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 technique. 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!





Paleo Meatloaf

5 from 1 vote
By Cassy
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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?”



  • 2 pounds Lean Ground Beef I used 90% lean
  • 1 pound 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
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper


  • 1 can 15 ounces Tomato Sauce I prefer organic
  • 1 can 6 ounces Tomato Paste again, I prefer organic
  • 3 tablespoons Grainy/Spicy Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 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.]


Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 909mg | Potassium: 1099mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3485IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 5mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 417
Keyword: grain free meatload, paleo meatloaf

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About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Any idea if you could make this without the egg possibly sub egg replacer or a little water & baking soda?

    1. Hi Dee! We haven’t tested this recipe specifically without eggs, but we have conducted extensive research on egg replacers in baking if you want some ideas. I think flaxseed would work well in meatloaf. Hope that’s helpful! -Team FF

  2. Thanks for this recipe! I’ve made it numerous times and it is now my go-to meatloaf. I use whatever veggies and ground meat I have on hand…always turns out delicious!

  3. Love this recipe. My whole family enjoyed it! I though we would have a ton left over and I was surprised by how much we ate. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    1. Hi Brooke! I’m so glad y’all liked it! It’s one of my favorites too 🙂

    1. Ah, great question! I’m sorry I left it off. The sauce was 15 oz and the paste was ~6 oz. Thanks for asking!

  4. OMG this was AMAZING!! Didn’t have a can of regular tomato sauce so I used a can of fire roasted tomatos instead… also added mushrooms cause we had extra and left the pork out cause I didn’t have any. SO yummy!! This will be on regular rotation!

  5. Awesome recipe! made it tonight. Had to change a couple of things. I used ground turkey instead of pork and used coconut flour (1/4 cup was perfect) instead of almond meal. I also added 1tsp garlic to meatloaf and crumbled bacon to the sauce! very very good!!! My wife HATES meatloaf and she absolutely loved this. This will be a go to recipe from now on. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Hi Charles! I’m so happy to hear that y’all liked the meatloaf!! The turkey and coconut flour variety sounds enticing …I’ll definitely have to give that a try. Thanks for commenting!

  6. This was fantastic! I modified the sauce a little by adding some thyme and Steve’s Paleo Goods’ Tomato Balsamic sauce – delicious. For years, I have loved my mom’s meatloaf and she said tonight that she thought this was better. My brother, who hates meatloaf and never eats it when my mom makes it, ate this and liked it!

    1. Hi Crystal! Yes, coconut flour should work. I recommend you use 1/4 as much – coconut flour is much more absorbent than almond meal. You could also leave it out altogether, if you want. The loaf should still come out just fine. Hope you like it!

  7. I made this tonight and the whole family loved it. I will admit to some small changes – 1) I was lazy and threw all the veggies into the blender to chop, this made them fine but undetectable to the kids (4&2), this saved a lot of time and mess. 2) I had some left over meat mix so I made meatballs, as my kids usually go for meatballs – they did and my oldest non carrot eating son ate away without a peep! 3) I used a red pepper and everything tasted just fine.

  8. Do you think it would be okay to substitute red pepper for the green? I’m not sure my kids will go for green. They do like red orange and yellow peppers. Also, do you think if I chop up the onions very fine- almost puree them, it will change the consistency of the meatloaf? I certainly want the flavor, but I am afraid the kids will reject it because of onion pieces in the meatloaf?

    1. I completely understand! Yes, red pepper is a good substitute for the green. I also believe that the pureed onions will work well too. As long as the moisture is still present and evenly combined, it should turn out great. Best of luck! I’d love to know how your family like it 🙂

  9. I can’t wait to try the one. Our family loves meatloaf and the ingredients in this look amazing.
    Many thanks.

    Shirley Want – Simcoe, Ont. Canada

  10. OMG that tomato crust has SOLD ME!! Absolutely delicious, holy moly!!

  11. I grew up eating meatloaf on rare occasions. The thing that I disliked the most was the ketchup topping. This sounds wonderful.