I remember not liking meal loaf as a kid. My mom would make it occasionally and I would always turn my nose up at it, although I am not sure why. So I was well over 35 by the time I had the desire to make it. And my husband has asked for it frequently ever since. During my first attempt, I was following a strict Paleo diet so I experimented with crumb-free binders. Surprisingly, just an egg and mushrooms do the trick.
Pro-tip: Mixing a cold pile of ground meat by hand can be a pain, so I use my stand mixer. It mixes it in a matter of seconds!
- 2 lb ground beef (you may substitute with ground pork; we like half and half)
- 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, finely chopped (I use a food processor to get it consistently fine)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (I’ve also added finely chopped red pepper)
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tsp thyme
- 3 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dried chili peppers (this gives it a nice bite and my toddler still eats it; omit if you are worried)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 c of clean marinara or ketchup
- 1/4 c red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chili pepper
- 1/2 tbsp tamarind, coconut aminos, or clean soy sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a food processor, finely chop mushrooms, onion, and carrots. You can lightly sautee these for a few minutes in EVOO if you have time as it will enhance the flavour. I’ve made it without sauteeing and it still turns out great.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine meat with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and spices.
- Line a large rimmed cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan with foil. Form meat mixture into a long loaf.
- Brush with the topping, if using. Reserve extra topping for dipping.
- Cook for 50-60 minutes.