Egg-Free, Tomato-Free (Hidden Liver) Paleo Meatloaf

April 13, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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Hidden Liver Meatloaf-034 copyI have grown very fond of grinding up liver in my Magic Bullet (you could also use a Food Processor or a Manual Meat Grinder) and mixing it with ground beef in any heavily seasoned recipe (try it with my paleo tacos).  I love that the liver is there (I usually use either a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of liver to ground beef), adding valuable nutrition to my meal, but my family loves the fact that they can’t taste the liver at all (this is especially true if you use a mild liver like lamb’s, calf’s, or chicken).  So of course, meatloaf seemed like a great opportunity to incorporate more liver into our meals.

People either love or hate meatloaf.  I think the dislike of meatloaf stems from traditional recipes so full of oats or bread crumbs or sugar that the flavor of the meat is completely lost.  Paleo meatloaf recipes tend to have little to no fillers, so the flavor and spices can really shine through.  This recipe is seasoned enough to mask the liver flavor but mild enough that you still get that delicious meaty taste.  I definitely recommend using fresh herbs here if you can.  I also measure my herbs after they are chopped.  I also recommend mixing the meat and spices ahead of time and letting them sit in your fridge for a few hours for the flavors to combine.  If you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step, but otherwise, it’s definitely worthwhile.

This recipe also happens to be egg-free because the binder isn’t really needed.  You may add egg if you like to get a bit denser meatloaf, but it isn’t necessary.   I also avoided the use of tomatoes because I don’t tolerate them well (and they really aren’t missed here at all).  If you like, you can serve this meatloaf with some organic, no sugar added ketchup on the side (I buy mine at Whole Foods but I also really like the recipe from Eat Like a Dinosaur).  You can also make this recipe autoimmune protocol-friendly by omitting the egg, the cayenne and paprika (which is how I normally make it).

Prep Time: 4-6 hrs

Cook Time: 1 hr 40 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Hidden Liver Meatloaf-028


1.    Chop onion, celery and carrot as finely as you have the patience for.  Heat tallow (or coconut oil) in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
2.    Finely chop parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, and chives.  Crush garlic.  Grind fennel seeds in an herb grinder, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle (I use my Magic Bullet).
3.    Grind liver in a Magic Bullet, Food Processor or Meat Grinder (you can also always ask your butcher to grind it or you can chop it into very small pieces manually).  Liver has alot of liquid in it, so don’t be surprised if you end up with something that is more like a puree than a grind.
4.    Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix together very thoroughly (I find it easiest to just get my hands in there).  Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours and up to overnight to let the flavors combine.
5.    Preheat oven to 350F.
6.    Press meat mixture into a large Loaf Pan.  If you’re worried about juices spilling over, place the loaf pan on a cookie sheet or in a larger baking pan before placing in the oven.
7.    Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160F.
8.    Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving (the juices are really yummy with some mashed cauliflower!).  Enjoy!


So I didn’t read the directions well enough, and I forgot to cook my carrots, celery and onion before mixing everything together… Is this going to ruin the flavor of the meatloaf?

Ok so I made this for dinner last night.. I didn’t have the ground lamb so I just used beef and liver.. Wow! It was great! The kids ate it up and didn’t seem to even know it had an “extra” ingrediant. Thanks!

This is actually one of the few recipes that I’ve developed that I make frequently (often we’re tired of something by the time I’ve perfected and posted the recipe). In fact, I have plans to make some this weekend after we’re done Thanksgiving dinner leftovers!

We just received our 1/4 share of a cow we purchased earlier this year. My husband asked what we’d be doing with the organs, as he knows me very well (eww). However, I do well if they’re masked as it’s not the thought, it’s the taste that gets me. I will definitely be making this soon, and it’s perfect as I am currently doing the Whole30 with nightshade/egg restriction.

Do you think it’d turn out to use 1lb ground pork sausage from US wellness meats instead of just plain pork or would that make it too greasy?

I don’t think it would be too greasy, but the spices would definitely be different. I spiced this recipe assuming plain ground pork and several of the seasonings are meant to replicate meatloaf made with sausage.

Would beef liver be too strong? What about heart?I have both in the freezer from a local farm but I’ve never tried them before and I’ll admit that I’m hesitant! I’d prefer not to taste them!!

Heart would be awesome. If you make it with beef liver, you might get a hint of the taste, but not too bad. I make it with beef liver often too. Pork liver is really strong though… Not my favorite.

