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


Bacon-wrapped Meatloaf

baconmeatloafSometimes, my friends, bacon just has to happen. While many people bemoan just how bland meatloaf is, for me it is a comfort food from my childhood. Still, I’m all for jazzing up even the classics, and this bacon-wrapped meatloaf does it in spades, with smoky bacon and a sweet, tangy sauce. So the next time you’re looking for a little classic comfort food, give this baby a try. Serve it with some smashed taters and a side of roasted veggies.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs for gluten free)
  • 1 cup milk (or almond milk for dairy-free)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
  • 1/2 pound thin sliced bacon


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan and cook onion until transparent, about four minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. While onion and garlic cools, combine milk and bread crumbs in a dish and stir well. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, veal, salt, pepper, eggs, bread crumb/milk mixture, cooled onions and garlic, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, garlic powder, hot sauce, and onion powder.
  7. Stir (I use my hands) until all ingredients are extremely well combined.
  8. Turn out mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet (line it with foil to make clean-up easier) and form a free-form loaf.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat ketchup, vinegar, sriracha and brown sugar until sugar dissolves.
  10. Spread half the sauce over the loaf. Return the remaining sauce to heat and allow to boil before removing it from heat.
  11. Arrange thin sliced bacon in a single layer to coat the entire loaf.
  12. Bake in a 350 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 60 minutes.
  13. Remove meatloaf from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes, tented with foil.
  14. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.