Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
2 Jan

Lasagna Meatloaf


Lasagna meatloaf has all the delicious flavor of lasagna, without the noodles. Cheese is optional, and although it adds creamy mozzarella flavor, the meatloaf is more than satisfying without it. Marinara sauce, basil and oregano, onion and garlic…this all-beef meatloaf has it all. Plus three ingredients that hold the loaf together perfectly: eggs, finely chopped mushrooms, and gelatin.

Eggs are always used to bind meatloaf. This recipe only uses two. Raw mushrooms, very finely chopped (use a food processor) look a lot like breadcrumbs and in this loaf, have a similar job. They help the meat bind together, while also adding flavor and moisture. Powdered gelatin is the final binding agent, helping to give the meatloaf a sliceable texture. This trio—eggs, mushrooms, and gelatin—can be used with any meatloaf recipe.

Serve lasagna meatloaf with a spoonful of your favorite marinara sauce and fresh Italian herbs for a low-carb Italian meal.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to brush loaf pan (30 ml)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced cremini or button mushrooms, very finely chopped (use a food processor) (113 g)
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce (180 ml)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (10 ml)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil (60 ml)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (optional) (90 g)
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck (900 g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 ml)
  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin (7 ml)


Preheat oven to 350 °F/176 °C.

Brush a loaf pan with olive oil.

Warm the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together onion, garlic, mushrooms, marinara sauce, eggs, oregano and basil (and cheese, if using).

Add the ground beef to bowl and sprinkle salt on top.


In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon/15 ml water with the powdered gelatin. Let sit 1 minute then pour in 2 tablespoons/30 ml of hot water. Mix well and pour over the ground meat.

Use your hands to gently but thoroughly mix the ground meat with everything in the bowl.

Pack mixture into the loaf pan. Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until meat loaf is firm to touch in center and has pulled away from sides of pan, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the loaf rest 15 minutes. Pour off liquid. Turn the pan over to carefully remove the loaf.

Serve with warmed marinara sauce, fresh basil and oregano.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Hmm… Looks pretty good, Mark, but why call it Lasagna Meatloaf? Lasagna is all about the noodles. I’m in favor of letting primal foods be what they are instead of trying to turn them into a substitute for something else.

    Shary wrote on January 2nd, 2016
    • This looks very similar to our households standard comfort food, we call it “Italian Meatloaf”. And to Elizabeth, if you want to omit the marinara finely chop a nice apple of choice. It’s delicious!

      Mary Milliron wrote on January 11th, 2016
  2. I’m thinking of trying it without the marinara sauce. I hope it will not affect the recipe too much. Thanks!

    Coco wrote on January 2nd, 2016
  3. I’ve never made meatloaf before but this sounds amazing. I’m going to try it, minus the cheese

    Elizabeth wrote on January 2nd, 2016
  4. This looks delicious … except that I’m allergic to mushrooms.

    Do you think minced black olives would work similarly in this recipe?

    Peggy wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • minced olive sounds great. (i have made meat balls using minced olive before)


      pam wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • I’m allergic also. I’m trying it now with minced olives. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

      KC wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • I made this tonight, substituting two 2.5 ounce cans of black olives, minced, and not only did the hubby go back for seconds, he said this is “definitely” a keeper recipe.


      Peggy wrote on January 3rd, 2016
  5. mmmmmm….meatloaf is always a favorite in our house. Will definitely be trying this one!

    Susir wrote on January 3rd, 2016
  6. 4 servings – really? That is a huge chunk of meat loaf and a lot of calories!

    Ann wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • Um, Ann, you might have missed the point.

      Mark, this sounds amazing! I think I might add raw spinach leaves, as well.

      Anonymouse wrote on January 3rd, 2016
  7. Oh – no! I missed the point. I’m hear to learn…Well, I went ahead and made this for my family tonight. I have to admit that I am a serious cook and foodie but want to change our diet. This meatloaf was OK – very high is sodium, and a 1/4th of this recipe is 1/2 lb of meat, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 egg … It is a huge portion. I doubled the recipe and made one loaf (we ate about half) and then a bunch of small servings in muffin tins. I pressed a large thumb print and added the cheese putting more meat mixture over it. Will be great for my husbands lunches. I suggest you cut the salt by half and don’t use jarred marinara (most have a lot of sugar and salt).

    Ann wrote on January 3rd, 2016
    • We know :) Salt doesn’t matter a whole lot (Mark addresses this in a blog post). Given the fact that over 70% of sodium comes from processed food intake, maybe sodium is a proxy for processed food intake. As far as calories? If I were to give you 300 calories of gasoline, vodka, steak, or spinach, would those have different effects? Yes! Gasoline would kill you, vodka would make you drunk, steak would be yummy and filling, and you would be eating the spinach with the steak, well, if you hadn’t drank the gasoline. And on the jarred marinara, he linked a recipe, and if you live in TX, HEB has a huge line of organic sauces without added sugar.