When I learned how to feed my dog a raw diet, I learned heart is muscle, not organ. Is that true in human feeding as well?

Yes, I believe so. It’s still really important to eat, since it has a different amino acid makeup and lots of CoQ10, but it shouldn’t take the place of liver or kidneys.

I made this last night as a first attempt to include more organ meat in my diet and it was really delicious! I halved the recipe because I only cook for one person (yielding 4 servings). Mashed cauliflower was the perfect side dish.

I made this for my family and the kids asked me to make it every night. My pickiest eater ate it for breakfast the next morning. Hahahahahah! Thanks for giving me an opportunity to chuckle in private ever since….I need more laughs since pretty much all I hear is complaints from the kids since I put them on a healthy diet:)

I made this earlier this week, along with mashed cauliflower and green beans. My 5 year old and 3 year old ate it just fine for dinner, with no complaints. We got it out for leftovers for lunch today, and my 5 year old daughter (picky eater!!) just scarfed down 3 servings and declared it “Delicious! MMMmmm MMMMM” and it is now her favorite meat. Thank you so much for your wonderfully healthy recipes!

Would this work without the pork? Good quality pork is near impossible to come by in australia. Should I replace it with lamb (quality chicken and turkey are also scarce though not as much) or just make it 100% beef?

I’m too impatient! I’m just going out to get a kilogram of beef mince to make this with. I’m really excited. My boyfriend wants me to make your offal stew next but I’m kind of scared!!!

I’ll write back about how the meatloaf goes. I’m making them as “muffins” though because my boyfriend hates the appearance of meatloaf and wants something to grab-n-go with in the morning.

I made them with beef and used cumin instead of fennel seed (my boyfriend refuses to eat anything fennel related). Totally can’t taste the liver! Just tastes like normal meatloaf. Will be great with mashed cauliflower!

I am so happy I made this, I can already tell it’s going to be very regular. It went down perfectly for breakfast and my boyfriend LOVED it with eggs. The liver adds a delicious complexity to the flavor and it seems like a dish you’d eat somewhere and think oh my gosh, how could I ever replicate this at home? But I can make it at home! There’s already a second batch freezing in single serves for a breakfast go-to. It defrosts really well in the microwave for an immediate meal. I’m hoping that my 2-year old nephew might like it when he visits!

Maybe I didn’t mix the meats around enough (I did it with my hands,) but it smelled somewhat like liver pate and my 8 year thought it smelled “gross” and wouldn’t touch it. My husband said it was pretty good, but he thought it’d be better the next day. I should’ve put ketchup all over the top to make it more appetizing for my daughter who’s never had meatloaf before.

I didn’t yet have the coconut aminos, but did everything else according to recipe. I used chicken liver because it is generally so mild. I love liver, but I definitely would’ve suspected liver in the recipe. Sorry to be a buzz-kill.

I’d make this again, but use a milder organ meat (is there one?) and maybe less of it, and slather it with ketchup, since kids love ketchup.

I just made this last night with beef liver, ground beef and regular ground pork and my 2 year old loved it! My husband loved it as well. I added 4 eggs for a firmer loaf and poured the juices over riced cauliflower and brocooli.
This will be in my regular rotation, thanks Sarah!

On another note, I listen to the podcast every week on my morning commute and want to say how much I look forward to and enjoy it. I also pre-ordered your book to help my husband (psoriasis) and two sons (eczema and multiple allergies). Thank you for all you do!!


Made this today exactly according to recipe except used beef heart for the liver. Delicious!!! My husband and 2-yr old thought so, too. I served it with cubed roasted rutabaga, spaghetti squash and bok choy sauteed with garlic, ginger, coconut aminos and fish sauce.
I also have beef and chicken livers in the freezer so will try one of those next time! Thanks!!

Well, I am not a pork eater, so I replaced the pork with turkey, and the coconut aminos with une vinegar (ume? whatever, from the Japanese plum), and cooked it in the slow cooker. I used chicken liver and I have to say everyone thought it tasted weird. I didn’t tell my husband I was sneaking liver (he’d never trust me again) and thankfully since I think he’s never had liver before he didn’t know what it was to call it out.
But for sure everyone thought it tasted weird. 🙁
The thing that was odd was that it didn’t really seem flavorful at all, and I used fresh herbs and all the dried spices that were called for, and even let the meat mixture sit in the fridge overnight. I can’t imagine the slow cooker ruined the spices and herbs – usually taste does better in the slow cooker. Maybe the pork flavor is really what’s covering up the liver?
I’m disappointed this one didn’t work better for us.

