Meatloaf cupcakes are a kid-friendly comfort food that cooks much faster than a traditional meatloaf! It’s an easy dinner filled with anti-inflammatory spices and is SCD, Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and soy free.
In an attempt to entice my 2 year old to eat dinner, I made these little meatloaf “cupcakes” with a roasted mashed cauliflower topping! So cute right?!
I bet you’re wondering if it worked? The answer is no, no it did not! We had to beg and plead for her to take a bite and after 15 minutes she finally did and then ate the whole thing!
Not only are these meatloaf cupcakes adorable, they cook in just twenty to twenty-five minutes, significantly faster than a large meatloaf which can take around an hour.
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Ingredient substitutions and tips
For those of you unfamiliar with turmeric, it’s a warm, almost earthy tasting spice that’s used in mostly savory Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. This anti-inflammatory spice needs to be paired with black pepper to help with being effective.
Almond meal can be used instead of almond flour.
Fresh ginger really adds a little something extra to this dish, but if you don’t have it on hand then 1/8 tsp of ground ginger can be used instead.
The ONLY ingredient in the strained tomatoes, also known as tomato sauce, should be tomatoes! No spices or it will change the flavor of the meatloaf cupcakes. I always, always buy the Pomi brand (Please don’t buy it on Amazon, you should be able to find it significantly cheaper at your local grocery store. I just linked to it here so you could see which brand I’m talking about!).
Do i really need to saute the onions and peppers?
Since these little turmeric meatloaf cupcakes cook for just 20ish minutes, the onions and peppers will still be a bit crisp if not sauteed first. If that doesn’t bother you or you’re a little short on time, then by all means skip sauteing the veggies.
If like me, your stomach doesn’t do well with raw(ish) vegetables, then please make sure to saute them!
What to top the meatloaf with
I used a pastry bag to pipe the meatloaf with my delicious roasted mashed cauliflower. However, you could easily place a big dollop on top and then use a fork to fluff it up and make it look pretty!
If you’re not following Paleo or Whole30 and your stomach can handle dairy, then my Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower recipe is delicious with this meatloaf as well!
Another option is to leave the mashed cauliflower off altogether and have meatloaf “muffins” instead!
How to store the meatloaf
Store the cooked meatloaf cupcakes in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
“Unfrosted” meatloaf can be frozen for up to three months.
Need more comfort food dinner ideas?!
- Cuban Picadllio
- Apple Cider Marinated Chicken Breast
- Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower
- Noodle-less Butternut Squash Lasagna
If you’ve made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below! This is the best way you can help support me and my blog!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup blanched finely ground almond flour, almond meal will also work
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, or 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 cup strained tomatoes, divided
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Roasted Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower, florets removed
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Saute the onions and peppers in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and the onions have begun to look translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl beat together the egg, 1/4 cup of the strained tomatoes, sauteed onions, peppers, and the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the ground beef. The mixture will have the consistency of a thick paste.
- Add the ground beef to the bowl and use your hands to mix well. Just try not to over mix or the meatloaves will be tough.
- Use your hands to roll 1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture into a ball. Press the ball into the muffin tin, making sure to leave a little space at the top. This should make about 10 meatloaves. Top each meatloaf evenly with the rest of the strained tomatoes.
- Place the muffin tin on the middle racke of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160F.
- Allow the meatloaf to rest for 5 minutes before gently removing from the muffin tin. Top with the roasted mashed cauliflower and serve warm.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
Roasted Mashed Cauliflower
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- When cutting the florets off the head of cauliflower, make sure they're all about the same size. Keep in mind that the larger the florets, the longer it will take to roast, the smaller the florets, the shorter amount of time they'll need in the oven.
- Spread the cauliflower florets evenly on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Use your hands to rub the oil onto each floret.
- Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the garlic cloves. Remove any loose, white papery covering but leave enough that the bulb will still stay together. Place the bulb in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb and use your hands to rub it over the entire garlic. Wrap the garlic in the aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet with the cauliflower.
- Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cauliflower is slightly browned and tender.
- Use tongs to transfer the cauliflower to a high speed blender or food processor. Unwrap the garlic from the aluminum foil and either use a small fork to remove the garlic from the paper or gently squeeze the bottom of the bulb to push out the cloves. Add to the blender along with the salt.
- Blend the mixture and with the motor running, slowly add the vegetable broth until the mashed cauliflower is to your desired consistency (I like to start off adding 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and then slowly add more as needed). Stop to scrape down the sides of the blender jar as needed.
- Either pipe the roasted mashed cauliflower onto the top of the meatloaves or put a big dollop on top and use a fork to fluff it up and make it look pretty.
- The mashed cauliflower can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- If you decide not to saute the peppers and onions, they will be a bit crisp in the meatloaf.
- Only fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full with the meat mixture. This ensures there’s enough room for grease to accumulate on top without spilling over the muffin tin and leaving a mess in your oven.
- Cooked meatloaf cupcakes can be frozen (without the mashed cauliflower topping) and then defrosted at a later time.
- I typically make the Roasted Mashed Cauliflower a day or two before making the meatloaf.
- Here’s the recipe for my Homemade Vegetable Broth which is delicious in the roasted mashed cauliflower.
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This post was originally published in July 2017 and was updated with refined directions in January 2020.