Eating Well Made Easy: Gluten Free Meatloaf

Here at Spring Forest Farm, I began this recipe collection by focusing on a few crowd pleasing staples. (See Steak Tips or Spicy Short Ribs or Braised Beef Roast for example.) Though easy enough, they aren’t the fastest recipes. They are what I call “weekend food” simply because they need more time to slow cook. For the sake of variety, I’m going to turn our attention to weeknight meals. I’d like to start with comfort food and share my recipe for Gluten Free Meatloaf.

If you’ve ever had to eliminate gluten from your diet, you probably know the feeling of huffing a very disappointed, “Now what?” Food is highly emotional. It ties us to events and memories that we treasure. We remember evenings around the table as a child or at holidays with extended family. We gather around food. We share it. So when you all of a sudden cannot participate or recreate those favorite shared moments, there can be a period of mourning. I was in such a period when I first sought out a recipe for gluten free meatloaf.

“Food is highly emotional….We gather around food. We share it.” We make memories at the table. Prepare food for health, for enjoyment, and for lifelong memories.

I’m pretty sure I grew up with Betty Crocker’s standard meatloaf recipe which includes 1 cup of bread crumbs. When I first gave up gluten, I didn’t have any idea how one might replace an entire cup of bread crumbs in a recipe, but after scouring the internet for options, I settled on an option from Autoimmune Wellness. The thing is, I am notorious for not following recipes. I take an idea and make it my own. I’m pretty sure I first made gluten free meatloaf as presented by Mickey Trescott, but over time that recipe has morphed into my own, based on the preferences of my family and the availability of ingredients in our kitchen.

The key to gluten free meatloaf is vegetables. They add aromatics, color, and structure.

It turns out, the key to gluten free meatloaf is vegetables. Veggies IN the meat. I know, right? Who would have thought? The only vegetable my meatloaf used to contain was an onion. But I have found that veggies add depth to meatloaf. They add aromatics, color, and structure. They will bind a meatloaf together as firmly as bread crumbs. And of course, there is the added bonus of hiding extra vegetables within a food that your children enjoy. (You can also hide beef liver in meatloaf. Simply pulse 1/4 – 1/2 lb in your food processor and add to the ground meat.)

Chop the parsley, but don’t cook it with the other vegetables. Simply mix it in with the egg, oregano, salt, and pepper, before adding to the meat.

For this recipe, I’ve used grated carrots, zucchini, chopped onion, garlic, and fresh parsley. I’ve also made this recipe with a large grated mushroom and/or grated parsnips. Both the mushroom and parsnip add a bit of an earthy flavor. Basically, feel free to use your favorite vegetables. I’m not sure that there is a right or wrong answer here. My inspiration recipe used cauliflower heavily, but that didn’t really jive with my family, so we found our own favorite mixture.

Mixed and ready for baking.

The key is to precook your veggies a bit on the stove. I toss all the grated and chopped veggies (except the parsley) into a pan and saute with a bit of oil. This just assures that they will be soft in the meatloaf and not offend with an unexpected texture. After that, it’s just about mixing it up and dropping it into your preferred loaf pan.

As a family, we prefer bacon on top rather than the more traditional layer of ketchup. It is completely optional in this recipe.

Regarding the bacon on top….it’s totally optional. Growing up, I was never a huge fan of ketchup on meatloaf. In fact I’m pretty sure I remember crying about it when I was little. When we tried the bacon idea, we found that as a family, we liked it better. It offers a smoky flavor to the finished product. Feel free to do what you love!

Two final thoughts: 1. You will need to drain the liquid produced by the vegetables. 2. You will then need to finish the meatloaf under the broiler if you used bacon on top. Watch carefully. It will brown quickly.

Enjoy the recipe. Adapt and make it your own!

Gluten Free Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

The key to gluten free meatloaf is vegetables. They add aromatics, color, and structure.


– loaf pan
– 2 lbs. ground beef
– 1 Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
– 1 small zucchini, finely shredded
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
– 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
– pepper to taste
– 1 large egg
– 3 strips of bacon (optional)


1. Heat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
2. Chop the onion, garlic, and parsley. Shred the carrot and zucchini.
3. Cook the onion, garlic, carrot, and zucchini in oil until the onions are are soft. Set mixture aside to cool.
4. In a mixing bowl, mix chopped parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and the egg. Add the ground beef. Once the veggie mixture is cooled a bit, add that and mix everything together.
5. Pat the mixture into a loaf pan. If desired, lay strips of bacon across the top of the loaf. Bake for 55-60 minutes at 350.
6. When done baking, carefully remove the loaf pan from the oven and drain the excess liquid. (I pour off into a grease jar.)
7. If you cooked with bacon on top, return the meatloaf to the oven under a high broiler. Watch carefully to brown and sizzle the bacon. It takes less than 5 minutes in my oven.
8. Once removed from the oven, let sit for five minutes or so. It helps the loaf to be firm when cutting. Enjoy!

Here on, Jennifer Taylor Schmidt writes beef recipes for the busy, natural homemaker. It is possible to seek optimal health with limited time and money. Join Jennifer in future posts as she explores the possibilities found in a 1/4 and a 1/2 beeve. You can also find her thoughts and personal health journey on

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