Meatloaf, Plain And Simple

By • November 2, 2011 • 62 Comments

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Author Notes: The other day, after speaking with my mother, I was thinking about the best sandwich she packed for my lunch when I was in school. It was leftover meatloaf on white bread with mayo -- hands down. So, I decided to make meatloaf. My recipe is simple and produces a moist flavorful loaf -- no bells and whistles, just a plain ole meatloaf. In my opinion, it's comfort food at its most basic. I use ground beef and ground pork in mine; you can use all beef, just make sure its 80%, as you want the meat to be fairly fatty. The celery, carrot, parsley, and onion are ground in the food processor, which adds extra moistness. I use fresh bread crumbs and top the loaf off with ketchup. sdebrango

Food52 Review: WHO: Sdebrango’s two kitchen helpers are her pugs, Izzy and Nando.
WHAT: A no-frills meatloaf to make for dinner one day, then eat as a lunch sandwich the next.
HOW: Grind celery, carrots, onion, and parsley in a food processor. Mix with sautéed peppers and mushrooms, fresh bread crumbs, puréed tomato, and ground meat. Shape it into a loaf, cover with ketchup, and bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: If you grew up with a meatloaf-making mother, this one is just like the kind she used to make. It has everything you love with none of the distractions. Tasty and simple with no fancy or weird ingredients, it requires no accompaniments except fresh bread. It’s even better on a sandwich the next day -- the flavor and texture only gets better with a little time.
The Editors

Makes one big loaf

  • Olive oil, for coating baking pan and sautéeing
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 small onion (yellow, white, or red -- your choice)
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley with large stems removed
  • 1 small bell or Cubanelle pepper diced
  • 6 mushrooms (I used white stuffer type), cleaned with tough part of stems removed
  • 1 pound 80% ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 small tomato (about 4 ounces), cored and puréed in blender
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • Ketchup to slather on top of loaf
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F and lightly oil a rectangular baking dish or loaf pan. Cut celery, carrot, and onion into large chunks, and add them to food processor along with the parsley. Process until the vegetables are ground.
  2. Dice the pepper and mushrooms and sauté them in a small amount of olive oil until the pepper softens.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add the meat, ground vegetables, sautéed pepper and mushrooms, bread crumbs, egg, puréed tomato, salt and pepper, Worcestershire, and cream (if using). Mix with spoon -- or better yet, your hands -- until it's all combined. To check the seasoning, fry off a tiny test patty, taste, and adjust accordingly. Plop the meat into the oiled baking pan and shape into a loaf. Cover with ketchup.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, remove from oven, and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. If there are any leftovers, make sandwiches. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (62)

Comments (62) Questions (1)

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22 days ago CarlaCooks

I made this tonight and both my husband and I loved it! I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit what I had in the fridge. I used a lot of mushrooms and sautéed them with leeks and the bell pepper. Once they finished sautéing, I added them to the carrot and celery in the food processor. I omitted the onion since I used a leek. I used 1 pound ground beef and 1 1/2 pounds ground pork. I didn't have any fresh tomatoes (damn you, late fall), so I added about 1/4 of a can of tomatoes. I mixed home-made garlic croutons with panko instead of the fresh breadcrumbs (no fresh bread in the house). I omitted the parsley because I HATE PARSLEY!! (sorry, I feel quite strongly about parsley!) The whole mixture made 2 loaves. Instead of covering them with catsup, I instead reduced the rest of the can of tomatoes with some added salt, sugar, and Sriracha to give it a kick, and used this to cover the loaves. I froze one of the loaves to eat later in the winter and cooked the other at the recommended temperature and time, which was perfect. Thanks for a great recipe!

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22 days ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Carla;

I love the changes you made and one thing about meatloaf is that is ultimately adaptable. I am just thrilled that you and the husband like it and really think the spicy tomato topping is an excellent idea. Thank you so much.

