HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Best low carb meatloaf recipes?

fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 03:58 PM

It must be the onset of fall but I have a serious craving for meatloaf but keep a pretty low carb diet. I don't think I've had a comfort food style meatloaf in years and so only am familiar with mother's recipe which includes a lot of carbs. Does anyone have any favorite recipes for a low carb version?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. pinehurst RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 07:13 PM


    you can use a fave recipe and sub out the breadcrumbs for a mix of good grated parmesan and crushed pork rinds, egg to bind as usual.

    1. biondanonima RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 07:27 PM

      Ditto what pinehurst said - crushed pork rinds are an excellent sub for bread crumbs. Finely shredded cabbage also helps add moisture and bulk with few carbs. A friend of mine who juices frequently says she uses the pulp leftover from juicing vegetables in meatloaf for the same effect.

      1. weezieduzzit RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 07:36 PM

        I use diced and sauteed mushrooms and/or finely grated zucchini. I skip the bread substitutions all together. I serve it with a cream sauce.

        3 Replies
        1. re: weezieduzzit
          fldhkybnva RE: weezieduzzit Aug 22, 2013 11:17 AM

          Do you have a recipe for your sauteed mushroom loaf?

          1. re: fldhkybnva
            weezieduzzit RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 01:08 PM

            I don't have recipes for anything. :) I'm a little-of-this,little-of-that kinda cook 99% of the time.

            If I had to guess, I'd add 8 oz (precooked weight,) of diced sauteed mushrooms to a pound of ground meat but I really do just go by look and feel. Not having a bread binder does make the loaf a little more delicate so you don't want to add too many mushrooms if you're concerned about how it will slice and don't want them to be too wet when you add them. Letting the meatloaf rest after taking it out of the oven helps it set up, too. I'm more worried about taste than I am perfect slices, though. You can always make a mushroom gravy to serve with it if you want to further bump up the mushroom taste (I know you're a mushroom lover, too.)

            1. re: weezieduzzit
              fldhkybnva RE: weezieduzzit Aug 22, 2013 03:05 PM

              Great, I'm not really a recipe follower either but some estimates are often helpful. Thanks, I love mushrooms and the loaf doesn't have to be pretty :)

        2. Atomic76 RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 08:24 PM

          I would probably just bulk up on some very finely chopped carrots, celery and onion. Maybe try wrapping it in bacon?

          You could probably make some mashed "potatoes" to go along with it by swapping out the potatoes for cauliflower.

          I thought pork rinds were made from flour or rice or something like that. The ones I usually see are just crispy rice chips with pork flavoring on them.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Atomic76
            janetms383 RE: Atomic76 Aug 22, 2013 01:26 PM

            Pork rinds are fried pig skin.

          2. Will Owen RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 08:51 PM

            I think I'd work out a way to use the bread we get from Trader Joe's, their Flourless Sprouted Wheat. As the name implies it's almost all complex carbs except for the sugars in the honey and the date puree that holds it together. I think I'd try first just drying several slices on the warming tray or in the oven, reducing them to crumbs, and then proceeding, although I might use tomato sauce rather than ketchup because the bread is rather sweet. My meatloaf is equal parts ground beef and ground pork (usually a bit over a pound of each), about a cup and a half of crumbs, one finely-chopped onion, some chopped celery, salt and pepper, whatever dried herbs I'm in the mood for, then two eggs and not a lot of ketchup. If I'm emulating my mom I'll use a mixture of ketchup, prepared horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. What we're going for is a moist loaf but not a sloppy one; it should hold its shape. Mom always hand-kneaded it from the start, but I prefer to get it stirred up with a cooking fork to get an idea of how stiff or loose it's going to be, then go in with my hands to finish the job. Of course the last thing before putting it in the pan is to fry a blob and taste it for seasoning.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen
              Sharuf RE: Will Owen Aug 22, 2013 01:42 PM

              Will --

              1. Do you pre-cook the onion and celery?

              2. Do you bake it as a mound or in a loaf pan?

              Note: Campbell's golden mushroom soup makes a good basis for meatloaf gravy.