I find that slow cookers suck the flavour out of anything you cook in them. I only use mine to make bone broth now… and for that it’s wonderful! Nothing else I tried was remotely appetizing. Stick with baking your meatloaf in the oven.


I made a version of this last night and it was sooooooooooooooo good! I was also inspired by some other recipes. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so mine went something like this:

◦1 pound US Wellness ground beef
◦1 tube liver sausage (it’s mostly liver)
◦1 medium carrot, a couple cauliflower ‘buds’, 1 organic apple
◦1/2 medium yellow onion
◦2-3 bacon fat
◦4 cloves garlic, crushed
◦2 fresh sage leaves
◦1/2 tsp salt
◦½ tsp Pepper
◦drizzle of Blackstrap Molasses
◦drizzle of fish sauce
◦drizzle of ACV

It was fairly fast to put together, as I buzzed up all the veggies and fruit in my Ninja. The liver really holds it together!

My husband balks at the mere mention of any organ meats, and he had no clue!

I fried them into patties and put the rest of the patties into the oven to bake. YUM YUM YUM!!! Great anytime of day!!!


I will admit that I was very skeptical of this recipe. Having never tried any organ meat before I knew I couldn’t say I didn’t like it, but it was the thought of it that grossed me out. You convinced me to try it after listening to so many of your podcasts. I thought I was going to hurl when I opened up the package from my farm and saw the liver! I put it in my food processor and just prayed I wasn’t about to waste 15-20 bucks on meat with this meal.

I fooled everyone!!! My husband and both my kids ate it. I made some paleo bread and toasted it and made a meat loaf sandwich for myself and if I didn’t know there was liver in it I wouldn’t have been able to taste it. It definitely tasted different, but I just said it was a new recipe….which it was.

I am shocked and so impressed that this recipe fooled my family. I sat back and just smiled as I watched them all not only eat it, but like it.

I made this once and my family loved it. Me too. Now that I’m following the AIP, I’ll leave out the flaxseed/egg and the nightshades. But don’t I also have to leave out the fennel and pepper? (omitting seed spices is the hardest) I’ll add more of the herbs. Any ideas to spice it up a bit?

I have to agree with FitMomPam. I was really scared to try this recipe. First time EVER having organ meat. It does taste different, but I think I can get used to it. LOL. Husband and son wouldn’t try it once they knew it contained liver (they watched me make it). I am also on AIP and will have to come up with some more spices to add to it. I’m thinking I might try making them in muffin tins next time to make it easier to freeze in individual portions. Thanks for the recipe!

First of all, I love this blog. I think it’s one of the best websites out there and maybe my favorite right along side as far as the quality of content and how clearly complex scientific concepts are elucidated by Sara. This is one of my go-to blogs for excellent information and I will be buying Sara’s book. I hate that my first comment will be a critical one but here goes…

First, I think the cooking time must be a typo. An hour and 40 minutes is WAY too long to cook this meatloaf. Mine was done in about 45 minutes at 350 using an excellent digital thermometer.

Second, the recipe needs salt. Maybe half a teaspoon or so? All those herbs, garlic, and flavors were muted at best.

Third, you can definitely taste the liver as well as detect that liver “texture”. I love liver, but my daughter and wife do not. They thought it tasted “weird”, the texture was a little strange, etc.

I did the version where you add the flax meal as a binder. Next time I think I’d add some salt, cut the liver in half, and add an egg to improve the texture.

What are a few of the mildest tasting organ meats in order of mildest to less mild? I haven’t had any organ meats since a bad experience as a kid, so I am TERRIFIED of adding them, but since I will be embarking on the AIP I really need to add them in as much as possible. This recipe gives me hope that I can hide them taste-wise from myself and my family. Honestly I’m not a big fan of meat in general. I typically have to grind up all my meats to actually eat them at all :/
Also, This is a separate question entirely, but are Stevia and flaxseeds ok when following AIP? I question the flaxseeds because seeds are mentioned, however those are not specifically mentioned so thought I would ask. Stevia has not been mentioned and since it’s an herb and not an actual sugar I wonder if it can be used during AIP. I have a huge sweet tooth when I place sugar on the no-no list (I think it’s mental!) So I’m trying to find a way to satisfy those potential sweet cravings without blowing my AIP, and also gives me a little breathing room so I can stick with this.
I imagine I will be on this AIP diet for a very long time. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos when I was in High school, 17 years ago. I am currently on a super high dose of synthroid and having many other issues all of a sudden as well like near dangerously low blood pressure and heart rate, and tests just came back that despite my high vegetable “healthy” diet I am very deficient in many nutrients oddly the nutrients that I’m low on are not the ones that vegans are thought to be low in. My b vitamins and iron were fine. This diet is needless to say a kind of last resort for me, and my best hope all at the same time, but only if I can stick with it. I spent the last few years doing the mostly raw vegan thing and this is what I have to show for it. However it was fairly easy to stick to a mostly raw vegan diet for me because I could have all the fruit I wanted even dates (yummy!), and I love veggies (including those dreaded nightshades that I ate a ton of!), green smoothies, and juices from my juicer. I am not a fan of meat unless it’s been ground up into something unrecognizable and with minimal meat texture, but I do like eggs (however those aren’t allowed which stinks).

