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Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

January 15, 2016

Cool weather comfort food at it’s finest, packed with nutrient dense grassfed beef & liver and the most amazing flavor!

Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

Out of every meal that comes out of my kitchen, this is the most popular.



It never fails about an hour into that meatloaf into the oven and I’ve got a hungry pack of drooling kids surrounding my kitchen!

I’ll cut to the chase to my meatloaf secrets. Give it amazing flavor with herbs and lots of yummy garlic, and make sure it doesn’t dry out. The secret to the flavor is all in that veggie and herb sauté. And since grassfed beef is on the leaner side, it is important to use a little extra friendly fat to keep it from drying out, and nothing makes a meatloaf more delicious than a little scoop of sour cream.

Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

One of my other secrets to this kid friendly meatloaf is the ketchup I use for the top. I know that ketchup is a staple for meatloaf, but I use a nice thick layer of this simple and quick homemade ketchup that just puts it over the top. Bonus! It is naturally sweetened! Any ketchup in your fridge will do, but I trust me – you want to take the extra few minutes to stir up this homemade one to “frost” your meatloaf.

Meatloaf makes a great, easy to chew toddler dinner, and when you add the grassfed beef liver in addition to the beef, it really packs a nutrient dense punch for those growing kiddos. Use a side of mashed potatoes and easy to manage pan cooked veggies with lots of butter and even the little ones can sit right at the table with the rest of the family and eat the same dinner!

Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

I’m going to warn you though….the leftovers will be a hot commodity!

My kids usually ask for them for breakfast the next morning, and they make a great breakfast…unless my husband has gotten to them first to take along to work 😉

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

Cool weather comfort food at it’s finest, packed with nutrient dense grassfed beef & liver and the most amazing flavor!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy meatloaf, healthy meatloaf recipe, vegetable filled meatloaf
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com


  • 2 TB butter or other friendly fat to cook in
  • 1/2 onion finely diced (I like to pulse the onion, carrot, and celery in the food processor - fast!)
  • 1 medium carrot finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery finely diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes this leaves the heat very mild for kids - if you like a lot of heat double!
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • About 1/8 - 1/4 lb grassfed beef liver ground (optional)
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1/2 cup whole sour cream
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • Optional ketchup for the top and/or for dipping
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Melt the friendly fat in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, carrot, and celery with the salt, pepper, thyme, red pepper flakes, and garlic until the veggies are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl put the ground beef, liver (if using it), egg, sour cream, white rice flour, and the cooked/seasoned veggies and mix well.
  • Put the meat mixture into a small loaf pan, spread the ketchup on top if using it, and then add the water to the top. Don't leave this out - I know it seems odd but it really makes it so it doesn't dry out! I promise it won't be watery!
  • Bake the meat loaf uncovered for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

For more nourishing ideas from my home, you can follow my Nourishing Staples board on Pintrest!

More real food ideas you might like:
Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken

Nourishing Beef & Kale Soup

Beef & Kale Soup
How To Slow Cook A Beef Roast

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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  • Reply Jessica January 15, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Yum!! We love meatloaf!

  • Reply Mary January 17, 2016 at 9:58 am

    We love meatloaf! Though I rarely make it these days since there is no way to add anything the whole family can have 🙁 So if I make meatloaf it is basically just a hunk of beef 😛 No eggs, no ketchup, no veggies, nothing. Not very exciting. Your recipe looks delicious!

  • Reply Karen Patten January 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    This looks great! I assume you’ve made it both ways? Can you taste the liver? I know how good it is for me…I’m just not there yet!

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 17, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Karen! Yes I have made it both ways and nope you can’t taste the liver! You can start out with half the amount if you want to start 😉

  • Reply Megan Stevens January 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Renee, this looks great! I love the liver and that you’ve figured out for us how much to add!

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    […] go with a classic liver and onions recipe or you can be a little sneaky and hide in meatloaf like this recipe […]

  • Reply linda spiker January 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

    5 stars
    My husband loves meatloaf. I wonder if he would notice if I sneaked the liver in!

  • Reply The Food Hunter January 19, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I am making this recipe this week…it sounds amazing.

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish January 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

    This sounds delicious! My husband loves meatloaf. I love that you can pack so much goodness in it. Love that you use liver.

  • Reply Elaina Newton January 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve seen you share this recipe several times on social media and it always looks so good! I will have to add it to my meal plan (that one that loosely exists in my head, haha) for the next few weeks. I’m excited to try it!

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Bwaha sounds like my “meal planning” 😀 I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply Marjorie January 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I love, love, love that you hide liver in here. I hide liver in meatballs all the time! It’s the only way I can eat it!!

  • Reply Shawn January 19, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    What can I substitute for the rice flour? All the substitute sites recommend cake/pastry flour, but they are assuming it is a cake/cookie. Not sure what the equivalent for this recipe would be… thanks.

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Shawn! A lot of people use bread crumbs for meatloaf – if you double the amount you can use that – I just never have bread crumbs around the house. You could use a sprouted Einkorn flour or sprouted brown rice flour as well. Does that help?

  • Reply anna@greentalk January 19, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I adore meatloaf. I usually use almonds to bind the meatloaf together. Your recipe looks delicious. I would just need to do a workaround for the sour cream. Dairy issues here.

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 20, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Anna! Coconut milk or coconut milk yogurt should work fine!

