This Surprising Ingredient Substitute Can Make Meatloaf Gluten-Free

Meatloaf is a comforting, easy-to-make, and satisfying entree. The basic components — meat, seasonings, filler, and an optional sauce — can be mixed and matched for a wide range of options. While it's a fairly straightforward dish, there are seemingly endless variations using beef, pork, turkey, and veal, as well as a variety of binders and fillers, herbs, spices, and other ingredients to keep things interesting. 

One of the most important components in meatloaf is it's filler, because it helps to bind together the meat and keep it from crumbling apart after it is cooked. Although bread or breadcrumbs are the most common filler for this classic dish, those with gluten sensitivities need not swear off meatloaf. Of course, gluten-free bread or breadcrumbs can be substituted for standard versions of this binder, but did you know that soup mix can also serve as all the binder your meatloaf needs? 

Yes, that powdery mix that you may already use for flavoring in your meatloaf can also serve as the filler (via The Cookful). While you should be mindful of the soup mix you choose (since those can have gluten, too), there are quite a few gluten-free choices, such as Simply Organic French Onion Dip Mix (via Amazon) and Mom's Gluten-Free Onion Soup Mix (also via Amazon).

Soup mix will bind your meatloaf

If you're so inclined, you can make your own gluten-free soup mix to use in everything from meatloaves to dips, just as you would with any off-the-shelf soup mix. I Can't Believe It's Low Carb demonstrates one that includes just seven ingredients, including dried onion flakes, onion powder, and gluten-free beef bouillon.

Of course, there are other ways to make your meatloaf gluten free and still keep it bound together. Gluten-Free Palate points out that you can purchase gluten-free oats to replace breadcrumbs or other binders. The website Talking Meals also illustrates that meatloaf can be easily made with no gluten. The five-ingredient recipe has just lean ground beef, onion, ketchup, eggs, and Parmesan cheese (as well as salt and pepper). The eggs and Parmesan cheese function to bind the loaf together and give moisture to the meat — and they're gluten-free, of course.

Looking for an even more flavorful gluten-free binder? The Cookful points out that pork rinds can serve as a substitute for bread crumbs. Just be sure to check the label first, as you'll occasionally find gluten in some brands, according to Celiac.com. Low in carbs, but high in fat, crush up some of these tasty snacks and combine them with your meat mixture to hold the meatloaf together perfectly.