Meatloaf Recipe (Grain-Free, Paleo)

by Deliciously Organic on September 8, 2010

Labor Day has passed, school is in full swing and the mornings are beginning to get cooler. Little by little it’s beginning to feel like fall. I’m looking forward to this fall. Lots of new opportunities are on the horizon. Next month I’m attending the Blogher Food conference in San Francisco and I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking on the panel entitled, “New to Blogging? How to stand out in a crowded food atmosphere.” I’m thrilled to meet many people whose blogs I’ve followed for quite some time and spend time with friends, talking about food and writing. If you are attending please let me know. I’d love to meet you!

One of my all-time favorite family meals for fall/winter is meatloaf. This is a new favorite, not something I grew up eating. For years I’ve made my meatloaf with breadcrumbs as a binder but the other day I wondered if a gluten-free grain would work just as well. I cooked up a small pot of quinoa and used it as a replacement for the breadcrumbs and it worked beautifully. The added whole grain provides benefits like extra protein and a bit of fiber. Our family usually fights for the leftovers the next day. I like to cut thick slices of leftover meatloaf and cook it in a little olive oil. Meatloaf sandwiches also score huge points, with good crusty sourdough.

Meatloaf Recipe (Paleo, Gaps, Gluten Free, Grain Free)

Serving Size: Serves 8

Meatloaf Recipe (Paleo, Gaps, Gluten Free, Grain Free)

It's important to finely dice the vegetables, so I blitz them a few times in the food processor to save time. I usually serve this with buttermilk mashed potatoes or brown rice and a salad.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, finely choppped

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, cooked (or 1/2 cup almond flour for a grain-free/Paleo alternative)

  • 1 large egg, gently beaten
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
 (omit for Paleo or if you used the almond flour in place of quinoa)
  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 6 pieces bacon, pastured preferred

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey


Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to middle position. Heat oil and butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add carrot, celery and bell pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Make a well in the center of the pan and add salt and thyme and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then stir into the vegetables. Remove pan from heat, let cool for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl combine quinoa, egg, cream and beef. Add cooled vegetables and stir until combined. Pour mixture into a 9x11-inch baking dish and form into a large loaf. Arrange bacon in a criss-cross pattern on top and using a pastry brush, brush with maple syrup. Pour 3/4 cup of water on the bottom of the pan (the loaf will be surrounded by water. This keeps the meatloaf moist). Bake for 1 1/2 hours until golden brown. Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I've been wanting to experiment with quinoa soon–so this will be perfect. Thanks!


Maria September 8, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Looks like the perfect comfort food!


Kristen September 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Comfort food at its finest. Yum!


marla {family fresh cooking} September 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm

This is such a great meatloaf recipe. I love the addition of quinoa & strips of bacon on top. xo


Gail September 8, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Oh my! That looks sooooo yummy! I love a good meatloaf and I agree, it's the perfect Fall dish. 😉 Have fun in San Fransisco!


Molly Chester September 9, 2010 at 4:09 am

This looks delish! Great talking with you yesterday. Let's get together Wednesday! My dad will be heading out in the morning. So afternoon will be great… Looking forward to it! Molly


Alison September 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

This looks incredible and perfect for this time of year!


Lisa R September 10, 2010 at 3:23 am

Stewart saw the photo of the bacon-covered meatloaf up on the computer and said how good it looked, in a way that only a hungry 16-year old can. Fortunately, it was already in the oven! He is enjoying it now.


Cookin' Canuck September 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

This looks like the ultimate comfort food! Love the photo of the carrots.


Diana Bauman September 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Meatloaf is calling my name. I love the added bacon on top. Never thought to do that. I'm not a ketchup on meatloaf kind of girl, so this is perfect!


Catherine September 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Carrie, congrats on speaking at BlogHer. Which I could go and catch up and learn from you. Hope you're doing well. I love your blog.


Erin April 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

We just tried this for the first time last night and LOVED it! Thanks so much. I love your website!


andrea July 6, 2012 at 5:07 am

Looks delicious! I cannot seem to print the recipe. When I click on the link to print it is blank. I cannot even copy and paste to print. A little help? :)


Deliciously Organic July 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

I apologize. The Wordpress software sometimes changes my print link codes, making them unusable. We are trying to figure out the issue. It’s all fixed, so now you can print.


Gabe August 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

This looks great! I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for making it dairy free? Is the cream for moisture or fat or both? Thanks!


Deliciously Organic August 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

It’s for both moisture and fat. I’ve been omitting the cream lately and it’s turned out just fine. You could also add an extra egg for moisture.


Candace Hendrick October 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE this recipe. I tried it a while back and it has been our go to meatloaf recipe since. Actually, it is on the meal plan for this week. Just wanted to let you know :)


Deliciously Organic October 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

I’m so glad your family likes it! Thanks for the feedback!


Linda Hartranft April 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Have you figured out the carbs per serving? That’d be great! Thanks! It sounds delish!


Deliciously Organic April 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I don’t have software on the site to show the nutritional values of each recipe. I know there are many programs out there that can help. You can add an extra egg and leave out the breadcrumbs and cream to bring the carb content lower if desired.


Carli January 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I am planning to prep this so I can freeze it to eat later in the month. Would you recommend prepping the entire thing up until right before adding the water to the pan, then freezing it? Then, when I go to stick it in the freezer, should I defrost it before baking it? Thank you!!!

Also, I have made several recipes from your website and my family and I LOVE them! My husband gets especially excited because of all the bacon, which I haven’t used much of in the past, so he thanks you, also. :)


Deliciously Organic January 6, 2014 at 6:52 am

Yes, freezing and then thawing completely (freeze without the water) will work just fine. Thank you for the feedback. It’s always so nice to hear that others are enjoying the recipes! :)


Stephanie April 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Could you use whole milk instead of cream? Do you think it would taste ok if I omitted the bacon and either used nothing or turkey bacon?


Deliciously Organic April 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I don’t recommend milk since the consistency will be too loose for the meatloaf. Yes, it will still taste great without bacon. I don’t recommend turkey bacon since it’s a processed food. My girls love it when I put some ketchup on top. When it bakes it caramelizes and turns nice and sweet! :)


Karen July 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I am confused where it says pour 3/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan? Does that mean you put the loaf pan in another pan with water?


Karen July 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

Never mind, I figured it out, I was a little tired :)


Deliciously Organic July 14, 2014 at 7:59 am

We all have those days. 😉


Rosi September 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

So excited to try this! Found your recipe on pinterest. Making it tonight, the house smells great! Thank you for sharing!


Leah January 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I am somewhat confused by the adding of the water…do you pour it right in with the meat?


Deliciously Organic January 9, 2015 at 8:43 am

Yes you pour it right in with the meat.


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