I’m not a huge fan of meatloaf, but I actually like this version. Well, my version, adapted from this recipe. I adapted the recipe because, well, it’s what I do. But also a friend of mine made it and said it was “a little bland.” When someone else says something’s bland, I’m sure not to like it. I’m not a food snob or anything, but I’m one of those annoying people who eats for pleasure. And I firmly believe even healthy food should taste good. Is this the best thing I’ve ever made? Probably not. I’d far prefer my Mexican Hamburger with Kale, Spinach and Tomatoes over this. But for meatloaf, it’s good. In fact, many say the “bland” meatloaf in the original recipe is “fantastic.” And I think this is an improvement on that. Not just because I made it non-paleo with dairy (those two things could easily be left out). But because of the increased seasonings. Plus, I’ve eaten it for lunch for three straight days, and don’t hate it. Anyway, my point is, this is a fantastic starting point. Feel free to adjust to your taste buds.
The mashed cauliflower, however, I believe is gold. I love the stuff. Maybe more than mashed potatoes. No, seriously. I mix mine with a hand mixer, and it generally comes out somewhere between mashed potatoes and rice, which I love. I don’t do cheesy rice, but this stuff is rich enough it feels like a treat. So, if you want a meatloaf recipe, this one’s respectable and better ingredients than dumping ketchup on top (which grosses me out). But if you have your own meatloaf recipe, and are looking for a good side, try the cauliflower. So. Good!
2 pounds ground beef
1 carrot, shredded or chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 roma tomatoes, diced (seeds and center discarded)
1 small sweet potato (cooked, skin removed, mashed with butter)
1 Tbs butter
¼ c almond powder/flour (you could use traditional flour – I’m trying to stay away from gluten)
½ c shredded cheese
½ c sour cream
1 Tbs sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small can tomato sauce
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs mustard (I used whole grain Dijon, but you can use spicy)
1 tsp Sriracha
Salt, to taste
Put the first six ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Mash the sweet potato with the 1 Tbs of butter listed. Add and mix very well. Add the eggs and slightly mix then add the almond powder and mix well. Add seasonings, cheese and sour cream for the final mix.
Spray two muffin pans, and separate out equally among all 24 tins.
Mix together all of the sauce ingredients and taste. It will be slightly sweet with a little kick. Adjust flavor until it’s acceptable. Spread sauce over meat in tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (test with meat thermometer).
When you remove, you’ll notice grease at the bottom of the tins. If you’ve used grass-fed beef, many people cherish this grease. If you’ve used conventional beef, it’s probably best to discard the grease. If you choose to keep it. You can pull the muffins out and drizzle the grease slowly over the muffins. Otherwise, simply discard as you pull out the muffins for storage.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
5-7 cloves of roasted garlic (how to roast garlic described below)
2-3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs cream cheese
Milk (enough to get to desired consistency)
Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and Sriracha (if you like)
Here’s a detailed description of how to roast garlic. Simply cut the tops off the garlic, and put in a pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover the pan with foil and cook at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Mine cooked for 25 minutes. You know it’s done when you stick a fork in a clove and it’s soft.
For the purpose of this dish, I scooped five cloves of garlic out of the roasted head and mixed it with softened butter and cream cheese. I only did this to ensure the garlic was distributed evenly among the garlic. The cloves of garlic will spread easily, almost like butter. So the mixing part is very easy. And may not even be necessary.
To cook the cauliflower: I chopped my cauliflower up into medium-sized to smallish pieces and put in boiling water. I boiled it until it was soft when I put a fork in it (similar to the softness of potatoes when you boil them for mashed potatoes). Then you drain the water off the cauliflower and make an effort to dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible.
Add the garlic back to the pan. Add the garlic/butter/cream cheese and start to mix with a hand mixer, adding milk as you mix. I probably added about 1-2 Tbs of whole milk. This is where I add a small amount of Sriracha.
Mix to the consistency you like. I like mine a little lumpy, almost like rice. But you can mix until really creamy. Or even more lumpy than that.
Once you get the desired consistency, season with salt and black pepper. I also added a little smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
My pictures for this meal aren’t stellar. I apologize for that. But this gives you an idea of the center of the meatloaf. I think the veggies make it, honestly. I intended to add spinach, but forgot. And while one tiny sweet potato for 24 meatloaf muffins seems small, if I made these again, I’d be sure to add the sweet potato.