I was inspired to make this bacon-topped, veggie-laden meatloaf after watching this video on Chow.com. I wasn’t brought up on bad meatloaf as a child, so I don’t have an aversion to it like some folks. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a college student, I used to routinely hit up all the local diners to seek out the best meatloaf sandwiches.
I’ll be the first to admit that not all of my kitchen experiments turn out tasty, but tonight’s pork-y loaf was definitely a winner. Don’t believe me? My six-year old declared that he was rating it “FIVE stars!” AND he polished off his plate. (This doesn’t always happen; often, he butters me up with a compliment but then doesn’t eat the meal at all. It’s sweet, yet infuriating.)
The original recipe looks delicious, but I decided to veer away from it — not only to make it Paleo-friendly, but also to simplify the steps. In place of the milk and fresh breadcrumbs, I threw in coconut cream, coconut flour, and minced mushrooms. And since I’m too lazy to steam, drain, and chop fresh spinach, I replaced the fresh spinach with chopped frozen spinach. Also, after the recommended baking time, the bacon on top was still kind of limp, so I briefly stuck the meatloaf under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. Who wants soggy bacon? Not this gal!
Here’s what I gathered to feed 4-6 hungry adults:
- 1 pound frozen chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
- 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
- 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from about 2 medium stalks)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 pound ground pork (the original recipe calls for 1 ¼ pounds of pork, veal, or beef but I only had 1 pound of ground pork defrosted)
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3-5 bacon slices
- Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)
Here’s how I made it:
I preheated the oven to 350 F with the rack placed in the middle. I dumped a packet of frozen spinach into a Corningware container…
…covered it with a lid and nuked it on high for ~4 minutes to defrost it. Then, I dumped the spinach in a colander and pressed out all the liquid.
I heated the butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and tossed in the chopped onions and mushrooms along with some salt and pepper to taste.
I sautéed them until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.
Next, I blended the coconut cream, parsley, and celery until a puree was formed.
In this case, the $29 immersion blender trumped the expensive Vitamix; the small volume didn’t blend properly in my fancy blender.
I placed the pork in a large bowl, followed by the chopped spinach, coconut flour, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg.
Then, I added the coconut cream puree, beaten eggs, onions, and ‘shrooms.
I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients.
I tested if the seasoning was right by frying up a tiny meatloaf patty.
Then, I transferred the mixture to an ungreased 9 x 5 loaf pan…
…and layered the bacon on top.
(You can store the uncooked loaf in the fridge for up to a day and then bake it at your convenience).
My loaf pan is kind of leaky, so I put it on a lined baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. I baked the meatloaf for 70 minutes, rotating it at the halfway point. Then, I broiled it for 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon.
There’s quite a bit of grease that pools in the pan so I poured it off and I let the loaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing into it.
I served the meatloaf slices with a generous ladle of Rao’s marinara sauce, but they also taste great without it.
Man, this meatloaf was super-moist, delicious, and chock-full of veggies! Coconut haters: Don’t worry - you can’t taste any coconut at all.
I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!