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  • Reply Fabienne April 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I’m making this tomorrow and literally can’t wait but my sister wants to make it and is paleo and is struggling for a replacement for the rice flour, do you have any suggestions? Could she just leave it out? She doesnt eat sourdough either so breadcrumbs aren’t an option. Thank you! X

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Fabienne! You do need something to soak up the moisture or it will all fall apart. You could use tapioca or cassava flour for a grain free option. You may also mention that many paleo followers do include white rice in their diet so this might still work for her 🙂

  • Reply K D April 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

    I want to make this tomorrow. Should I cook the liver first, then grind? I bought some packaged liver at the store (all they sell, no fresh. Have to visit a real butcher next time), and when I thawed it it was the consistency of jelly. There’s no way this will grind like meat

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 29, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Hi KD! I grate the frozen liver and just mix it in with the ground beef. I fyou already have it thawed, that will be harder – I’m not sure that I would cook it before mixing it in. Maybe you can pop it back into the freezer overnight until you are ready to use it tomorrow? It grates really easy when frozen!

      • Reply K D May 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        Thanks so much, I’ll definitely grate it next time 🙂 I ended up leaving it out cause my boyfriend was fussing about eating liver. You’d never know he grew up on a farm 😛

        • Reply K D May 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

          5 stars
          Seriously amazing meatloaf, btw. I doubt I will ever use another recipe other than this one now that I’ve had it

        • Reply Renee Kohley May 3, 2016 at 8:01 pm

          Ha! You’re welcome!

  • Reply Amanda Huish September 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Renee, I made this tonight. It’s delicious! But also.. I just want to cry! I struggle to get my toddler to eat meat (texture thing) and also veggies. He’s taking forkful after forkful of this meatloaf! I paired it with parsnip mashed potatoes and this makes the best meal he’s had in awhile! Thank you!!!!

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Amanda! Oh gosh do I know that feeling! Toddlers are so tricky sometimes! Meatloaf was always a winner with my toddlers too – I’m so glad it worked out for him!

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  • Reply Natalie April 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

    5 stars
    I love this meatloaf- extra veggies for the win!! I made a double batch last night and am wondering if I can freeze the second loaf for later?

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 10, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Natalie! Yes! I have done this before!

  • Reply Kayla September 15, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Do you cook it before freezing or no? How do you reheat? Trying to get a last few meals prepped before baby #2 arrives and we LOVE this meatloaf recipe!

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Great Kayla! Congratulations! I think I would freeze slices of it. So cook it off, cool it and slice. Then freeze the slices. You can thaw it out in the oven for dinner on a sheet tray 🙂

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  • Reply joanna n. October 10, 2017 at 1:32 am

    i love trying to hide liver in meatloaf, too, however, i haven’t been able to do it successfully yet. i think i try to add too much, so i’m anxious to try your recipe. also, how do you grind your liver? that’s been a problem for me in the past. =(

  • Reply Debra Wood October 10, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    This looks tasty! I am always looking for ways to incorporate the wonderful broth I make in to recipes. Do you think substituting broth for the water would be over kill? Or should I stick with water?

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  • Reply Jessica Waite September 27, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Made this last night… Hello to our new favorite meatloaf!! This was amazing. My 2 and 4 yr Olds are not normally meatloaf fans, but they gobbled this up! Thanks Renee. 🙂

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 29, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      Ah that makes my day Jessica! Awesome!

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  • Reply Kate January 28, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    hi! i think i’m missing something (sleep deprivation from two kids who don’t sleep…you know what it’s like), but what is the ‘then add the water to the top’ step in the instructions? how much water? do i just pour it over the meatloaf? thanks in advance!

    • Reply Renee Kohley February 1, 2019 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Kate! The last ingredient on the recipe card is 1/2 cup of water – you just pour it right over the top 🙂

  • Reply Danielle September 17, 2019 at 11:59 am

    I made this last night and it was the best meatloaf I’ve ever had! I used sheep’s yogurt and cassava flour as substitutes. I recommend increasing the amount of flour to about half a cup if you try cassava! Definitely will be adding this to my weekly rotation! Thank you!

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 22, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Hi Danielle! Thank you for the cool swaps for dairy/grain free friends! I appreciate it! So glad it turned out!

  • Reply Health Benefits of Vitamin A | Sassy Holistics November 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm

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  • Reply Allie January 10, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Hi! We are egg free… could we use flax or chia? Thanks!!

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Hi Allie! Yes I have heard that either of those works!

  • Reply Jericca February 4, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    I have a double batch of this in the oven right now. My husband and two year old love this meatloaf! Although we haven’t been able to try it with liver yet. I don’t have rice flour on hand so I’d normally use potato starch but this time I’m trying coarsely ground oats. We’ve done mustard mayo on top but it really doesn’t need anything! Thanks Renee!

    • Reply Renee Kohley February 6, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Hi Jericca! So glad your family enjoys it!

  • Reply R. Price August 23, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    What substitute do you recommend for the sour cream to make the recipe dairy free? Would cashew or oat milk yogurt work?

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 2, 2020 at 11:45 am

      Yes a dairy free yogurt works great – I have done that often!

  • Reply Natalie October 21, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Hi! I made this and am wondering if I can tweak some things to improve my outcome. Not sure I did it all right. The liver— I defrosted first and then “grated” by blending in the food processor. Is this bad? The flavor is tasty but the texture is a little mushy… kind of like it has pockets of mush. Versus typical meatloaf that is closer to a hamburger in texture. Is it the way I did the liver? Or perhaps the rice flour gathered in pockets?

    • Reply Renee Kohley October 24, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Natalie! I grate the liver while it’s frozen using a really fine grater so it blends in really easily and you don’t notice it at all!

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