Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recipe for Grain-Free Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed (Phase One, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb)

This Grain-Free Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed is low-carb, gluten-free, and South Beach Phase One.  And it's delicious!

Recipe for Grain-Free Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed found on

(For today's post for A Month of Daily Phase One Recipes, I've updated the photos for this Grain-Free Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed from 2007; this meatloaf has lean ground beef, turkey Italian sausage, roasted tomatoes or drained canned tomatoes, and flax seed meal instead of bread crumbs to bind the meatloaf together.  This recipe makes two meatloaves, but it freezes well, and this delicious meatloaf will probably get gobbled up pretty quickly.)

I'm  fan of meatloaf, so when I set out to make a Phase One meatloaf recipe, I came up with the idea of using flaxseed meal instead of bread crumbs so the meatloaf would be grain free. Flax seeds are very rich in nutrients, and the oil is popular as a nutritional supplement. But flax seeds are more nutritious than merely the oil because besides omega-3 fatty acids, the seeds are rich in both kinds of fiber and they also contain a phytoestrogen called lignans. Of interest to South Beach Dieters, flax seed meal has equal amounts of carbohydrates and fiber, which means no net carbs. The amount of flax seed meal I used in this recipe seemed perfect to bind the meatloaf together, but you could certainly use more.

I used all dry seasonings so they could help hold the meatloaf together.  In a bowl, combine dried onion, garlic powder, dried basil, dried parsley, Vege-Sal (or salt), ground fennel, and flax seed meal.

Those wonderfully flavorful slow roasted tomatoes that I make and freeze every summer add a lot of flavor to this, but you could use well-drained roasted canned tomatoes or even sun-dried tomatoes.  Chop the tomatoes very finely.

Add the lean ground beef, turkey Italian sausage, chopped tomatoes, and egg to the bowl and use your hands to combine the mixture.  (Don't overmix.)

I have a couple of mini roasting trays from the thrift store that I love to use for meatloaf because any fat from the meat drips down.  (Be sure to spray with non-stick spray!)

Jake did a nice job forming two good looking loaves.

We cooked this for about 1 hour 30 minutes to get the internal temperature to 165F, which is the safe temperature for mixed meat.  This was in my giant Thermador oven, and when I originally used a toaster oven on the convection setting, it took less time.  If you don't have an Instant Read Meat Thermometer, you can cut one open to see if it's done.

And just for laughs, here's the original photo from back in 2007, not too bad for those days!

Recipe for Grain-Free Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed found on
Meatloaf with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Flax Seed Meal (Grain-Free, Phase One, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb)
(Makes two meat loaves, about 8-10 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 lbs. lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) hot turkey Italian Sausage
2 T dried chopped onion
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried basil
1 T dried parsley
1/2 cup flax seed meal (I used Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal)
1 tsp. Vege-Sal (or 1/2 tsp. salt)
1 T ground fennel (I used Penzeys)
1 cup finely chopped slow roasted tomatoes
(or use well-drained roasted canned tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes (rinse with hot water if oil packed)
2 eggs slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray roasting racks or loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Remove ground beef and turkey sausage links from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. In bowl, combine dried onion, garlic powder, dried basil, dried parsley, flax seed meal, Vege-sal or salt, and ground fennel. (I purposely used dried herbs since I wasn't adding much binder to the meatloaf and I didn't want added moisture.)

Squeeze turkey sausage out of casings in small pieces into the mixing bowl. Break ground beef into pieces and place in same bowl. Add tomatoes, and eggs to meat mixture and use your hands to combine well. Try to mix the meat enough to get spices and eggs evenly distributed without over-mixing.

Shape meat into two loaves. I prefer to bake meatloaf on a roasting rack as shown, so the fat can drip out. This meatloaf doesn't have a lot of fat, but using a rack also browns the meatloaf well on three sides.

