Basic Meatloaf

I LOVE meatloaf and it seems like I never make it the same twice, which is why I LOVE meatloaf.  It's a perfect "whatever you happen to have on hand" type of recipe. I've had families drop by unexpectedly and I'll throw a couple of pounds of ground beef, veal, lamb, or pork in any combination into warm water and I'm ready to start mixing.  If I don't have enough time to open the spice drawer I thaw a package of fennel or Italian sausage and mix that in with no additional spices and it's amazing every time. 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef, comfort food, meatloaf


  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 2 celery sticks finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread (white will do fine too)
  • .25 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground veal, pork, or lamb
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 lg egg beaten
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • .25 cup ketchup


  • Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 350º F.In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
  • Tear the bread slices into small pieces, transfer to a food processor and pulverize the bread into crumbs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk, stir until blended and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion-celery mixture to the bread mixture and stir until blended. Add the beef, lamb, veal, tomato sauce, egg, salt and pepper and fold together gently until blended.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2-lb. loaf pan and, using your hands, shape the mixture into an oblong loaf. Spread the ketchup evenly over the top. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf registers 165ºF, about 1 1/2 hours.


Here's a very basic recipe to get you started. Feel free to switch out the bread for oats or GF bread, use whatever kind of meat you have. No ketchup? That's find, use a red wine and butter reduction. Have Fun!