Paleo Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Spicy Ketchup

meatloafby Karen Frazier

So here’s my problem with meatloaf without a panade (a mixture of breadcrumbs and milk). It tends to be heavy. It doesn’t get that loafy texture one associates with meatloaf. Naturally, I’ve been tinkering. It’s easy to make a meatloaf dairy and gluten-free – you just make breadcrumbs from GF bread and soak them in non-dairy milk. When you no longer consume grains, however, obtaining that texture gets harder.

I’ve seen different solutions to this in paleo and low-carb recipes over the years – things like crushed pork rinds (I hate those things) and chopped nuts. I think the pork rinds add an unpleasant porky flavor, but if you like them that might work out. As for the chopped nuts, they make the loaf even heavier.

As I was sitting and pondering the problem, I knew I needed some type of vegetable that would add a lighter texture, not a heavier one to replace the breadcrumbs. Then it hit me. Mushrooms. I put about 8 ounces in the food processor and chopped them up into a very fine texture (almost like breadcrumbs). Then, because I’m always trying to hide veggies from Jim, I decided I’d toss some carrots, sweet red bell pepper, and zucchini in there, too. I put them all in the food processor with several cloves of garlic and chopped them extremely finely. Then, I mixed it in with the meat, spices, and onion. The texture was actually pretty darn good.

In the past, my meatloaf has contained three different types of meat – 2 parts ground beef (15 percent fat), 1 part ground pork, and 1 part ground veal. This version is made from all ground beef, although you can adapt it to any meat mixture you wish. Leaving the fat content of the meat a bit higher makes the meatloaf moister.

Finally, I made a facsimile of ketchup. Then, I made it spicy. It was pretty good, and the texture of the meatloaf avoided that heaviness that comes from a loaf without breadcrumbs. I’m thrilled I was able to translate my non-paleo meatloaf into this tasty paleo version. The kids, on the other hand, are going to be super bummed.

Paleo Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

  • 2 tablespoons fat (I use duck fat, because yum. You can also use lard, tallow, or grass-fed butter)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (15 percent fat or higher)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces thin sliced bacon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the fat until it melts. Add the onions and cook until they are soft, about five minutes. Allow to cool before proceeding.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade, process the mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and garlic until finely chopped. You may need to do this in batches to get the right size chop.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, onions, chopped vegetables from the food processor, eggs, horseradish, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet, patting it into a free-form loaf.
  6. Cover the entire loaf with slices of bacon.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 75 minutes, until a thermometer reads 165 degrees. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 30 minutes before slicing it.

Spicy Ketchup

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 9 ounces organic tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can organic chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice if you don’t do vinegar)
  • Juice of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (substitute a packet of stevia if you’re looking for low-carb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Scrape the ketchup into a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. If it gets to thick, add more apple cider vinegar to thin it out a bit.

The ketchup will keep for two weeks in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, and will fulfill all your ketchup needs. It’s not just for meatloaf.

photo credit: su-lin via photopin cc


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