The mildest organ meat is probably heart meat, which you can ground up and replace any ground meat in recipes. When it comes to liver, I think lamb liver and bison liver are the mildest, chicken liver is pretty good too. Aversions to meat can often be due to trouble digesting it, so I would recommend reading up about digestive support supplements and maybe trying out digestive enzymes.

Stevia and flaxseed are not included on the AIP (there’s is a post about stevia under teaser excerpts from my book).

Please visit the Stop The Thyroid Madness website and learn how the medical community has been prescribing Synthroid to women for years (since that is what they were taught in med school) and how it actually makes us worse! Natural desiccated thyroid has given us our lives back! I wish you the best.

Thanks for the response. I’m totally bummed about the stevia 🙁 , I was already prepared for the no answer with the flaxseeds. One other question….how do you know when you can get off this very restrictive diet?? Do you wait until no medication is needed, or just when you feel better?

Generally yes, I recommend waiting until you feel better (with regards to medication, it depends what you’re on… best to wait until you can get of steroids, NSAIDs and DMARDs, but if you’re taking something like thyroid hormone, you may have to continue taking that so you can start reintroductions even if you’re still on it). For some people, it’s a couple weeks, for others, it’s months or years.

I’m sorry to report we did not like this at all. I followed the recipe except only added 3/4 of a pound of liver. Both my husband and I could not get through one piece. The dog loved it 🙁

Just made this recipe with 2 pounds beef and 1 pound beef heart–WOW! My husband and I loved it! We already like liver but I have never tried beef heart and just received a few pounds of it from US Wellness. Also, the fennel was just super. Great combination of flavors. I follow the AIP so we also did not include the paprika or cayenne pepper but it was still great. Thanks for the wonderful recipes. Right now in my refrigerator I have your 1) AIP meatloaf, 2) homemade coconut milk and 3) almond squares with chocolate on top (my daughter LOVES these).


My family and i LOVE this recipe. I usually reduce the liver amount in this recipe to keep my family in the dark, and I usually use ground up chicken liver because I like it. Other than sauteed chicken livers, this is so far the only other way I’ve eaten organ meat, but am interested in trying heart after reading more about it. Thank you, Sarah, for this fantastic blog and your new book! I look forward to the cookbook!

Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe! This was our first go at organ meats and it was a success. My three girls, all 4 and under, gobbled it right up. Of course we didn’t make a big deal out of it, so they didn’t know they were trying something new. We used veal liver and I didn’t taste anything odd, only perhaps a little different texture than usual. Hoping you have more organ meat recipes on your site…or in your new book??

Sarah I cooked it, it still had a few pink bits in but I couldn’t wait so went ahead and ate!!! I’m not gonna die am I ?!!!!!

Love this recipe!! Thank you for making my first experience with liver a good one… I wanted to try liver because I’ve heard so much about the health benefits, but I was a little scared and thought hiding it in a meatloaf/meatballs would be the way to go. I decided to also add ~6 strips of (cooked) bacon (chopped into bits) to your recipe and that also gave it a nice flavor… bacon makes everything even better, right? 🙂 I made these into meatballs (well, they sort of flattened out into hockey-puck shapes in the oven) which expedited the bake time.

Also, recently heard your interview with Balanced Bites podcast. Looking forward to following you more and checking out your book!

Thanks! 🙂

[…] organ meat so we decided to try one of the recipes off the blog. The first for me to try was the hidden-liver meatloaf. It’s a mix of beef, pork, and liver with some serious spices to cover up the iron taste of […]

Great recipe! Been eating a slice for breakfast the past days. So yummy ! I was wondering, how much liver is safe to eat (a day/week) ?