      Myles wrote on January 4th, 2016
      • I think I understand but what I was questioning was the amount of the serving size. 8 oz of raw chuck is 580 calories and 46 grams of fat. When you add the 4 oz of cheese per serving that’s an additional 360 calories and 28 grams of fat. Then you add in the other ingredients and your meal is HUGE. This meatloaf alone is about 1000 calories per serving. That is what I am having trouble understanding. No matter how you look at it – it is not healthy unless you are training for a triathlon :) My husband can easily eat 3500 cal per day but most women and teens who are active, but not in training should not eat the recommended serving size. There is not a link to jarred sauces in this recipe. I run a producers only farmers market and have access to top notch organic, raw, free range, grass-fed, local only everything – I’m very lucky. I want to add these concepts and maybe recipe ideas to my newsletter but they have to be spot on for me to do that. I don’t buy anything processed and I do my own canning so that we can enjoy out of season produce. I love the whole primal concept. I assume the primal is going to mean eating only what is in season in the area in which you live? Thanks for the help!

        Ann wrote on January 4th, 2016
        • Hi Ann, I think people will adjust serving size to suit their requirements. Eating the primal way tends to make calories less important (have a read of the ‘start here’ parts of this site, as well as work by, for example, Gary Taubes, who wrote Good Calories, Bad Calories).
          Eating adequate quantities of good fat and protein, along with plenty of vegetables means that many of us are full enough to resist or see no need for the multiple baked goods and desserts that make up the SAD, Standard American Diet. This works for people like me who used to be always-hungry sugar burners.
          I know this way looks odd to start with but I find it’s actually hard to overeat something like this meat loaf, particularly if you are eating it with a plateful of greens.
          Best wishes with the primal lifestyle; it sounds like you have some great natural foods to hand.

          Caroline wrote on January 5th, 2016
        • And another thing… since eating Primal, I tend to eat only one big meal a day, because I am simply not hungry for anything else. (I am a 46 yr old woman, and pretty fit from walking/hiking) So a big serving of this recipe plus lots of veggies will do me for the day. I hope you do read the “Start Here” and I also really recommend Mark’s book The Primal Blueprint, or for a quicker overview, his 21-Day Total Body Trasformation. And you are here at the right time, as his 21 day challenge is just starting, and can give you a great jumpstart to the primal lifestyle! Best of luck and good health to you!

          Lora wrote on January 5th, 2016
  8. Just stuck this baby in the oven! Can’t wait to try it out! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    Lizzy wrote on January 4th, 2016
  9. Thank you all so much! I read a lot of the website (not blog) info but it’s time to read some books too. And maybe the challenge too…

    Ann wrote on January 5th, 2016
  10. I just tried this and it’s delicious, my whole family loved it, and it was EASY to make! Some of the other recipes I’ve tried are great but involve lots of steps. This was a cinch.

    I did not use the word “lasagna” though, or my kids would have rebelled when they didn’t see noodles. Just “meatloaf.”

    Monikat wrote on January 5th, 2016
  11. Made this last night. I used 1/4 pork, 1/4 chicken Italian sausage, 1/2 beef and swapped out the marinara for my usual paleo BBQ sauce. I used to make meat loaf all the time until we went paleo. This is the first paleo version that holds together! The only thing I’ll do differently next time is take the loaf out of the pan and put it on the roasting tray for the last 15-20 minutes. There was a lot of fluid from the ‘shrooms. Great recipe, Mark!

    primalplum923 wrote on January 6th, 2016
  12. Why do so many recipes call for try to bind with warm gelatin, when it first starts to have any binding properties at below room temperature?

    Brian wrote on January 6th, 2016
  13. Why do so many recipes call for trying to bind with warm gelatin, when it first starts to have any binding properties at below room temperature?

    Brian wrote on January 6th, 2016
    • I think it’s because it starts to gel at below room temperature but it can be a thickening agent at higher temperature. Like corn starch or tapioca starch. Maybe I’m completely wrong though.

      Coco wrote on January 7th, 2016
  14. This was disappointing, especially for the amount of effort it took and dishes it created. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t especially good.

    It also didn’t hold together well – fell to pieces like all bread-free meatloaf I’ve tried. We’re at high altitude if that makes any difference.

    Still, it was something different – thanks for the recipe.

    Michelle wrote on January 12th, 2016
    • I made it last night. Tasted great but mine came out a creepy grey color. Didn’t brown at all in the pan. Way too wet from the mushrooms. I will try it again and reduce the mushrooms first in a pan to release their water. I ended up chucking in some coconut flour to help bind because mine came out like a thick, unappetizing slurry. It sliced beautifully in the morning when it set up. Sadly, it was still rather grey in color.

      Marcia wrote on January 15th, 2016

    This might be a strange question, but being from a non-meatloaf consuming family (I don’t think it’s very common in the UK) I have only ever eaten meatloaf twice, both were Primal and both made by me, but I’m not sure if I got the them right.

    What sort of texture should meatloaf have, is it dry or moist? crumbly or squidgy?

    I didn’t love the ones I made and I don’t know if I got it wrong or is it just something you love if you’ve grown up with it?

    So lovely people, any advice on what a proper meatloaf should be like?

    Vicky wrote on January 16th, 2016
  16. Meatloaf should be firm and not fall to pieces, I think the eggs bind it together you could also line the loaf tin with turkey bacon or Canadian bacon then put meatloaf mixture into tin the mushrooms I would leave out because of water content but you could serve them as a side.
    Almond or coconut flour could be used instead of breadcrumbs.

    Evie wrote on January 23rd, 2016
  17. Late to the party but I just made this tonight–very moist and flavorful. My husband loved it so I think this will go into regular rotation!

    Trish wrote on February 7th, 2016

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