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Paleo Meatloaf


When I first saw Wedding Crashers 8 years ago, I wondered, “what is this meatloaf they speak of?”

Nope, I didn’t grow up on meatloaf. I grew up on a diet heavy in grilled meat goodies, pasta primavera, and spinach strawberry salad.

However, Austin (my bf) did grow up on meatloaf. His humble mother claims that her recipe is “nothing special;” but when you’ve got three grown men all raving about how much they love their mother’s meatloaf, it’s got to have something special going on.

I spent one weekend in San Angelo with Austin’s mom studying up on her meatloaf techniques. We experimented with paleo-friendly adaptations and landed on a solid recipe that I KNOW you’re going to love.


It was actually my first meatloaf … and I loved it. I’ve always been a little grossed out by the thought (for no good reason) so was pretty hesitant to take a bite. I was wrong. Meatloaf is delicious and I am officially a fan.

The pride and joy of most meatloaf chefs revolves around the “sauce.” Meatloaf sauce is usually ketchup-based. It’s smeared on top of the loaf during baking and then used to drown the poor little slices again during eating.

The secret behind Austin’s family meatloaf is that you apply the sauce when the loaf is almost finished baking, then crank the heat up so it stiffens. This turns the sauce from a watery slather to a thick, savory, frosting-like topper.

The secret to my paleo meatloaf is that I use almond meal instead of bread crumbs/crackers, tomato paste instead of ketchup, and balsamic vinegar in the sauce to make people wonder, “what on earth is making this so tasty?”

The balsamic vinegar adds a sweet, rustic, full-bodied flavor.

My non-meatloaf-eating family gobbled up the stuff and kept asking for more.

Next I’ll share my recipe for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Mashed potatoes and meatloaf go together like hotdogs on the 4th of July, ice cream with warm peach cobbler, and Gus + broccoli (the little weirdo loves broccoli).

Hope you enjoy!














Paleo Meatloaf

Makes ~8 servings



2 lb Lean Ground Beef (I used 90% lean)

1 lb Lean Ground Pork (I used 80% lean)

1 cup Shredded Carrots

1 cup Chopped Yellow Onion

½ cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper

1 cup Chopped Fresh Tomato

½ cup Almond Meal

2 Eggs

1 tsp Kosher Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper


1 can 15 oz Tomato Sauce (I prefer organic)

1 can 6 oz Tomato Paste (again, I prefer organic)

3 Tbl Grainy/Spicy Mustard

2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix all the loaf ingredients together. I recommend you use your hands to smash and combine – you can feel when the texture is even.

In an oven safe pan (I like to use my non-stick turkey roasting pan), form your loaf.

Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk all ingredients for your sauce together.

At the end of the 45 minutes, pull loaf from oven and turn heat up to 450 F.

Frost the loaf with the sauce. Like a cake, place all the sauce on top of the loaf and carefully spread down until it evenly covers all sides.

When the oven is at 450 F, put the coated loaf back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

If the tomato sauce still looks watery, leave in the oven for 5 minutes at a time until it has a texture you’re happy with.

Let cool slightly, then serve!

[Note: this meatloaf makes for amazing leftovers. Just cover with plastic wrap and reheat slices when you want. It will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.]

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 1 hour


28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chickachef #

    I grew up eating meatloaf on rare occasions. The thing that I disliked the most was the ketchup topping. This sounds wonderful.

    February 7, 2013
  2. OMG that tomato crust has SOLD ME!! Absolutely delicious, holy moly!!

    February 7, 2013
  3. wow. this looks absolutely incredible, i have no words! great post

    February 7, 2013
  4. shirley want #

    I can’t wait to try the one. Our family loves meatloaf and the ingredients in this look amazing.
    Many thanks.

    Shirley Want – Simcoe, Ont. Canada

    February 8, 2013
    • Thank YOU, Shirley! I hope y’all love it.

      February 8, 2013
  5. mindi #

    Do you think it would be okay to substitute red pepper for the green? I’m not sure my kids will go for green. They do like red orange and yellow peppers. Also, do you think if I chop up the onions very fine- almost puree them, it will change the consistency of the meatloaf? I certainly want the flavor, but I am afraid the kids will reject it because of onion pieces in the meatloaf?

    February 25, 2013
    • I completely understand! Yes, red pepper is a good substitute for the green. I also believe that the pureed onions will work well too. As long as the moisture is still present and evenly combined, it should turn out great. Best of luck! I’d love to know how your family like it 🙂

      February 25, 2013
  6. Sunshine #

    I made this tonight and the whole family loved it. I will admit to some small changes – 1) I was lazy and threw all the veggies into the blender to chop, this made them fine but undetectable to the kids (4&2), this saved a lot of time and mess. 2) I had some left over meat mix so I made meatballs, as my kids usually go for meatballs – they did and my oldest non carrot eating son ate away without a peep! 3) I used a red pepper and everything tasted just fine.

    February 25, 2013
    • Great tips! I’m glad it was a success!!

      February 25, 2013
  7. Crystal #

    i dont have any almond meal / flour handy would coconut flour work?

    March 2, 2013
    • Hi Crystal! Yes, coconut flour should work. I recommend you use 1/4 as much – coconut flour is much more absorbent than almond meal. You could also leave it out altogether, if you want. The loaf should still come out just fine. Hope you like it!

      March 2, 2013
  8. Laura #

    This was fantastic! I modified the sauce a little by adding some thyme and Steve’s Paleo Goods’ Tomato Balsamic sauce – delicious. For years, I have loved my mom’s meatloaf and she said tonight that she thought this was better. My brother, who hates meatloaf and never eats it when my mom makes it, ate this and liked it!

    June 4, 2013
  9. charles #

    Awesome recipe! made it tonight. Had to change a couple of things. I used ground turkey instead of pork and used coconut flour (1/4 cup was perfect) instead of almond meal. I also added 1tsp garlic to meatloaf and crumbled bacon to the sauce! very very good!!! My wife HATES meatloaf and she absolutely loved this. This will be a go to recipe from now on. Thanks so much for sharing.

    July 22, 2013
    • Hi Charles! I’m so happy to hear that y’all liked the meatloaf!! The turkey and coconut flour variety sounds enticing …I’ll definitely have to give that a try. Thanks for commenting!

      July 23, 2013
  10. OMG this was AMAZING!! Didn’t have a can of regular tomato sauce so I used a can of fire roasted tomatos instead… also added mushrooms cause we had extra and left the pork out cause I didn’t have any. SO yummy!! This will be on regular rotation!

    September 27, 2013
    • That sounds fabulous! I’m so glad you liked it.

      September 29, 2013
  11. Jen #

    What size cans did you use for the sauce?

    October 3, 2013
    • Ah, great question! I’m sorry I left it off. The sauce was 15 oz and the paste was ~6 oz. Thanks for asking!

      October 5, 2013
  12. Brooke #

    Love this recipe. My whole family enjoyed it! I though we would have a ton left over and I was surprised by how much we ate. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    November 11, 2013
    • Hi Brooke! I’m so glad y’all liked it! It’s one of my favorites too 🙂

      November 12, 2013
  13. Lindsey #

    I want to make this but I don’t have basamic vinegar on hand…any suggestions on substitutions?

    December 30, 2013
    • Apple cider vinegar could work as a substitute!

      December 30, 2013

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