These meatloaf sandwiches were our next favorite meal that we’ve had this year, after the Salmon Tacos described in the previous post. My inspiration in making these came from working at Oddfellas Cantina in Floyd, Virginia. They serve their homemade local beef meatloaf on homemade grilled bread with sauteed mushrooms and melted cheese. I copied the idea, and added caramelized onions, which are essentially, food crack.
I had actually never had, and certainly never made, meatloaf until several years ago when I had bought a share of grass-fed beef. Buying a share of a beef is a cost-effective way to purchase local grass-fed beef. The butcher will often give you much of the portion as ground beef, and so I was looking for ways to use it. I was making many of recipes from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon at the time, and so I learned to make meatloaf from her recipe. Meatloaf is one of those foods that is really more of a technique, and you can use whatever you have on hand. Here is what I usually do:
1 pound of ground meat (I usually use grass-fed beef, but have used lamb and bison)1 cup or so (I confess that I seldom measure) cooked brown rice, sprouted bread crumbs (Ezekiel Food for Life when I am not eating gluten-free), or kasha (toasted buckwheat – recipe to follow)
1/2 onion diced
2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed (I peel, but perhaps scrubbing is better), chopped somewhat fine
2 stalks of celery, chopped somewhat fine
a pinch or two of thyme- dried or fresh. You could also add rosemary, red pepper flakes
sea salt (pink or gray)
2 cloves of garlic
Organic ketchup, or something else creative to glaze the loaf. One year I canned plum butter, which was great for glazing meatloaf.
Preheat the oven to 350.
I saute the carrots, onion, and celery, and add dried thyme, crumbling it in my fingers as I put it in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then I put the raw ground beef in a bowl, with the cup of brown rice, add a good sprinkling of salt and fresh ground black pepper, minced raw garlic, and sauteed veggies and mix to combine. (Note to recovering vegetarians: You will be forming an intimate relationship with raw meat at this point.) Have your rectangular glass baking dish ready, and form the meatloaf into a log shape in the dish. If you want to make sandwiches, picture cutting slices of the meatloaf and shape your log according to the shape of your bread. Glaze the meatloaf with ketchup, spreading it with a knife. Add 1/2-1 inch of water to the pan to keep the meatloaf from drying out. Bake until browned on the outside and no longer raw on the inside. (Not that the rawness would hurt you, it would actually be good for you, providing enzymes, just not so appetizing).
Caramelize onions while meatloaf is baking.
Thinly slice 2 red or white onions. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon high quality extra virgin olive oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes for 20-30 minutes, then turn the heat a little lower and cook for 15 more minutes or until sufficiently soft and brown. It takes a lot of time to caramelize onions, and you have to watch them because they can burn easily, especially after they start to caramelize. For more info. see
Serve meatloaf for dinner with pureed parsnips (peel, cube and boil until tender, then mash with butter and salt) and steamed beets (peel, cube and place in steamer basket over a pot with a lid and a few inches of water, steam until tender. Salt to taste).
Recipe: Meatloaf Sandwiches with sauteed Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Raw Cheddar on Naturally Leavened Whole Grain Bread
Here in Floyd, I am lucky enough to buy locally-made naturally leavened whole grain organic bread. I confess that I have gotten addicted to Sweet Water Bakery’s products since moving here. Their products are prepared with respect to the principles for preparing grains as outlined in Nourishing Traditions. I am making a committed effort to going back to a gluten-free diet, however, as the gluten (even when fermented) wreaks havoc on my digestive system and causes fatigue. Some people are able to tolerate gluten however. If you are interested in seeing if gluten causes a problem for you, look for information on my spring cleanse elimination diet teleclass in the coming months.
Cut meatloaf slices to desired thickness. Lightly salt and pepper if needed. Preheat oven to 350. Cut slices of bread and spread with organic unsalted butter (Don’t skip buttering the bread!!!) Lightly salt. Toast lightly in oven. Place slices of meatloaf atop non-toasted side. Top with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and raw cheddar cheese. Put in oven until meatloaf is hot and cheese is melted. See if it is not one of the best sandwiches you have ever eaten.
Serve with leftover beets, Sauteed collard greens, organic raw sauerkraut or kimchee.