Who doesn’t love a good meatloaf? There are probably as many variations as there are cooks in the kitchen. We like to think of it as an American invention. Yet it is likely, not the case. Whenever we see a television chef present their version it seems to be labeled “comfort food.” That label certainly fits; it is a main meal, can be served hot or cold, with toppings or without, and even stuffed and rolled with delicious and varied ingredients. Meatloaf pairs well with gravies, sauces, and the American classic mashed potatoes (Joanie has a delicious cauliflower mash recipe.
It is hard to find anyone who has not grown up with some variation of meatloaf as a staple of their diet and it is one dish where the memories will surely linger.
Meatloaf is actually a traditional German, Scandinavian and Belgian dish. Our German followers likely refer to it as “Hackbraten” or “Faschierter Braten” and may stuff it with hard boiled eggs. Cubans also stuff their “pulpeta” with eggs, but mix beef and ham into the loaf and cook it on the stovetop, rather than baking. In Mexico it is known as “albondigon” and it is generally smaller than we find in the United States. The French call it “pain de viande.” We could go on and on; you could write a book on the history of the meatloaf.
For the most part, there are some elements that generally appear in any recipe – ground beef and pork cut with a filler of breadcrumbs, oatmeal, crackers, panko crumbs, rice or minced vegetables are found. The binder is usually eggs and often a dairy product. You can raid the pantry for toppings and sauces; anything seems to work with meatloaf.
Our version for this post has our usual requirements – it must be tasty and low in carbohydrates! We started with a delectable low-carb “tomato basil marinara” sauce that we incorporated in the mix and as a topping, as well. We covered the loaf after an hour of baking with grated mozzarella and garnished with chopped Roma tomatoes and julienned Basil to keep with the theme. It is visually appealing, tasty as can be, and unique – as are most meatloaf recipes.
Low Carb Tricks
To stay low carb, for our binder, we use “chicharrone crumbs.” The amount needed will vary; use as much as you need to firm up your loaf. Some cooks actually form the mix into a loaf and bake it directly on a sheet pan, but you would probably run the risk of your meatloaf falling or lacking the traditional loaf shape. We recommend using a two-piece non-stick aerated meatloaf pan.
This will drain the grease perfectly. They are not expensive and are well worth buying for your pantry. There are many to choose from at your kitchenware store or through Amazon. We also put a little water in the bottom of the meatloaf pan to produce a steam for a loaf. It will then be more moist than cooking on a normal flat baking pan. The meatloaf bakes covered with foil for the first hour so it will steam, capturing all of the juices in the meat.
Uncover to add the tomato basil marinara and the mozzarella cheese topping and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden and melted. We do advise an internal temperature of 160 degrees and that you let the meatloaf sit for a few minutes before cutting, so the juices will re-distribute. The garnish of chopped Roma tomatoes and basil finishes the tastiness and presentation. The cook time allows you to prepare delicious sides and the size of the loaf will mean Tasty Low Carb leftovers. The dish is delicious whether hot straight from the oven or cold the next day.
We enjoyed this for our evening meal and for lunch today Joanie had her sisters over for Cheesy Tomato Basil Meatloaf. Combined with cauliflower mashed potatoes (no potato) and a side salad made for a tasty meal. Try it tonight and let us know how you like it!
Cheesy Tomato Basil Meatloaf
- 20 ounces Ground beef 80% lean
- 6 ounces Ground pork
- 1 Egg beaten
- 4 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup Onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup Tomato basil marinara
- 1/2 cup Chicharrone crumbs
- 6 leaves Basil chopped fine
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese grated
- 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 4 leaves Basil julienned
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the ground beef, ground pork, egg, garlic, onion, Worcestershire, half of the basil marinara, 6 chopped basil leaves together. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Test the loaf by forming and add 1/2 cup chicharrone crumbs to firm up, as needed.
Place into a loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Uncover, top with remaining tomato basil marinara and mozzarella cheese and cook for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
Top with chopped Roma tomatoes and strips of basil.
After letting the loaf set for a few minutes, cut and serve with a side of the tomato basil marinara.
Our tomato basil marinara recipe adds the flavor this "Italian meatloaf" calls for - definitely Tasty Low Carb.