            2. The Professor RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 09:23 PM

              Use oatmeal. Sure, it's still a carb, but it's a _very_ beneficial one. And really makes for a wonderful meatloaf.

              I hope that you're getting some carbohydrates from other sources (ie., non grain)...our bodies need some carbs to be healthy.

              8 Replies
              1. re: The Professor
                greygarious RE: The Professor Aug 22, 2013 04:05 PM

                Another good filler/binder option in the good carbs column is mashed cooked beans. But I don't worry about putting 2 slices of whole grain bread into a meatloaf that will yield 8 or more servings. I put a lot of vegetables into my meat loaf, and beef up the flavor with a little dried onion soup mix and/or Kitchen Bouquet (or Gravy Master).

                1. re: greygarious
                  mcf RE: greygarious Sep 30, 2013 04:51 PM

                  The bread, vegetables and dried onion soup all all carby... it adds up.

                2. re: The Professor
                  hotoynoodle RE: The Professor Oct 1, 2013 11:23 AM

                  "our bodies need some carbs to be healthy."

                  erm.... no.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    mcf RE: hotoynoodle Oct 1, 2013 11:24 AM

                    Zero carb even long term has proven to be healthy and beneficial.

                    1. re: mcf
                      hotoynoodle RE: mcf Oct 1, 2013 11:40 AM


                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        The Professor RE: hotoynoodle Oct 1, 2013 03:32 PM

                        We can agree to disagree.
                        And FWIW, oatmeal is definitely a healthy carbohydrate to enjoy and use.

                        At the very least, the carbs from vegetables (other than root vegetables) need not be avoided...nor should they be. THAT's what I meant in terms of your body needing some carbohydrate...and vegetables are the best place to get them. I'd love to see any citation that refutes _that_.

                        Starchy carbs and root veggies/tubers...yes, totally avoid if you're hyperinsulemic, but if you're not, then enjoying some in moderation occasionally is perfectly fine.
                        It really all depends on your individual body and how it handles such things.

                        1. re: The Professor
                          mcf RE: The Professor Oct 1, 2013 06:27 PM

                          there is no disagreement that no lower level minimum requirement for dietary carbs has ever been discovered, but without fat and protein, you die. That's fact. see the Arctic explorers experiment of one whole year on only meat after living with the Inuit, and how their health improved, and also Eric Westman on the absence of any lower limit for carb consumption ever established.

                          Your body manufactures the glucose you need, and the heart and brain run more efficiently on fat and ketones.

                          So we don't need any carbs to be very healthy, we just include the non starchy ones for variety and enjoyment and because we can. There's a difference between "need" which we have none of, and inclusion which we all do.

                          We sure don't need advice to add starches to low carb meatloaf! :-)

                          1. re: The Professor
                            hotoynoodle RE: The Professor Oct 1, 2013 09:38 PM

                            what's so healthy about oatmeal? seriously? other than a big blast of fiber?

                            as a low-carb eater i eat more vegetables than i did as a vegetarian and have never been healthier since eliminating grains from my diet.

                            i don't why foods like oatmeal and lentils get trotted out when people ask for low-carb recipes.

                  2. ipsedixit RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 11:07 PM

                    Sea Cucumbers

                    1. r
                      rjbh20 RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 04:11 PM

                      Considering the portion size, is the amount of carbs in a meatloaf (presumably breadcrumbs or the like) really material? Last time i made one, i figure I used about a half-cup of breadcrumbs for about 3 lbs of meat. Probably wouldn't notice they were omitted entirely.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rjbh20
                        weezieduzzit RE: rjbh20 Aug 22, 2013 04:18 PM

                        I checked a few different recipes since the amount of bread crumbs seems to vary so much but the range seems to be 7 to 15 grams of carbs per medium slice. I don't know if that includes tomato/ ketchup toppings, which are super carby.

                        That's substantial when you're only eating 20-30 g of carbs a day like many of us that eat low carb. You can eat a whole lotta non-starchy veggies for 15g of carbs!

