December 8


Monika’s Molecular Meals: Better-Than-Grandma’s Whole30 Meatloaf

By Monika Knapp

December 8, 2021

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This Tasty Whole30 Meatloaf Is Easy To Make & Secretly Healthy… 

Monika’s Molecular Meals: Better-Than-Grandma’s Whole30 Meatloaf

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I’ll be honest—traditional, “grandma-style” meatloaf has a lot going for it:

It’s sweet from ketchup, meaty from, well, meat, and kept moist-but-not-too-moist thanks to the combination of milk and bread crumbs.

That’s great and all… but what if you’re on a special diet, like Whole30, when your next meatloaf craving strikes?

And regardless, if you’re trying to go to the grocery store a bit less and use up what you have at home… maybe you’re out of breadcrumbs, milk, or both.

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So that’s where this recipe comes in:

It’s got all of the same hallmarks of an outstanding meatloaf, but doesn’t require you to use ANY dairy, grains, or added sugar.

It sure as heck doesn’t *taste* healthy… but it secretly is. 🙂 

And because it comes together in just over an hour, this makes it a great choice for a weekday dinner when you don’t feel like pulling out all the stops, but still want to eat a delicious, home-cooked meal… almost like you would have had at grandma’s.

Here’s how it’s done:

Monika’s Molecular Meals: Better-Than-Grandma’s Whole30 Meatloaf

FTH’s Better-Than-Grandma’s Whole30 Meatloaf

Equipment Needed: 9×5” loaf pan

Recipe Time: 75 minutes

Serves: 6-8


  • 1 lb. ground beef (preferably 80% lean) or ground lamb
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 leek, washed well, light green and white parts diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, such as shiitake or cremini, sliced
  • 2 large eggs, largely beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed for cooking and drizzling
  • Chicken stock as needed (see Recipe Notes)
  • Almond meal (optional)
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1) Cook down the aromatics.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and oil your loaf pan. Set it aside for now.

In a large skillet, add the onion, leek, cabbage, mushrooms, and half of the thyme. 

Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is very soft and has lost some of its moisture, about 20-25 minutes. 

2) Soak the almond meal (if using) and mix your meatloaf.

If you’re using the almond meal, add it to a small bowl along with 2/3 cup of chicken stock. Set it aside to soak.

When the almond meal has absorbed the liquid, mix your meatloaf. (If you’re not using the almond meal, you can ignore this.)

In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, herbs, and spices, plus the cooked aromatics. If using almond meal, simply add all the other ingredients to your bowl with the soaked almond meal.

Add a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper and mix gently with your hands. (You don’t want to overmix it, or it will be dense!)

3) Transfer your meatloaf to the prepared pan and bake.

Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and drizzle the top with a little olive oil.

Keep in mind that you do *not* have to pack the mixture tightly in the pan.

Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160 degrees F.

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4) Let rest, invert, and serve!

When the meatloaf is done, invert it onto a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Recipe Notes

  • If you use lamb, consider adding mint and cinnamon to your meatloaf mixture. It might sound like a strange combination… though I’ve found mint really complements and emphasizes lamb’s natural flavor (it’s also a classic British pairing), and cinnamon brings out the lamb’s natural sweetness.
  • The cabbage and mushrooms add some moisture to the meatloaf, so you may not need to add any extra liquid (traditional recipes call for milk). But if you find the mixture is a bit dry, feel free to use chicken stock as you see fit.
  • I’ve included almond meal as a Whole30-compliant replacement for traditional bread crumbs, but you may find this recipe is just as tasty without any extra filler at all! So don’t be afraid to experiment and figure out what you like best. 🙂
Monika’s Molecular Meals: Better-Than-Grandma’s Whole30 Meatloaf

Make This Naturally Sweet Tomato Glaze If You’re Really Missing Ketchup Right Now…

I know meatloaf and ketchup are a classic pairing… so if you *really* need to get that ketchup fix while you’re doing Whole30, try this:

Dump an entire jar of canned and peeled whole tomatoes into a skillet, and cook it down over medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple generous pinches of salt. 

When it’s cooked down to the point that it’s starting to stick to the bottom of the pan, puree the mixture using either an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor.

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Return it to the pan and add a teaspoon or two of coconut aminos if you have them. If you don’t, try a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. 

You could even cook down a couple of pitted dates into the sauce and puree everything together for extra sweetness.

Throw in 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika for a kick of spice (if you want), drizzle over the meatloaf, and enjoy!

Can You Eat Meatloaf & Lose Weight Faster?

The short answer is… yes!

And that’s because meatloaf is chock-full of one key ingredient that study after study shows can help you feel fuller for longer [1]

Reduce cravings [2]

And can even boost your metabolism when you eat enough of it [3]

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about PROTEIN.

Just one 3-ounce serving of cooked ground beef contains an impressive 22 grams of protein… which is A LOT, given that it only clocks in at about 150 calories.

And while I know you might think of meatloaf as more of a “comfort food” than a “weight loss food”…

one recent study found that when people added just a little bit more protein to their diet, they burned up to 441 more calories the next day.

(To put things into perspective, it would take a 150-lb person more than an HOUR of aerobic exercise to burn that many calories… I think I’ll take the meatloaf, thanks.) 🙂

So if you want to know the exact amount of protein to add to your diet to get that extra calorie burn… plus two more “no workout” tips to lose weight, without doing much of anything (except turning a knob, or flipping a switch)… 

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Monika Knapp

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