How can you make a meatloaf look as good as it tastes? Is it the actual photo that makes us salivate or are we just reminded of a comforting and super tasty meal? Maybe it’s the latter. When I see a picture of a meatloaf, my mind is fixated on juicy and seasoned meat and can’t get it out of my head until I have some on my plate! No wonder it’s popular. Easy to make and with endless flavor combinations and oh so tasty!
Even in the Paleo community, many feature a number of meatloaf recipes. Speaking of Paleo, it is common to replace breading with almond flour, or almond meal. Bread crumbs were originally added to a meatloaf recipe as a way to stretch the meat, or make the meat appear bigger than it actually is. The eggs do the binding work, so the bread is just there for a little texture and help redistribute some of the fats from the ground meat. However, unblanched almond meal not only gives the traditional meatloaf texture, but adds an amazing nutty flavor! In meatloaf, it is truly an amazing ingredient!
I used a combination of pork and beef since it’s traditionally used. Beef also helps provide a better texture than using pork alone. Inside the loaf, there is shredded sweet potato, tomato paste, fresh basil leaves, fresh thyme leaves, onion, and all spice and cinnamon seasonings. Onion is stir fried before mixing in with the rest of the ingredients to ensure complete onion cooking. I’m not a fan of under-cooked onions in meatloaf!
A large pore grater is nice to process my sweet potato into shreds, though an electrical food processor with a shredding attachment would be safer for your knuckles. One large potato should be enough for the meatloaf. The sweet potato adds a faint sweetness to the dish and is complemented with savory herbs and spices. The flavors are a harmonious balance of some sweet and savory. So colorful and perfect for Spring and Summer!
I did something fun with almond meal. I added a thin layer of the almond meal on the bottom of my loaf pan before adding the meat mixture on top of it. Almond meal has a enough fat to cook into a nice toasted layer without pulling moisture from the loaf. The meatloaf has the ideal moisture level, not greasy, and doesn’t crumble. When flipped, we see a nice almond meatloaf topping that is very yummy!
I used four mini loaf pans for extra surface area and more almond layer. Yes, I like the edges! The recipe makes enough meat for a traditional 8 or 9 inch loaf pan. A neat trick to prevent cracking is to wet your fingers and rub them over the surface of the meat before popping them in the oven. Let it bake at 400 °F until the internal temperature reaches 160 °F!
I didn’t forget about the ketchup. I may be insane to make my own ketchup, even more by adding a little sweet potato puree. The sauce is adapted from Ryan Wilder’s Paleo ketchup recipe with just added sweet potato puree for bit of sweetness and extra all spice.
The meat, the herbs, the sweet potato, almond layer, and the sauce all in one plate is just heavenly! And it’s good clean energy too! Seriously, after dinner I broke some running records!
- 1 lb Organic Ground Pork
- 1 lb Grass-fed Ground Beef
- 2 Large Eggs
- ½ cup Chopped Onion
- ¼ cup Tomato Paste
- 1 cup Unblanched Almond Meal/Flour
- ¼ cup Unblached Almond Meal(for layer)
- 1 cup Shredded Sweet Potato
- ½ cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp All Spice
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Cooking oil
- 1 can of Tomato Paste, 6oz
- 6 oz Water
- 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup Sweet Potato Puree
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Allspice
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F
- Stir fry the onion in the cooking oil until translucent
- Add no more than ¼ cup of almond flour to the bottom layer of a non stick loaf pan. If using multiple plans, distribute the amount through the pans. I used about 2 Tablespoons in each of my mini pans.
- Mix the beef, pork, egg, herbs, cooked onion, spices, shredded sweet potato, seasoning, tomato paste, and 1 cup of almond flour in a large bowl until combined. Careful not to overwork the mixture.
- Press meat into loaf pans over the almond flour layer.
- Wet your fingers and run over the surface of the meat. This will prevent cracking of the top layer.
- Bake at 400 °F for 40-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160 °F.
- Let sit for about 10 minutes before inverting the loaf pan onto a serving plate.
- Mix all the ingredients and cook in a sauce pan for a few minutes.
- Drizzle over Meatloaf and enjoy!