                        I didn't see any that call for 3 lb of meat or only 1/2 c bread crumbs so it sounds like your recipe is very different. You'd have to either do the math or use a recipe calculator for an accurate number. 1 cup of bread crumbs is (on average,) 78g of carbs.

                        1. re: weezieduzzit
                          fldhkybnva RE: weezieduzzit Aug 22, 2013 04:53 PM

                          Also our meals are primarily meat and vegs with not much else so we eat more than 1 slice a person so the carbs add up.

                      2. f
                        foxspirit RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 05:07 PM

                        I sub juicer pulp and cooked lentils into my meatloaf. It works well and tastes great. Lentils have some carbs but not much. I think they're generally fiber and protein?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: foxspirit
                          weezieduzzit RE: foxspirit Aug 22, 2013 05:14 PM

                          Lentils have 36g of carbs per cup

                          1. re: weezieduzzit
                            foxspirit RE: weezieduzzit Aug 22, 2013 05:20 PM

                            Doesn't the amount of fiber it had count against that so it has a low net carb number? I just remember it as being on the list of acceptable low carb foods from my south beach diet days but maybe its too high if you consider a more atkins like diet.

                            1. re: foxspirit
                              weezieduzzit RE: foxspirit Aug 22, 2013 05:39 PM

                              It looks like 14g of fiber per cup. Some people do net carbs, some people do total carbs.

                              1. re: foxspirit
                                mcf RE: foxspirit Sep 30, 2013 04:49 PM

                                About half of the fiber is also digested eventually, a bit under half for both soluble and insoluble. I count all carbs, because my glucose meter does, apparently.

                          2. r
                            Redstickchef RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 05:42 PM

                            Google Jamie Eason's turkey meatloaf muffins. They are delish and low carb. Sometimes I use more mustard and some parsley in addition to her other ingredients but I don't think it is going to affect the macros that significantly.

                            1. foodieX2 RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 05:55 PM


                              You have gotten some great ideas already!

                              If you are really looking for low carb vs no carb you could use oatmeal, eggs and any shredded cheese you like for a binder. For two pounds of beef I use about a 1/2-3/4 cups of processed oatmeal (I run it through the FP so it ends up looking like breadcrumbs) which is a very small ratio when you look at serving size. My low carb friends adore my meatloaf.

                              My husband's fave is my Italian meatloaf which is a combo of beef, pork and veal, 2-3 eggs, 1/2 -3/4 cups oatmeal, dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes to taste, S&P to taste, 1-2 minced onions, 2-3 garlic cloves and then enough shredded parm and mozzarella to get the right texture for forming a loaf.

                              My son's fave is my mexican one which is made with beef and has "taco seasoning" and shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese.

                              1. tim irvine RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 08:11 PM

                                Why does a meat loaf need any carb boost? I don't see what would be so bad about good ground meat, mirepoix, some dried mushrooms reconstituted in Sherry, some diced sun dried tomatoes, and some herbs? I'd eat it. I'd eat the Cheez-its separately.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: tim irvine
                                  mcf RE: tim irvine Sep 30, 2013 04:48 PM

                                  I just don't get why, when someone asks for a low carb recipe, people post those with starches and say they're good for you.

                                  NO, they're not, and someone asking low carb has already figured that out for him/herself.

                                  Maybe they're okay for you, and low carb isn't your sort of thread.

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    fldhkybnva RE: mcf Sep 30, 2013 05:09 PM

                                    Yea, while I appreciate the tips, many suggestions here haven't been really in the ballpark.

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                      mcf RE: fldhkybnva Sep 30, 2013 05:55 PM

                                      I was looking for a new meatloaf recipe and came upon it.... I have the Mom's basic meatloaf in Fran McCullough's low carb cookbook in the oven right now, cauli in the microwave for fauxtatoes, and some mixed vegetables.

                                      DH is Irish, gotta make it look like mashed spuds and all. :-)

                                      I used bran in my meatloaf, I'm not a pork rind lover. Often, I'll use Wasa as the recipe calls for, only two of them for the whole large loaf, crumbed.