Bake until the meatloaf is well done, 165F on the meat thermometer.  When I originally baked this in my toaster/convection, it was done in 1 hour 15 minutes.  This time it took about 1 hour 30 minutes in my large oven.  Cutting one meat loaf open is the still a good way to see if the inside is done to your liking! (Remember this contains turkey and needs to be fairly well done.)

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South Beach Suggestions:
This meatloaf with no breadcrumbs or oatmeal would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  Be sure to use lean ground beef and low-fat turkey Italian sausage.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Ground Beef Ideas for Phase One: 
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  1. Your meatloaf looks wonderful. What a unique idea to add the flax. Hope you like your new oven as much as I like mine (which is exactly like yours). Have had it a couple of months & it is great.

  2. How positively timely you are Kalyn! I was planning meat loaf for tonight! I can't really follow your recipe as I was not forward enough thinking to put up those lovely tomatoes of yours but I'm certainly going to encorporate more flaxseed than I usually do. I love meatloaf now also.
    Nice new oven!!

  3. I made meatloaf last night, too. My version, which my husband loves. I'd love to make it with flaxseed but I have a feeeling he would not eat it. ("Just try it, dear.")

    Yes, I like that oven, tto.

    And I'm delighted to see you made the short list, Kalyn!

  4. I'd love some of those tomatoes do those look good

  5. Fran, so far I love the new oven. I roasted a chicken in it which turned out great, and the meat loaf was fabulous. And since my regular oven is a bit temperamental, it's a lifewaver.

    Tanna, this is my first time with flaxseed, but I'll be using it a lot more.

    Mimi, I seriously doubt if your husband could taste the flaxseed at all. At least I couldn't. And Thanks for the congratulations.

    Bill, the roasted tomatoes are beyond delicious. You must make some next summer!

  6. So do you like the new oven? It looks nice!

  7. Kalyn, this looks lovely. I tried out yout Greek Frittata this morning for breakfast. Absolutely yummy! A recipe keeper indeed.

  8. Flax is a GREAT idea...can't wait to give this a try! Thanks so much!!

  9. Maria, LOVE the oven.

    White_Poplar, glad you liked it.

    Naudee, the flax was so great in this. I can tell I'll be making meatballs with flax seed meal sometime soon.

  10. All I can say is YUM! I love meat loaf and what a clever way to boost fiber and all those good omega-3s by using flax seed meal. I use mine in my low carb smoothies and never thought of putting it in meat loaf. I do now though! :)

    Going to vote for my fave SB blogger now...

  11. What a wonderful way to use flax seed. The whole recipe sounds great. More meat loaf sandwhiches, yum!

  12. Kalyn just wanted to let ya know I tried it and LOVED it. The entire family enjoyed it...even the picky teenager!!! :D
    I agree that the flax seed meal is great with this and that meatballs with it is an excellent idea!

  13. Christine, thanks for voting for me!

    Katie, flax seed meal was perfect for this.

    Naudee, you are so sweet to give me this feedback. I appreciate it so much.

  14. Kalyn, I love your meatlof recipe and am about to make it? Did I miss something? I don't see adding the tomtoes in the recipe. Doesn't look like they are on top, so will just go ahead and mix in with the meat! Love you site!

  15. Anne, good catch, and yes, you chop the tomatoes finely and then mix with the meat and spices. Thanks! (I hate it when I do things like this!)

    The worst is that blogger is acting up right now so I don't know if I can even fix it until later. I'll keep your comment in my e-mail folder so I don't forget.

  16. Anne, it's the next morning now and Blogger seems to have healed itself so I edited the recipe. Thanks again!

  17. I made this tonight and it was great. I've just barely started cooking with flax seed meal, so it was fun to learn a new way to use it. Thanks!

  18. I'm a new reader to your blog, and I have to say this recipe looks awesome! I've just recommitted myself to the SBD, and needed some other recipes to make for my family. Even my husband and daughter who don't need to watch their weight will appreciate this!