I made the AIP version of this for our family and some friends the other night. I did have to omit the fish sauce and coconut aminos, as I didn’t have any, but I’ve found that replacing the aminos with extra salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar gives it the punch it needs! Also, I used ground-up bacon instead of plain pork. And instead of making it meatloaf-style, I just put it in the skillet and sauteed it like taco meat! My friends used tortillas and I used butterhead lettuce cups. Everyone liked it and they had no idea there was liver in it…and I didn’t tell them. 🙂
For those who dislike the flavor of liver, soaking the livers in lemon juice beforehand really helps reduce the strong liver flavor!

I’m sure this recipe is great. And I definitely need to work on incorporating liver etc. into my meals–but the lit of ingredients looks daunting. Any way to simplify?

OMG! OMG! OMG! This is the BEST meatloaf (liver or not) that I’ve ever had. Period. I didn’t have any parsley and forgot the cider vinegar and aminos and it was still unbelievable. I used a large muffin tin to bake these at 350-375 and it cut down the cooking time to 35 mins. Plus made it super easy to serve and store. I also nearly doubled all the herbs since it’s just us grown ups at my house. Used my food processor to puree the liver and did 2bls instead of 1. But then I love liver.

Ugh. Very expensive mistake. I could definitely taste the liver. I used ground beef and veal sausage and veal liver and all the other stuff. If you do not like liver this not hidden enough.

Great recipe: I made a few mods (1/2 lb liver instead of 1 lb, 3 tsp chives and thyme + no celery. Love the flavor. Very tomatoey & Italian for something with no tomato)

I’m crumbling it into bolognese since it reminds me so much of a good bolognese sauce, and I have no meatloaf eaters in my house (except me). Plus as crumbles I can use it for breakfast scrambles etc.

Quick question: how long will this keep, in the fridge or freezer?

Mine burnt a little on the top & was a bit dry (not sure if I did something wrong or maybe my oven isn’t the best?). I’m in Australia so had the oven on 180 degrees Celsius.
The flavours were nice though & the flavour of the liver was masked which is what I wanted. I really want to incorporate organ meats into my diet but don’t like the intense flavour. Last time I tried to eat liver was as pate & it turned me off trying again for a whole year! This time I was able to eat it!
Thanks for the recipe 🙂

I second the “ugh, very expensive mistake.” This was disgusting. Absolutely could taste the liver in it. If you notice, there is absolutely no salt in the recipe except for a couple of coconut amino’s. The taste of liver and the remainder of the meat bland made this horrible. I threw the whole thing away.

[…] I am currently eating nightshade-free, it was a bit of a no-go.  Luckily, I recently found this Egg-Free, Tomato-Free Paleo Meatloaf.  I made it with a pound of grass-fed ground beef and a pound of ground turkey (no liver for this […]

Just made this recipe and turned the into meatballs, braising them in chicken broth. Stepping shyly into the world of organ meats, and man was processing the liver a challenge! But i did it undercover last night, so nones the wiser for the moment. Hubs tasted them with delight, but must admit i was very timid with the liver and only put about a half-cup in. More next time!

You could try honey or maple syrup or just leave it out. The flavor would change slightly but it should still be delicious. -Kiersten

This recipe if pretty yummy. Tips: I accidentally added 2.5 tsp of kosher salt because I always salt my food (usually 1 tsp salt per pound of meat) and then was surprised to find this recipe actually had no added salt. 2.5 tsp was a tad bit too salty and I like my salt so I would suggest you add 1.5 tsp of salt. Chicken liver is less strong but if you are using beef liver then I would suggest you soak it in water and lemon juice for a few hours before grinding up to mellow the flavor (google it) but I also saw on Food Network that you can brine it in just salt water to get rid of the metal taste although I haven’t done that method yet (the lemon juice will turn the liver kinda grey since the acid is essentially partially “cooking” it)

[…] Meatloaf: This meatloaf called for a pound of pork, a pound of beef, and a pound of liver. In true meatloaf fashion, I mixed together all the ingredients including several handfuls of fresh herbs from my garden. While I hated making pate in week two, because I just could hardly stomach grinding up cooked liver in the blender, I really enjoyed putting the uncooked liver in the blender and pulverizing it. Since liver has a ton of liquid in it, it mixed really well with the ground beef and pork. Hubby couldn’t even tell there was liver in the finished meatloaf! This is a recipe I will definitely be using from now on, and I look forward to serving it for my future children to sneak in some nutrient-rich liver into their diets. […]

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