it steam.  For a balanced meal, I served mine with a side of roasted vegetables, but a salad would work too! 

So here’s a toast to a balance way to enjoy red meat! 

Healthier Bison Meatloaf

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 1 1/2 lb ground bison
  • 1/2 cup oats, pulsed into smaller flakes but not into a flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 small carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 8-oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Soak oats in almond milk until softened.


Meanwhile, beat egg in mixing bowl. Add bison, minced garlic, onion powder, dried thyme, tomato paste, shredded carrot, Worcestershire sauce, and pinch salt and pepper.


Add in softened oats and milk.


Place meat mixture into a loaf pan, or form meat into a loaf shape and cook on a baking sheet (this method helps some of the fat drain off during cooking).


Prepare the tomato topping by combining tomato sauce, mustard, and brown sugar. Pour over top of meat loaf then place meatloaf in oven.


Bake 55-60 minutes, or until cooked through.


Let meatloaf rest 15 minutes before slicing.


I found the best way to re-heat leftovers was by cooking individual slices in a covered skilled with a splash of water, over medium heat.

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  • April Gering
    April 16, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Looking forward to trying this recipe! With the dijon mustard are you using whole mustard grains, ground up mustard or mustard in a jar?

    • The Healthy Toast
      April 18, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Hope you like it! I used coarse dijon mustard from a jar.

  • April Gering
    April 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Just enjoyed the meatloaf! It was moist, delicious and sliced up like a dream. Thank you for the mustard clarification.

    • The Healthy Toast
      April 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

      I’m so glad you liked it! You’re welcome – it’s always helpful when people ask questions as it’s easy to forget to specify.