Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Modern meat processing does a marvelous job of making flesh, fat, and gristle look like anything other than that. From ground sinew and muscle we get exquisitely smooth deli slices or hot dog links, completely divorced from their corporeal beings. As plant-based meats evolve to compete with conventional options, I think the next big step is to outpace them entirely. It’s time to embrace whole body butchery.

“Meathead” might be an insult, but “meat foot” is about to become a compliment of the highest order. The concept of feetloaf isn’t new, just not well understood. While it may have begun as a play on words, the flavors here are no joke. Let’s take a swing at this beast and break it all down.

What exactly is feetloaf?

First, you need to start with pasture-raised, hormone-free, organic, free-range humans. Next, you need to make sure they’re slaughtered humanely at a USDA-approved facility…

In truth though, feetloaf can be made from any meatloaf recipe you like. Standard yields will only make enough material for a single foot, or baby feet, so either double the quantities or plan the sculpting accordingly.

You’ll want to remove the natural toenails, which are pretty tough and sharp. Sliced cipollini onions make excellent replacements, adding flavor and covering any unsightly toe stumps at once.

Alternate vegetables to use for a “bone” instead of daikon:

Did you know that the tibia is is the most commonly fractured long bone in the body? If your human doesn’t have a suitable bone for the loaf, there are plenty of easy replacements. I prefer daikon for it’s mildly peppery bite and tender texture. Other great options include:

  • Parsnip
  • Whole hearts of palm
  • White carrots
  • Leeks (white parts only)
  • Peeled potatoes

What sides are best to serve with feetloaf?

Expect any side dish to be largely overlooked when you have such a grand show-stopper on the table. That said, it’s good to keep the supporting players simple and unfussy. My go-tos are:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Steamed broccoli or peas
  • Leafy green salad

Those who have been raised eating only innocuous nuggets might have a hard time coming around to feetloaf. Some may even find it shocking or unsettling if not prepared for the meal. Rest assured that this is the only way towards a truly sustainable food system. No matter any initial backlash, this meal is absolutely the best way to get your foot in the door.

Yield: Makes 8 Servings



Hearty, meaty, and fun for the whole family, feetloaf is the best kind of meatloaf you've ever had! Sure, it's perfect for Halloween, but it's a great tasting meal any day of the year.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


Black Bean Meatloaf:

  • 1 (8-Ounce) Package Tempeh
  • 1/3 Cup Walnuts or Pecans
  • 2 (14-Ounce) Cans Black Beans, Drained
  • 1 Medium Onion, Minced
  • 1 Medium Carrot, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Quick-Cooking Oats
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseeds
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

To Garnish:

  • 1 Cipollini Onion, Halved and Sliced
  • 1 (8 - 10 Inch) Daikon Radish, Peeled
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; set aside.
  2. Roughly crumble or chop the tempeh and put it in your food processor along with the nuts. Pulse lightly to begin breaking them down into a coarse meal. Add the black beans and pulse to incorporate, but not blend them into a paste. It should still have a rough consistency. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Lightly pulse the onion, carrot, and garlic before adding them into the bowl as well. Add the ketchup, soy sauce, seasoning, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper, stirring vigorously to incorporate. Once well combined, add the oats, flaxseeds, and olive oil. Stir with a wide spatula until everything is thoroughly blended.
  4. To shape the feet, divide the mixture in two and place them as separate rectangles on the prepared baking sheet. Use moistened hands to form toes and bring up the ankle slightly. Press slices of cipollini onion into the toes for the nails, and then push the daikon into the ankles for the bones. Squirt ketchup all around the ankle stump where it meets the bone.
  5. Carefully place the baking sheet in the center of your oven and bake for 1 hour. The toes should be a bit crispy around the edges and the daikon will be fork-tender.
  6. Slice and serve with additional ketchup, if desired. Enjoy hot.


To reheat leftovers, cut into individual portions and either microwave for 1 - 2 minutes or bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes, until hot all the way through.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

5 thoughts on “Putting Your Best Foot Forward

  1. Thanks for making me laugh today, Hannah. I was thinking of you as I’ll be staying overnight in Amarillo tomorrow on my way back to the Chicago area to visit friends. I’m sorry that Austin is so out-of-the-way. But one of these days…

    1. Ahh, well don’t worry about it too much for this round! I’m actually in San Francisco at the moment, so it was a complete miss. One of these days though, yes, I’d LOVE to host you down south. Say the word and I’ll start inflating the air mattress!

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