Meat loaf isn’t very glamorous. But it is quick to make, and it’s indisputably a comfort food. The best part of a meat loaf, for me, is the layer of tangy bbq sauce on the outside. So the first step to creating a Whole30 meat loaf recipe was coming up with a good bbq sauce. I think a little sweetness is key to a delicious bbq sauce, so I’ve used dates to make this just sweet enough. We use ground turkey for this recipe, though I’m sure it would also be good with beef.

I’ve made this in small quantities, but this is one of those recipes that requires hardly any extra work to make more versus less. So I’ve written the recipe to use 3 pounds of ground turkey, which is enough to feed my family at one meal with a little bit leftover. If you don’t have a house full of hungry Paleo people, you could cut the recipe by 1 or 2 thirds very easily, but I would recommend making it as written and then freezing the leftovers. Meat loaf is a really yummy thing to have on hand for emergency meals.

Also, this BBQ sauce is a wonderful thing to have in the fridge as a condiment. If you’re planning to use it that way, I’d suggest simmering the sauce for about 30 minutes longer than recommended here, so it thickens some more.



Whole30 Meat Loaf with BBQ Sauce
 
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • ½ cup water
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3-5 pitted medjool dates, chopped roughly
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
Meat Loaf
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 carrots, chopped fine
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or presseed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ¾ cup almond flour
Instructions
BBQ Sauce
  1. Bring the broth and water to a simmer and add the garlic.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until very fragrant.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the lemon juice, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  5. Use an immersion blender or high-speed blender to blend the sauce until smooth.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and cook for an additional minute or two, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Meat Loaf
  1. Preheat an oven to 350.
  2. Grease a large casserole dish lightly with coconut oil.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Sauté the onions and carrots together until soft and starting to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together the herbs and spices in a small bowl and whisk the eggs.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, the whisked eggs and the almond flour.
  7. Once the onions and carrots are done, add the garlic, herbs and spices to the pan and stir to combine well. Cook for 1 minute longer, until very fragrant. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. Add the onions and carrots to the turkey and mix everything together until very well combined.
  9. Spread the mixture into the casserole dish, going right to the edges and using a spatula to make the top nice and even.
  10. Pour about half of the BBQ sauce on top of the turkey mixture and spread it in an even layer. Reserve the rest to serve on the side with the meat loaf or for another use.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.
  12. Let the meat loaf rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting it into squares and serving.
Notes
To maximize your efficiency, start heating up the broth for the BBQ sauce before you start chopping the onions and carrots. That way, you can start simmering the garlic at the same time that you start sauteeing the onion and carrots for the meat loaf. You'll be able to blend the sauce and finish it off while the onion and carrots are cooling, and everything will be ready to go at the same time.

Looking to get some more veggies onto your plate? You can chop up 10 oz of baby spinach and add it to the carrots and onions before adding the herbs and spices. Cook it long enough for the spinach to wilt, then add the seasonings and garlic and continue with the recipe.