Growing up, I did not like meatloaf at all. Looking back, I realize my dislike stemmed from the dominant flavor of ketchup in most meatloaf recipes. Years later, I revisited the idea of meatloaf, and now it is one of my favorite comfort foods. I swapped out the ketchup for real onions, garlic, tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden. I started cooking the onions before mixing them with the meat; the cooking process mellows the flavor, and gives the whole dish a warm, slightly sweeter flavor. On Sundays, I’ll often make this meatloaf, because I know the kids will be happy to eat it for dinner, and we can use the leftovers for the days ahead. Austin especially likes to heat up a slice on the griddle and put it on toasted sourdough bread for a warm meatloaf sandwich.
TIP: This is the perfect time to use up the heels of your sliced bread to make breadcrumbs. A meat thermometer is helpful in making sure the meatloaf is fully cooked.
Special Equipment: 2 standard loaf pans, food processor, meat thermometer
Recipe makes 2 loafs, 6 servings. Total time 30 minutes. Active time 30 minutes.
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 2-4 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 4 pounds ground beef
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs (2-4 heels of sliced bread)
- 2 cups diced, canned tomatoes (drained)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 large sprigs of thyme to decorate top of meatloaf
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Pulse bread in food processor to make fine crumbs and set aside. Use food processor to finely chop onions and garlic.
Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until onion is just beginning to turn translucent and golden, about 10 minutes. Add parsley and thyme, and keep cooking until parsley has wilted and mixed with other ingredients. Turn off heat.
Beat eggs. In large mixing bowl, combine beef, eggs, tomatoes, and salt. Add onion mixture and breadcrumbs, and mix everything together with your hands.
Transfer the mixture into loaf pans and press it in gently, rounding the top of each loaf. Place a sprig of fresh thyme on top of meatloaf. Bake until meatloaf is slightly browned on top and the inside has reached 160°, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the meatloaf cool for about 15 minutes, then cut slices directly from the pan and serve.
Recipe first featured on Ranch To Table Season 2 Episode 5: Apple Season on the Magnolia Network.
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Photos by Brian Skope