Every once in a while, someone will reach out to me via social media, email, or stop me somewhere and tell me they enjoy reading my column and blog posts.

I look forward to them every week. I also enjoy reading comments in the comment section of my blog so let me know if you try this recipe and how it turned out.

These are friendly nuggets of caring and encouragement that bring joy to my heart. Such was the case this summer when Nancy approached me and expressed she was so glad to see me as she wanted to tell me she appreciates my weekly column. In addition, she said some of my recipes had become home favorites, like my breakfast casserole! The best compliment ever!

Our conversation was incredibly gratifying as I know her mom was a fantastic cook and that Nancy herself bakes fabulous meals. So, Nancy, this week’s post is for you. I appreciate your kindness. I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as my family loves it!

On the menu this week is meatloaf! Not the rock group, the meal!

Now, before anyone groans, know that this is the best meatloaf you will ever make or eat! It’s moist and flavorful! I’m going to be right up front and tell you the secret to making it successfully. Ready?

The secret is to grate the onions before adding to the meat mixture.

Baked meatloaf

Avoid grains and gluten by using almond flour instead of panko. Panko is made from white bread. It’s often used as a crunchy coating for fried foods. The main difference between panko and regular bread crumbs is that panko doesn’t use crusts. Panko is made from larger flakes vs. bread crumbs which are just what their name implies. Crumbly.  Note: There is a version of rice panko. I haven’t used it as I stick to using almond flour.

There’s a difference between almond meal and almond flour. Almond meal is from raw almonds and includes almond skins. My favorite brand is Trader Joe’s.

Almond flour absorbs the delicious flavor of the onions and other seasonings, so every bite is as good as the previous because even though it absorbs flavorings, it retains moisture. In addition, almond flour adds a layer of depth and nutty moistness you won’t get from panko. Trust me; you won’t go back to panko in meatloaf! Of course, you can use both of these techniques for making meatballs, too!

Trader Joe’s is my preference for almond flour. 

Now that you know the back story of MY meatloaf, how about a bit of a history lesson. It’ll be short. There’s baking and eating to do!

No one seems to be clear about where meatloaf got its start. There are rumors it began in medieval days of yore as a means to stretch scraps of meat. German immigrants made scrapple, which is still made today, as a means of combining starch and protein. I’ve had scrapple and don’t see the connection. Neither do I consider the Mediterranean version of adding fruits and nuts. But my recipe is a nod to the American version that began in colonial times, so what do I know. Well, what I know is that Colonials had to kill some of their beef critters off before winter as it was too hard and costly to keep them through the winter. Making a ground beef meatloaf gave them a purpose for using even the toughest meats.

Photo credit: Usman Yousaf via Unsplash

In 1896, the first edition of the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook published a meatloaf recipe using veal. I draw the line at using or eating veal but there was a time when it was a popular thing to do. The recipe includes instructions on how to separate the veal from the bone. Well, when you know better, you do better, right? Today’s cook using Frannie Farmer’s recipe usually substitutes ground beef for the veal.

Overall, historically meatloaf has consisted of a combination of meat and starch. My recipe nixes the starch by using almond flour. In doing so, it becomes a keto, gluten-free friendly recipe, high in protein per serving.

Baked meatloaf
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Mom's Memorable Meatloaf

This recipe is for the best meatloaf you will ever make or eat. The secret is grating the onions before adding to the meat mixture and using almond flour instead of almond flour. Also, I do my best to always use the healthier choice of grass-fed beef.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, meatloaf
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 293kcal
Cost $14

Equipment

  • 9'x5" loaf baking pan
  • measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon or fork

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Lean Grass-fed hamburger
  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1 lrg Yellow or red onion
  • 2 lrg Eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs Butter, melted
  • 2 tsp Coconut aminos (may substitute Worchestershire Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tsp Basil, dried
  • 1-2 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 cubes Beef or vegetable bouillon, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • To a large bowl, add almond meal.
  • Grate the onion over the almond meal and mix until the onion juices are absorbed.
  • Remove hamburger from packaging. Add this to the onion mixture, along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Mix until everything is well combined. I use my hands but a mixer with a dough hook attachment works well, too.
  • Add this to a 9 X 13” loaf pan. Pat it down well and evenly, but not too firmly.

Glaze

  • Prepare glaze by mixing all of the ingredients, then pour evenly over the meat mixture.
  • Bake for 55 minutes or until it reaches 160°F (72°C).
  • Remove from oven. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Try to cut it sooner, and it will crumble (but still tastes just as good!). The first slices may crumble anyway. Lifting the entire loaf out is tricky but can be done using two spatulas at each end of the loaf. Leftovers make fantastic sandwiches!

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 454mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 167IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3mg

Note: If you don’t have almond flour, you may substitute cracker or bread crumbs or pulverized croutons.

Before serving, plate a slice, top with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Pop it under the broiler until the cheese melts. Remove and serve!