Italian Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf
Italian Meatloaf

After making many low-carb meatloaf recipes, I keep coming back to the recipe I’ve made for 40+ years.  It cooks up consistently and never fails to get compliments when served to guests. This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and if you omit the cheese, it would be suitable for Paleo-Primal followers as well.  This is the recipe I use when I want to make meatballs, forming the meat into 1½” meatballs.  I bake my meatballs for about 30 minutes and usually don’t bother turning them during cooking.  If you are avoiding flax, you could instead sub in 1 tsp. chia seeds soaked 15 minutes in 3 T. water OR you could increase to 2 eggs OR you could add 1 water-soaked and crumbled leftover low-carb slice of bread/biscuit.  You definitely want to do one of these things to avoid the meatloaf coming out hard and dense.

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1.5 lb. lean ground beef (or 1 lb. beef+½ lb. ground pork)

2 oz. chopped yellow onion (more if you can afford extra carbs)

2 oz. chopped green pepper  (more if you can afford extra carbs)

1 T. bacon grease

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 c. parsley, chopped fine

1 egg beaten (or 2, if you want to omit the flaxmeal below)

1 T. flax meal soaked in 3 T. water (or a crumbled low-carb biscuit/roll, or 1T. ground chia soaked 10 minutes in 3 T. water)

2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated (more if you like)

4 oz. can tomato sauce (no added sugar)

1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:  Soak flax meal or chia, if using, in water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally as it thickens up.  Place meat in large mixing bowl.  Chop onion and pepper and saute in bacon grease in an oven-proof skillet until very soft.  Add to the meat in the mixing bowl, grease and all.  Add oregano, parsley and Parmesan.  Add soaked flax meal, salt and pepper.  Add all remaining ingredients (except tomato sauce).  Using your hands or a fork, thoroughly mix all ingredients until well-blended.  Shape slightly and tip bowl to allow meat to fall onto baking pan (I use the same saute pan, actually).  Reshape as desired.  Place in 350º oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour tomato sauce evenly over the top of meatloaf and return to oven for 30 more minutes baking.    Best to check at 15 minutes here as every oven cooks differently.  I can usually tell if the center is done by pressing lightly with a knife center top.  If it feels firm the meatloaf is done.  If still soft, cook a little longer.


Makes 6 servings, each 4 oz. serving has:

349  calories

22.9 g  fat

4.27 g  carbs, 1.1 g  fiber, 3.17 g  NET CARBS

30.2 g  protein

588 mg. sodium



13 thoughts on “Italian Meatloaf

  1. anne

    Can you tell me about your roaster oven? I have one that a turkey will fit into, but I don’t think it will roast as slow as 150 degrees…I am in humid FL and the summer is not pleasant for oven cooking.

    1. I have a Rival 20 qt. roaster oven. It’s a pretty old one. It goes down to 150º. Some brands will only go to 200º. I use mine a lot in the summertime. I’m in Texas and it’s too hot to bake indoors pretty much from May to October. I house it on a small table on my patio. I covered the little table with two ceramic floor tiles (to heat proof it). I’d be lost without one. They’re real nice for cooking huge batches of pinto beans or chick peas to put in your freezer. I cook those and most large pieces of meat, ribs, briskets and turkeys directly in the liner. I tend to use regular baking pans or pyrex glass pans for smaller things however. 🙂

      1. Anne Marsaw

        Thank you…i have one but never thought to use smaller pans of foods in it, just turkey and big batches of chili.

    1. Ii choose this for the extra flavor it brings to the meatloaf. You can use any oil you like, but be aware the bacon grease adds much flavor other oils will not.

  2. Tina

    You mention substitutions “if you are avoiding flax” and I’m curious why someone would avoid it. Do some people have allergies to it, like a peanut allergy? Or some other reason?

    1. Both. Some have allergies; some feel it has health risks. I don’t eat enough of flax to worry about it. But frankly, there isn’t very much out there in the food arena that someone can’t find fault with or that DOESN’T have some health risk if you study hard and long enough. I just try to decide how serious the risks are and do I consume enough to care. Google and you can find lots of articles on side effects of too much flax seed. Here’s but one reasoned (in my opinion) article on the topic:

  3. Annetta Jayne

    Can this (or do you have another recipe) work in a crock pot/slow cooker? It’s way to hot here in Texas for me to turn my stove on 🙂 I do a lot of outdoor grilling and crock pot meals in the summer. Thanks!

    1. I’m in Texas, too, and understand. But I don’t own or know how to use a crock pot. But I would think you could do this in one, cooking it basically like your instructions say to cook a pot roast. To avoid heating up my kitchen, I use a roaster oven (they’re real cheap at the holidays, like around $29). I keep it plugged in year-round on a table/counter on my patio for this purpose. That way I can slow cook as low as 150º, but I can also bake bread in it outside.

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