  19. Your meat loaf looks wonderful! I use oatmeal in my meat loaf, but yours sounds so healthy I may have to try it.Have a great year and thanks for all the recipes!

  20. Ooh, I'm looking forward to reading your blog and getting recipe ideas. Thanks!

  21. Meatloaf is one of my all time favorites. I've been curious about uses for flaxseed, so I'd really like to give this a try.

  22. I originally ran across your site when I was playing around on the computer one day with my little girl who is also named Kalyn.

    And I am so glad I found it. I'm currently reading The South Beach Diet book and am planning to start next week. I can imagine I will be camping out here trying to get some ideas, especially for the phase one portion. I hope you don't mind.

    Also, I love the oven and those tomatoes do look good!

  23. I hope this isn't a sillhy question but I'm getting to order flax seed from your recommended source. Question - did you use the "regular" (darker)meal or the most expensive, but supposedly better tasting "golden" flaxseed?

    Can't wait to try this and can't wait to have a glass of iced tea on your new porch this summer.

  24. I'm happy that people are liking the looks of this! Anyone who tries it, don't skimp on the fennel!

    Thinking Pricess, fun hearing you have a little girl named Kalyn!

    I just got my bottle of flaxseed meal out of the freezer to check and it. I cut the label off the bag and tape it on a bottle and it just says "Organic Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal." From the color I'd say it's the darker type, but I'm not completely sure.

  25. I made the meatloaf. It was very good. Used the Red Mill regular ground flaxseed and dried sun dried tomatoes. Also couldn't find hot ground turkey sausage so used regular turkey sausage and threw in a tablespoon of paprika. My husband loved it. Cooked it for an hour at 375 in a regular oven, I think 50 min would have been enough. This is a great site and I've recommended it to my friends.

  26. Anonymous, thanks for letting me know you liked it and for the nice comment about the blog.

  27. Although from different places, but this perception is consistent, which is relatively rare point!

  28. OMG! This was so awesome!

    I have tried meatloaf with pork rines and hated it. I have tried soy and was sorely disapointed. I've tried omitting a binding ingredient all together and ended up with a mess. I just knew that there had to be something else I could use.

    Today when I was at the store I spotted flax meal and thought to myself, "surely, someone has come up with a meatloaf recipe that uses flax". One simple Google search later and here you are. :-)

    Unfortunately, I wasn't willing to go back to the store for some of the ingredients so I had to make a few modifications, but it still turned out delicious and moist and everything meatloaf should be. I can't wait to try this recipe with all the proper ingredients!

    This site is a gold find and as a long term south beach dieter you can bet I will be back for more! Thanks again! You rock my socks!

  29. Marcie, thanks! (And I don't think I've ever heard 'you rock my socks' before, love it!)

  30. Hi Kalyn,
    Last week I was looking for ideas for a low-carb meatloaf. Years ago I made one, and without breadcrumbs, it was just too meaty; the texture was not right at all.

    I saw your recipe had flax seed meal in it and decided to add that to mine. I also grated 1 small zucchini to include for moisture. The meat was ground turkey, 93% lean, which can be a bit dry. I'd never used flax seed meal in meatloaf before and was hoping it would yield a nice meatloaf.

    It was outstanding! I don't know if it was the flax seed meal that added moisture, or the zucchini (maybe both?)but it was the most moist and flavorful meatloaf not only that I've made, but had. No one would ever know about the flax seed, that's for sure and it did result in a meatloaf identical to one made with breadcrumbs and/or oatmeal.

    Thanks so much for this idea! I was surprised that I did not see it on more low-carb sites. Flax seed meal in meatloaf is a keeper for me.

    Best regards,

  31. Luana, that sounds great! So glad it worked out well for you.

  32. I made it tonight and it turned horrible! My whole family were very disappointed. It looked good but it didn't turn out as the picture shown. Flax seed meal isn't highly recommended. There were a lot of slimmy juicy like the okra in there and the meat didn't mended together well. It was one of the worst dinner!


