MOM! The 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!
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
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