Low-carb meatloaf is meatloaf made with ingredients that have few, if any, carbohydrates. In typical meatloaf recipes, some type of starch is added to the meat for the purpose of holding the meatloaf together and absorbing excess grease. As starches typically are high in carbohydrates, a low-carb meatloaf recipe will make use of low-carbohydrate binders. In addition, a low-carb meatloaf should not include condiments, flavorings, or other ingredients that contain sugars and starches. Cooks should also be careful when preparing a sauce or gravy to top the meatloaf, because many thickeners contain starches.
Meatloaf is a traditional dish in the United States and consists of one or more types of seasoned ground meat baked in a loaf pan. Many people use beef as the only or primary meat in a meatloaf, although some will blend different types of meats or use ground turkey as a cheaper alternative. After cooking, the meatloaf is typically sliced and then eaten hot, and many cooks prepare a gravy or sauce to ladle over the hot dish. Meatloaf can also be allowed to cool and then sliced and served as a sandwich filling.
Many recipes for meatloaf specify the use of a starchy binder. For example, some recipes call for the use of breadcrumbs, while others specify rolled oats. For those who wish to make a low-carb meatloaf, finding a binder that is low in carbohydrates is important. Some alternatives for making low-carb meatloaf include coconut flour, which is made from the ground meat of coconut and is both high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, as well as breadcrumbs made from specially developed low-carb breads and crackers. Some companies also sell low-carb mashed potato substitutes, which could also be used as a binder for low-carb meatloaf.
When making a low-carb meatloaf, it is important to not focus entirely on the starchy binder when converting a recipe to make it suitable for a diet that is low in carbohydrate. Many commercial condiments and seasonings may have hidden sugars and other carbohydrates. For example, commercially prepared ketchup and tomato sauces often contain added sugar. The use of commercial gravy and soup mixes may also add to a meatloaf's carb count. Careful cooks may wish to either use condiments that are formulated to be sugar-free or add fresh or dried herbs and various low-carb vegetables to a meatloaf to enhance its flavor and texture without contributing extra carbs.