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22 days ago CarlaCooks

I always feel a bit bad about tweaking a recipe on the first go, but sometimes you just have to go with what's in the fridge! Your recipe is a great starting point, and it was very easy to adapt to my needs and likes/dislikes. I highly recommend the spicy topping!

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22 days ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Don't feel bad, IMHO recipes are made to be tweaked or tailored to the taste of the preparer and also tweaked to include what you have on hand, in your case you dislike parsley, and I love it but the meatloaf is still wonderful without. Thank you so much Carla and thank you also for trying my recipe.

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about 1 month ago someone

Sounds great but I think the name needs tweaked. This has the most ingredients of any recipe I have found so far. Maybe Fancy Meatloaf?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for the comment. Appreciate you stopping by.

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about 1 month ago Christina @ Christina's Cucina

Congratulations, Suzanne! You are full of winning recipes! Yippee, very happy for you!! xx

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Christina!

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2 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats on the win, sdebrango! Can't wait to try this.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Liz!!

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2 months ago bonheurcuisine

Comgrats my friend! Saved it!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Viviana!

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2 months ago Horto

i use raw mushrooms in the mix, adds moisture, saves extra clean up!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes I have done that too and it works well, it does also save on clean up!

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2 months ago MrsK

Worth winning the contest! I'm salivating already, lol. My congratulations to you and wish you enter many more Food52 contests in the near future. You see, I have a very selfish motive: that means you will share your recipes with the rest of us... ;-)

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You are so sweet, thank you so much!

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2 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congrats on being a finalist Suzanne! There are truly few things more wonderful that a really good meatloaf. :)

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Emily, meatloaf is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

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2 months ago Midge

Big congrats Suzanne. This is definitely my next meatloaf.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Midge.

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2 months ago amysarah

This reminds me very much of my mom's meatloaf, which of course I appropriated years ago. She always threw the veg's/liquids in a blender (pre-food processor!) before mixing them with the meat, etc., so I still do too. When I see meatloaf mentioned as making a "comeback" I always wonder, when did it go away? Anyway, glad to see this as a finalist. There's a very good reason a next-day meatloaf sandwich is classic.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, yes this is very similar to my Mom's meatloaf, it was the pre cursor to mine I made a few minor changes but the taste is almost the same. The sandwich next day is the best.

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2 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Suzanne! Congratulations on being a finalist!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much.

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2 months ago anotherfoodieblogger

Congrats on being a finalist! I make my "mom's meatloaf" all the time, and yes, leftovers for sammies the next day are the best! Except we slather ours with mustard, not mayo. I do like the idea of mincing the veggies in a food processor. Great idea!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, yes my Moms meatloaf was my inspiration. Grinding the vegetables makes for a flavorful moist loaf.

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2 months ago bonheurcuisine

Congrats Suzanne! The loaf sounds delicious!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Viviana

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2 months ago cristinasciarra

Looks delicious! Congrats on being a finalist. I'm going to try this.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Cristina!

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2 months ago lastnightsdinner

I make meatloaf for the sole purpose of having meatloaf sandwiches the next day! This sounds wonderful, and I'll be making it soon. Congrats to you - xo

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much! I do too, I remember the sandwiches my Mom made, white bread, a little mayo and a thick slice of meatloaf. It was my favorite lunch.

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2 months ago healthierkitchen

Congrats! This sounds delicious!!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much.

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2 months ago Bevi

Congrats Suzanne!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Bevi!

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2 months ago Margherita Romagnoli

It's amazing see you here Suzanne!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you Margherita!

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2 months ago Kukla

Congratulations Suzanne, so happy to see your recipe as a finalist and it sounds as a fantastic Meatloaf recipe!!!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You are always so kind, than you Kukla!

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2 months ago EmilyC

Big congrats to you, Suzanne! I'm planning to try your meatloaf soon. It looks fantastic!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much I am honored to share a finalists spot with you and love your recipe.