Southwestern Bulgur and Bison Loaf

April 2, 2012  •  Beans & Grains, Meat & Poultry, One Dish Meals

Disclaimer: I don’t know how to make meatloaf photograph well! If any of you food photographers out there do, please call me!
Have you noticed a trend lately? I’m trying really hard to eat healthier. I’m also trying not to say the word “diet” because I just start feeling deprived – and get out of my way if I feel I’m being denied something! What does seem to be working for me is to eat less meat, more really good whole grains, and more vegetables – combined into something that just tastes fantastic.

This recipe started out as an experiment of sorts. I volunteer as a chef educator for Cooking Matters here in Colorado, and in our whole grains week I usually like to make Tabbouleh – it uses bulgur, which is a grain many of my students haven’t experienced, and it teaches them to try new whole grains. In a class last year someone asked me what else they could to with cooked bulgur and it occurred to me that it would be a perfect fiber addition / binding agent in things like meatloaf and meatballs.It’s no secret that I love meatloaf – I’ve posted this one, this one, and this one. That’s kind of the thing about meatloaf, you can make it just about any way you like. In today’s version I decided to marry some distinctively southwestern flavors with bison, bulgur, and vegetables. Each serving has a full meal in it – grains, veggies, protein – and all for 241 calories. And that leaves room in your healthy eating plan to top it with some diced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, salsa, and maybe even a dollop of light sour cream. If you’re wondering why I made this with 3 whole pounds of ground bison (you can use beef instead), it’s because very few other entrees are so great leftover or freeze in individual portions so well. So if you’re at all into meatloaf like I am, you’re going to want to give this a try, and you’re going to want to make extras!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Southwestern Bulgur and Bison Loaf
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup bulgar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 gelatin sheets, optional
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper, or cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds bison, ground
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 can salsa verde
  1. Combine bulgur and hot water in a microwaveable bowl and cook on high for two minutes; let sit in microwave with door shut for 45 minutes for bulgur to absorb the water. Slide gelatin sheets under the hot cooked bulgur so they will soften and melt, then stir in eggs, cumin, coriander, and chipotle pepper. Combine peppers, carrots and onion in a food processor and pulse until pulpy. Stir into bulgur and add salt and pepper. Add ground bison and use a fork to make sure everything is well combined. Add oats to the food processor and pulse until fairly ground, then stir into meat and bulgur mixture.
  2. Divide mixture evenly between two loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the salsa verde in a thin layer evenly over the top of the two pans and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with diced tomatoes, avocado, and salsa.
This meatloaf is a bit more crumbly and light in texture than loaves made primarily with meat, yet is tender and moist. The gelatin sheets are optional, but help give meatloaf a velvety texture as if veal had been used (thanks for the tip America's Test Kitchens).



4 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Karen Harris says:

    I love meatloaf. This looks like a great version. I think your photo is very good. Somethings are just really hard to shoot, but you made this look great.

  2. Connie Gordon says:

    What a great recipe. If you get any responses on the way to photograph meatloaf let me know because I certainly have not figured it out.

  3. Carole says:

    Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about meatloaf. I do hope you link this nice one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

  4. Carole says:

    Michele, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We are now getting a great collection of meatloaves together. I hope you have stopped by some of the other links to check them out!

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