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
Test kitchen notes
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
Watch this recipe
Meatloaf, Plain and Simple
- 1 splash olive oil, for coating baking pan and sautéing
- 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
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
- 1 splash ketchup to slather on top of loaf
- 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.
- Dice the pepper and mushrooms and sauté them in a small amount of olive oil until the pepper softens.
- 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.
- Bake for 1 hour, remove from oven, and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. If there are any leftovers, make sandwiches. Enjoy!