So how do you make your mama’s meatloaf gluten free and better for you? You make it a glazed BBQ meatloaf without bread crumbs. Yep, this gluten free meatloaf recipe can be made with ground chicken, turkey, or lean beef! It’s lighter than the original comfort food dish, it’s easy to make and/or freeze for meal prep, and just plain delicious! You’ll find out my trick to make this flavorful without bread below. Paleo Option.
5 years ago I made my first ever gluten free meatloaf recipe. And 5 years later I still cringe at the word. Ugh, that word. Meatloaf. Why oh why do did we think it was okay to put those two words together. It’s like the British recipe spotted dick, I just can’t grasp my brain around that. Anyway, moving on despite the blasphemy of a word. Haha!
You see, today we are celebrating NEW and IMPROVED comfort food recipes. Not mention a more appetizing recipe title. Well, I’ll let you be the judge.
This is Not Your Grandma’s Sunday Meatloaf, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s better for you and gluten free! Perfect for that someone who’s trying to swap out those not so healthy comfort food dishes for healthier and gluten free versions.
I think I shall call this…
BETTER (HEALTHIER)-FOR-YOU BBQ GLUTEN FREE MEATLOAF! It’s lighter, more flavorful, and perfectly acceptable to serve all year round. Heck, make it a potluck dish with a “bucket-o-beans” (yes, that’s actually a plastic tub of beans below) and you’ve got yourself a Texas BBQ.
Noted: Lovely BBQ Beans hand model curtsey of my cute niece. She was serving us.
Okay I digress. Yet again.
Where was I? Hmmmm. BBQ gluten free meatloaf HEALTHIFIED and manly men approved!
This Not YO mama’s meatloaf recipe first came about 5 years ago (as mentioned above). At that time, I was still trying to convince my three brothers and dad to try eating gluten free and healthier in general. It’s like I had to trick them into thinking my food was not gluten free and unhealthy for them to try it. Hey, whatever works, right? Yep, I was feeding some manly Texas men. The kiwi (my husband) on the other hand loves pretty much all food. Thank God, literally!
So there I stood, pondering how to make a meaty “healthier” dinner that could serve us all. Suddenly my grandma’s meatloaf popped in my head. You know, the meatloaf recipes with lots of salt, meat, and barely any sauce. Haha, Sorry grandma, but your meatloaf looked liked roadkill, although tasted like good ole’ home cookin!
Anyways, I figured I could easily adapt this recipe and it my own! A little mix wholesome gluten free ingredients such as ground lean meat or poultry, eggs, fresh herbs and spices, and ground gluten free crackers in place of traditional bread crumbs. In fact, the batter looked quite similar to our favorite meatballs recipe!
We also mixed together a gluten free honey barbecue sauce and balsamic glaze to go on top.
Drum roll please….
The end result was this better for you gluten free meatloaf, with a little BBQ love! And one of the best dishes we’ve had in a long time. Craving satisfied!
It’s a “better for you” swap that’s delicious and nutritious. Plus that tangy BBQ sauce on top is just perfect as we transition into BBQ season. Am I right? Just ask my youngest niece to serve the beans and your set. Kidding. Kinda.
Alright let’s get cookin good lookin!
Gluten Free BBQ meatloaf made without bread crumbs. This glazed gluten free meat loaf recipe can be made with ground chicken, turkey, or lean beef! It’s lighter than the original comfort food dish, it’s easy to make, and just plain delicious. Paleo option
- Olive oil spray or coconut oil for pan
- 1/2 cup ground flavored gluten free crackers (herbed, sea salt, seedy, cheddar, smokey flavor, etc.) We’ve made this with paleo herbed crackers.
- 1 1/4 pound organic ground chicken, lean turkey, or 95% lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup diced white or red onion
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp BBQ seasoning or an everything seasoning of choice – Make sure it’s gluten free and not too high in salt.
- 2/3 cup Naturally Sweetened BBQ sauce or a favorite Honey BBQ sauce (gluten free)
- Balsamic glaze to top (optional). Smoked salt flakes or kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400F. Oil an 8×11 bread pan and set aside.
- Place your gluten free crackers in a food processor to to ground into a panko like texture. You can also finely Crush in a ziplock bag, just be sure it’s enough to thicken the meat/egg batter. Set aside. (see notes)
- In a small bowl or stand mixer, place your ground meat, onion, and egg. Add in your ground crackers and seasonings and mix again until meatloaf batter is evenly combined. If you are using beef, you might need an extra 1-2 tbsp of ground crackers due to fat content of beef.
- Press batter into pan and bake, cover with 1/2 to 2/3 sweet bbq sauce. Save extra sauce to brush on before serving.
- Place meatloaf pan in oven at 400F for about 35 minutes. Check around 35 minutes to see how it’s baking. If edges are browning but inside is not done, then cover and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes. IF the outside is not browning around 35 minutes, continue baking uncovered for 10 more minutes. The beef version might take closer to 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Warm 1/4 cup of the leftover BBQ sauce in sauce pan or microwave for 30 seconds. Brush on top, if desired, before serving.
- Drizzle with optional balsamic glaze and pinch of kosher salt or flakes for extra “tanginess”
- If you are using beef that’s higher fat, you might need an extra 1-2 tbsp of ground crackers due to fat content of beef. It also will take longer to cook.
- For Paleo option, use Simple Mills crackers.
Nutrition shown is amount per serving with ground chicken and naturally sweetened BBQ sauce
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 185
- Sugar: 7g
- Sodium: 495.3mg
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 2.2g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 0.7g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 98,4mg
Keywords: barbecue, meatloaf, gluten free meatloaf, meatloaf without breadcrumbs, paleo
Okay friend, before we end. I’ll leave you with some of my tips, tricks, and heartfelt thoughts.
FROM FREEZER TO TABLE MEAL PREP TIP –> I know this is meatloaf is far from the spring dishes I have been posting lately, but it is lighter than most meatloaf recipes and actually a great dish for meal prep! Make it, wrap in foil (or freezer friendly container) freeze it, bust it out to reheat for an easy week night dinner. Serve with some BBQ rutabaga chips and asparagus.
BETTER FOR YOU TIP-–> I used ground lean chicken instead meat in the meatloaf above. It was very flavorful and not and greasy. Feel free to use lean ground turkey, bison, or beef, just adjust the cooking times with higher fat ratio. Also, look for a BBQ sauce that’s naturally sweetened and lower in sugar. Heck, you can even make your own, like the one I used in the BBQ salmon bowls.
FEEL GOOD HEARTFELT THOUGHTS –> I’m sharing this comfort food family recipe today because I do miss my family and husband, greatly! I can’t wait to see my husband next week and celebrate his 36th birthday. He deserves the best! We are praying he finds a job he loves soon and we can continue the celebration. I remain hopeful and positive. Will you join me in the Sunday feel good vibes?
Favorite comfort food meal you made healthy? Do share!