Meat Loaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I suspect that meatloaf has been on nearly everyone’s plate at one time or another… it certainly has been on mine.  I suspect, as well, that there are as many variations of meatloaf as there are moms around the world!  Food historians tell us that ground meat has been mixed with bread products, sauces, spices and other thickeners since Ancient times.  The meat employed in the earliest of recipes was usually already cooked as opposed to the raw meat widely used today.  The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century made it possible for ground meat to be manufacutured and sold to the public at a low cost.  However, Americans were hesitant at first to purchase raw ground meat products, regarding them with suspicion.  Lack of reliable refrigeration at the time may have played a large role in this hesitation.

Meatloaf itself has European origins.  Minced meat loaves were cooked in the 5th century and were mentioned in the Roman cookery collection written by Apicius.    The American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times and is usually topped with ketchup.  It is also akin to the Italian meatball, many recipes being virtually interchangeable with the distinctions coming from the shape,  accompaniments and choice of sauce.  Meatloaf as we know it today, blended with bread or cracker crumbs, egg and seasonings, then baked in a loaf pan gained in popularity between 1900 and the 1920s.  Meat loaf and gravy, paired with mashed potatoes and canned green beans, was very popular in the 1950s… and a combination that appeared on our dinner plates in the Midwest often!

Meatloaf is obviously a very popular dish.  In 2007 it was voted the 7th favorite dish in the United States according to the Good Housekeeping website.  It is still considered a comfort food by many, including us!  A favorite meatloaf prepared in our kitchen is a wonderful combination of lean ground beef, spicy Italian sausage and ground veal, blended together with a variety of herbs and sauteed onions, garlic, carrots and celery.  The addition of robust, flavor-filled sun-dried tomatoes makes this a dish that is spectacular both hot and cold!

Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To a heavy 12-inch skillet or sauteuse over moderately high heat  add:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil

When oil begins to shimmer add:

  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

Saute until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add:

  • 3 whole large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Chef’s Note: Crumble the dried herbs between the palms of your hands while adding to the pan to release their fragrant essences:

Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are well-browned:

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine in a large bowl:

  • 1  lb leanest ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 C Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C coarsely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 C panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • the cooled onion mixture

Mix well to combine:

Adjust seasonings if necessary and transfer the mixture to a large loaf pan and shape the loaf.  I use a hinged loaf pan as it allows the juices to readily run out of the pan while cooking.  In addition, it facilitates easy transfer of the cooked meatloaf to the serving plate:

Cover the meatloaf, for self-basting, with:

  • 6 – 8 strips of bacon, overlapped to fit the top of the loaf

If using a hinged loaf pan, place it on a wire rack set inside a sheetpan to catch the juices released during cooking:

Bake for approximately 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 150 degrees.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and slice for service:

This flavorful meatloaf is excellent served with garlic mashed potatoes and a rich mushroom gravy, accompanied by steamed haricot vertsBon Appetit!


Copyright 2010 Via Aurea Designs, Inc., All Rights Reserved


Categories: Beef, Pork

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!


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One Comment on “Meat Loaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes”

  1. Debbie Smith
    January 24, 2010 at 1:18 PM #

    What a wonderful presentation and recipe! Thanks so much for the step by step pictures and comments. I like how you show your ingredients in one picture before the cooking begins. The writing is witty, informative, and such a joyful break from most online writing these days! I love your inclusion of poetry, stories, and experiences.

    My doctor has ordered me to bring my cholesterol levels down, so I worry a bit about the bacon on top. One thing I’ve tried that is yummy on meatloaf as a finishing glaze is simply orange marmalade! The last 10 minutes of cooking, just cover the top of the loaf with it and it will melt into a wonderfully tasty glaze! Still not guilt free, but a treat that is not adding more saturated fat. Try it and let everyone know what you think!

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