Primal Meatloaf–The Options Abound

I love summertime–the warmth of the sun on your face, the way the heat envelops you when you walk outside, the long hours of light.  Without a doubt, that’s part of the reason why I call Austin home.  Well, it’s now January, and even Austin experiences some cold weather.  Although I refuse to buy itchy sweaters or suffocating turtlenecks, I will indulge in a little comfort food, and NOTHING says comfort food like meatloaf.  The other day I picked up the most recent edition of Fine Cooking (one of my favorite cooking magazines), and realized that I’d been rather narrow-minded in my meatloaf endeavors.  Instead of using my grandmother’s go-to recipe, I took a look at what I had in the fridge and whipped up a completely new, but totally delicious meatloaf.  Below, you’ll find my new recipe for Turkey/Feta/Spinach/Bacon Meatloaf, as well as my grandmother’s traditional recipe.

Turkey/Feta/Spinach/Bacon Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds ground turkey thighs (I prefer thigh meat.  Not only is it cheaper, but the higher fat content keeps your meatloaf moist.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cups spinach, finely chopped
  • Feta cheese (optional, of course)
  • Bacon slices
  • Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients (except bacon) in a bowl and mix until combined with hands. Divide mixture in half and form into two loaves. Place on baking sheet with drip rack.  Cover each loaf with strips of bacon. Cook at 325 degrees for approximately 1.5 hours, or until done (ground turkey should reach an internal temp of 165 degrees F, according to this flyer).

Grandma Rhyne’s Traditional Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds meatloaf mixture (bison, pork, beef, veal)
  • 6 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce + 2 Tbs. (I typically don’t stress over the small things. However, I understand that some of you out there are super strict either by choice or necessity, so feel free to either make your own or use plain ketchup instead–I know that most supermarkets now carry organic ketchup free of high fructose corn syrup).
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix ingredients with hands. Form 2 loaves. Place on baking sheet with drip rack. Cover with additional 2 Tbs. Chili Sauce or Ketchup.  Bake for 1.5 hours or until done (according to the link above, ground beef should reach an internal temp of 160 degrees F).

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4 Responses to “Primal Meatloaf–The Options Abound”

  1. Mmmmmm meatloaf! Love it! My mom made meatloaf patties the other night (sort of an accident) but they were delish.

    Also, I hate turtlenecks too.

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  2. Been on the paleo since mid January. Fell off the wagon this weekend in a bad way.. weekend at beach house.. with italian family killed all of our diets. Now I’m planning meals for the week and found your website.. someone borrowed my Paleo book and didn’t return it and I bought some online recipe books which are okay… however I see that you are using bacon and feta… high fat meat and cheese… what’s the thinking here? I know you said “optional” but dairy really is not optional. I am abouy 85% paleo, cheating with chocolate and occasional butter. Just curious as to how much cheating you all do and what food items do you usually cheat with? Thanks!

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    • Hi Denise,

      How “compliant” you are really depends on your goals. My favorite quote from Robb Wolf goes something like, “cavemen didn’t have toilets either, but I’m not giving mine up.”

      Once you’ve gotten to a low body fat percentage, and you’ve been strict on paleo for about a month, where you’ve basically “reset” your gut and insulin resistance, you can introduce certain things back into your diet to see how your body reacts. For some, cheese is a good way to bulk up for strength training. If you’re trying to lean out further, or you have yet to meet personal goals, then you’ll need to stay strict.

      As for the high fat meats, it depends on the source of the meat. Bacon can be cut lean if you get it at a butcher. And if it comes from grassfed cows, then the fats will contain a good balance of nutrients that you needed anyway. Just don’t go to town with the bacon.

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