                                2. shanagain RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 09:56 PM

                                  Not to brag or anything, but take the BEST meatloaf in the world (Paul Prudhomme's Cajun Meatloaf) and make it low carb with pork rinds, and you get this: http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/... (with nutrition info in the "review").

                                  1. zuklaak RE: fldhkybnva Sep 30, 2013 07:34 PM

                                    I use TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein and sautéed onions.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: zuklaak
                                      mcf RE: zuklaak Sep 30, 2013 08:12 PM

                                      why? plenty of protein in meat.

                                    2. m
                                      magiesmom RE: fldhkybnva Oct 1, 2013 09:34 AM

                                      For two pounds of meat I grate one raw potato. This makes eight servings with about three carbs a piece and is delicious.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: magiesmom
                                        mcf RE: magiesmom Oct 1, 2013 10:10 AM

                                        No low carber is going to add white potato to a tiny meatloaf and have card deck sized servings and call it low carb.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          hotoynoodle RE: mcf Oct 1, 2013 11:19 AM

                                          magiesmom, by your math, 2 pounds raw divided by 8 equals 4 oz. per serving. cooked down that is barely 2 oz. i'd be ravenous if that was my protein for dinner.

                                          most often i just use eggs as a binder for meatloaf or meatballs, but sometimes add grated cheese depending on the menu. everything holds together just fine.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            mcf RE: hotoynoodle Oct 1, 2013 11:25 AM

                                            DH likes it bready, so I just use something very high fiber, or I'd do the same.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              hotoynoodle RE: mcf Oct 1, 2013 11:42 AM

                                              for whatever reason, neither of us are big on meatloaf, but balls always work, lol.

                                              just made excellent pork meatballs the other night with local pastured pork, cilantro, a scotch bonnet, ginger, fish sauce, and an egg. delicate texture and delicious.

                                      2. fldhkybnva RE: fldhkybnva Oct 1, 2013 02:23 PM

                                        Does almond flour work? Just a thought.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                          mcf RE: fldhkybnva Oct 1, 2013 02:25 PM

                                          I thought about it, but it tends to be crumbly, good breading, but not the best binder, Flax meal works, but I don't like the soapy mouth feel of it.

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva
                                            biondanonima RE: fldhkybnva Oct 1, 2013 02:41 PM

                                            Coconut flour might work - it absorbs moisture AMAZINGLY well, and is a bit less crumbly than almond flour. However, it tastes like coconut, which might not be a flavor you'd want in your meatloaf. It would work in an Asian-inspired meatloaf, though, maybe.

                                          2. l
                                            Lynnleslie7 RE: fldhkybnva Nov 30, 2013 12:49 PM

                                            In a food processor, blend 1 Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Pita, found in the deli section. 4 gr. When crumbed, add 1 slice deli cheddar, 1/4 onion, chopped and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Process again. Put into large bowl. Pour in 2 - 3 T whole milk and 2 T strong beef broth. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Beat in 1 egg, salt and pepper, oregano, thyme and paprika, to taste, 1/4 t soy and Worcestershire sauce, 1 t Dijon mustard. Add 3/4 - 1 lb meatloaf mix or ground beef. (I use 3/4 lb). Mix well with hands. Place onto a sheet or low casserole oiled with garlic flavored oil. Shape into a nice, compact loaf. Lightly spread with a little garlic oil. I use my hands. I use glass and cook 50 minutes at 325 degrees, turning half way thru. Take out of oven and place meatloaf on paper towels. Rest 15 minutes. Serve with room temp low carb catsup. Leftover sandwich: Cut a Joseph's pita in half. Lightly butter inside. Microwave a thick slice of meatloaf a few seconds, to bring to room temp, or leave cold, place into pita with catsup and, if desired, lettuce and tomato. PS. Use whatever cheese or spices you like. No recipe is cut in stone.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Lynnleslie7
                                              Lynnleslie7 RE: Lynnleslie7 Nov 30, 2013 07:07 PM

                                              I always forget something. I also add 1 T instant potato flakes.

                                            Show Hidden Posts