Thursday, January 2, 2014

Allergy-Free Meatloaf Ingredient Ideas

For New Year's Day, I wanted to serve meat loaf along with the traditional collard greens and black-eyed peas.  Food allergies are definitely changing this meal for me.  I'm not eating black-eyed peas, but I made them anyway.  I cooked sweet potatoes so I'd have an extra side dish.  My previous meat loaf recipe included eggs, which I'm still avoiding.  And tomatoes, which I've been avoiding.  I felt fine omitting the eggs, but the tomatoes were another thing altogether.  Meat loaf is just sad without a bit of sauce on top.  I've never been one to overdo the sauce.  I hate the thick tomato-y globs that many people love.  On the other hand, naked meatballs are just sad.
I went browsing on Google and Pinterest for ideas.  I found a ton of possibilities.  Instead of copying any one recipe, I gathered the ingredient possibilities that would work for me.  I plan to experiment with different combinations in the future to see which ones we like and which ones we don't.  I know others have food intolerance issues as well, so maybe this post will prove helpful for someone else.

Experimenting with these combinations requires a little past experience with making meatloaf.  When you just start throwing a bunch of things together, you sort of need to know how thick it should be - not too dry, not too wet.

Without further ado, here are the ingredients I plan to try out over time -

  • 2 lb. ground beef, ground turkey, or ground bison

Traditional recipes usually include eggs and/or milk.  The eggs act as sort of a binding, but many bloggers said they had fine results with no eggs or egg substitutes.  
  • 1 tbsp. potato flour (or almond flour) with 2 tbsp. water = egg!
  • increase the amount of sauce - this helps bind it all together without eggs
  • broth (chicken, beef would be best, and veggie ok)
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  •  unsweetened applesauce
  • Maybe?  Ketchup, mustard  I need to face facts.  I can't use these.
  • Almond milk
  • water

Veggies are easy to hide in meatloaf as long as you grate or chop them well.  They add extra moisture and flavor without overpowering the meat.    I can't eat onions or garlic, but if you can, they sure are good in meatloaf!  Note: since chopped veggies also add moisture, you need to factor them in when working with the consistency.
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • Grated carrots
  • ½ cup peeled & grated sweet potato
  • ½ cup zucchini
  • finely chopped kale, spinach or other leafy green

To tell the truth, I don't feel that good about using any of these, except maybe the flaxseed, which I may try out soon.  I'm avoiding most grains, not just gluten.  
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Gluten free oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup Minute Instant Brown Rice
  • Gillian’s bread crumbs
  • Gluten free oats
  • quinoa

I saw lots more but didn't write them all down.  I'm not ready to start experimenting with herbs yet. For now, salt and pepper are about it. :-(  
  • Celtic SEA Salt - we no longer used regular salt.
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley

I couldn't find many alternatives for this.  Still looking.   This was the riskiest part of the recipe for me.  And no surprise, I reacted to it.  I spent the afternoon sitting still and sipping Reeds Ginger Ale (the real stuff).
  • This stuff is fantastic for times when I have had a food reaction!
    At my grocery store, it's in the organic section.
I cannot use these -
  • ⅓ cup ketchup, mustard, and the optional Sriacha and palm sugar if using
  • Ketchup, mustard and brown sugar
Better Options -

After today's meal, my genius husband had an idea for the glaze. He suggested pineapple with a tiny bit of maple syrup.  That's something that always pairs well with pork or even chicken.  I hadn't thought about it with meatloaf.   But I plan to try it.  

In fact, maybe a fruit glazing of some sort is my answer.  If I can't eat tomatoes, I might be able to find a fruit that compliments beef and see what I can do with it.  The maple syrup may not even be necessary.  The longer I go without sugar, the sweeter natural foods are tasting.   It might be interesting to blend the fruit really well when making the glaze (as opposed to chunks of fruit.  
  • pineapple and maple syrup
  • a glaze made with some other fruit???  If the fruit is tart, I could try blending with dates for added sweetness.

Slow cooker  - just make a mound at the bottom of the slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4.   Putting it in the slow cooker helps the consistency of the meatloaf so much. It always comes out fantastic!

Meatloaf pan or for extra crispiness all around, a casserole dish or cookie sheet, form into a loaf. Bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and a half!

Little mini loaves as opposed to one giant loaf.  I prefer more crunchy edges and less cook time, but you could of course modify the cooking time for a large loaf (about 45-60 minutes)  Can also divide into muffin tins and cook for same amount of time.

I prefer to make meatballs (slightly larger than golf balls) and cook them in the slow cooker, usually on high for somewhere around 3 hours.  The time varies depending on which crock pot I use, how large the meatballs are, and how big a batch I make.

If you have any suggestions or tips, please leave a comment!!!

P.S. - I have posted way too much about food and recipes lately.  I guess that's because I am having to focus on that in order to figure out a new way to eat.  But this blog is NOT just about food.  I hope to get back to some other topics soon!  If the food posts are boring for you, don't give up on me!


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