  33. Sorry it did not turn out for you. There is no way for me to know why that happened, because the photo is the way mind looked when I made it following this recipe, and you can see in the comments that there were others who liked it.

  34. Made this tonight, and we loved it. I'm hoping that I didn't misinterpret - it's 4-5 servings per loaf, 8-10 servings in all? In any event, it was delish, and we're not really "meatloaf people" per se. Thank you!

  35. Nikki, so glad you liked it. Yes, two pounds of ground beef would be about 8-10 total servings.

  36. Made this the other night, with some pureed cauliflower and some steamed broccoli. I swear I was eating a full-blown, high-carb, fatty meal. And I wasn't!!! It was incredibly filling, though...which I guess is a good thing, since I had no desire for dessert afterward :)

    I used a little extra flax (about 1.5 times the recipe amount) and it came out kind of dry. Flavor was still excellent, so I think next time I'll add some extra veggies for moistness.

  37. Marie so glad you enjoyed it. I agree that more vegetables would be good if you added extra flax seed.

  38. Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

  39. Great recipe...can I use Glen Muir Fire roasted tomatoes? I can't wait to try this...I love your Greek Meatballs.

  40. Yes I think the Muir Glen roasted tomatoes would work for this, but I'd drain them well before adding to the meatloaf.

  41. I cooked this last night for me and my boyfriend. We decided to go back to Phase 1 for a little as a post-holiday "detox." WELL I never thought that I'd be able to have a delicious & juicy meatloaf without a breadcrumb binder! I've never had flaxseed meal before and I was worried my boyfriend would know something strange and foreign was added. Boy was I wrong! He said this was one of the best things he's ever eaten! Thanks so much for helping us enjoy SBD and not feel deprived!

  42. So glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  43. I am so glad I found your site and absolutely love this meatloaf! I was worried about using the flax seed and thought I would make a trial run before feeding it to the family. No need for that because it's was a winner with everyone, even the picky teenager! I will be sure to cut up my sun dried tomatoes a little better next time, other than that it turned out perfectly. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Jake seems to be an expert meatloaf former -- those loaves are beautiful. I've never used flax seed in meatloaf, so I'm curious now and will give it a try.

  45. I haven't been able to find flax seed meal during my grocery store visits over the past couple weeks. Is it similar to milled flax seed?

  46. I'm afraid I don't know what milled flax seed is. Flax seed meal should be available in the nutrition section of every large store, or for sure you could get it in a store like Whole Foods or other health food store.

  47. Finally found the flax seed meal in store #4! Nothing at SuperWalmart, Neighborhood Market, or Reasors...but today I finally found it at SuperTarget! (Good thing since this meatloaf was on the menu for tonight!) I'm not telling anybody there was flax see meal in it, but you really couldn't taste it anyway. The kids enjoyed it, but my hubby & I enjoyed it even more! Hubby topped it with your tzatziki (because everything tastes good with tzatziki)and I topped it with a little dijon mustard. Mmmmm...another wonderful recipe from you!

  48. Glad you found it, and glad you enjoyed the meatloaf too!

  49. This was really great! I followed the recipe exactly and mine was ready in just under an hour.

  50. This looks delicious. Do you think ground turkey for the whole thing combined with the turkey sausage would be too dry?

  51. The ground beef I use is about as lean as ground turkey, so I don't think the dryness would be much of an issue. I can't say how the flavor will be without the beef because I've never made it that way.

  52. Have you ever tried grinding your own flaxseeds? I use a small coffee grinder to grind just the amount of flaxseed meal that I need. Once the flaxseeds are ground, they start to lose their nutrients so it's best to use it immediately.

  53. Bonnie, I haven't tried grinding my own, but I do keep my flax seed meal in the freezer. Hope that helps!


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