I really love meatloaf. Really love it. In my Italian family meatballs and meatloaf are taken extremely seriously. So when we eliminated gluten because of Isaac’s intolerance and started cooking mostly paleo, I knew I had to step up and create some fantastic meatloaf. I tried a number of recipes that didn’t quite taste like my mom’s before I set out to create my own.
Also let’s clarify what “Italian-Style” is going to mean on this blog. My mom is a first generation Italian-American so the heritage is very direct, but we are distinctly on the East Coast, American end of Italian-American cooking. I mean my relatives from Massachusetts and Rhode Island who use phrases like “fahget about it” and can’t even say hello without copious hand gestures. I mean GoodFellas, red checkered tablecloths, candles stuck in wine bottles, garlic breath for life Italian. So you don’t need to tell me in the comments that they don’t do it that way in Italy, because if it’s how the DiBlasios do it in Rhode Island it’s good enough for me. Glad we cleared that up.
The secret to the right texture here is a simple sub: almond flour where I would have previously used breadcrumbs. I do think sifted almond flour is better as opposed to almond meal but you can use either one. My local Costco has a great deal on a 3-lb bag of almond flour and I use it in all kinds of things. The parmesan is optional but adds that flavor that makes it homey for me. However, if you omit it it’s Whole30 compliant and totally paleo. I’ve also been meaning to experiment with nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor so let me know if you do! Fresh thyme and parsley really wake up the flavor too but you can use the dried if you don’t have them.
There are a number of options for glazing the loaf. You can leave it plain and simply serve with horseradish or ketchup, which makes it extra keto-friendly. Growing up my mom always coated it with tomato paste and that is still one of my favorites. Either no glaze or the tomato paste keeps it Whole30 compliant as long as you use almond milk. My husband and son really like it with a simple glaze of 1/2 cup ketchup(use homemade or a good brand to stay paleo), a tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard. I go back and forth. I’ll probably do a dedicated dijon-maple glazed meatloaf soon with some fun twists in the meat too for something different.
Also, this is a huge meatloaf because we eat a lot and love leftovers. You can cut it in half for a smaller loaf. I don’t know why you would want less meatloaf, but you can.
Paleo Italian-Style Meatloaf
- 2.5 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk or milk use almond milk for paleo or Whole30
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley may sub 1 T. dried
- 1 T. chopped fresh thyme may sub 1 tsp. dried
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 T. minced fresh garlic may sub 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese omit for paleo/Whole30
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 5 oz can tomato paste
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the almond milk, almond flour, onion, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and cheese if using. Mix well.
- Add the ground beef and mix well with your hands.
- Place the meat in a shallow baking dish and shape into approximately a 10"x4" loaf.
- Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Spread the tomato paste or desired glaze evenly over the loaf. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until done.