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What Is Meatloaf?
Meatloaf is, as one might imagine, a meat-based dish. It’s made of ground beef (or what we’d call minced beef here in the UK) which is shaped into a loaf, cooked and then sliced for serving. One of the problems with meatloaf is that it can dry out very easily so people will add in things like eggs or breadcrumbs to try and keep it moist.
There is actually a regional dish called Haslet, from the UK, which comes from Lincolnshire and is a type of pork meatloaf. Although outside of this area, most people aren’t familiar with it.
What Are the Best Side Dishes for Meatloaf?If you’re new to cooking meatloaf or simply want to mix things up a bit then you’re probably wondering what sides you should serve with it. On its own, meatloaf can be a bit bland and if it isn’t cooked properly, it will end up dry and very unpleasant. Once you’ve got your cooking techniques down to a T, you might try any of the following sides.
If plain old bread is a little too bland for you then why not try some garlic bread? The wonderful thing about garlic bread is how versatile it is. Not only in terms of what you can serve it with but also how you make it.
Of course, you could just have the traditional bread with garlic herb butter or you might add some parmesan cheese, herbs, even a little chilli if you’re feeling adventurous.
Mashed PotatoesPotatoes are such a wonderful side dish and when you serve them mashed with meatloaf, you’ve got a rich, filling and comforting meal that’s perfect for the colder months.
Delicious mashed potatoes are considered to be one of the most classic sides for meatloaf in the States so why deviate from tradition? Make sure to add lots of butter to keep the potatoes creamy and maybe throw in some thyme, chives, paprika, garlic or even chopped spring onions to improve the taste and texture.
Cheese is also a brilliant way to liven up your mash. Either mash it right into the potato or sprinkle it on top and bake to make it melt.
Maple Syrup and Mustard Brussel SproutsNow, we know what you’re thinking; Brussel sprouts? The awful food that makes you stink and nobody wants to eat at Christmas. But, just give them a chance, prepare them right and you might find yourself with a new love for Brussels.
The maple syrup/brown sugar and mustard create a sweet and salty combination that goes amazingly well with meatloaf and other meat dishes. A great one for autumn comfort food!
We’d recommend drizzling them in a little oil before baking or cooking in the air fryer so they go nice and crispy. You can also add seasoning to give various flavours. Some people just like a little salt and pepper but if you want something a little more daring, try adding some paprika, cumin and a handful of chilli flakes.
Mac 'N' CheeseIf you have kids then mac n cheese always goes down a treat. What’s more, this is a real comfort food so it’s perfect for cold evenings gathered around the table with family and friends.
However, you have to keep in mind that mac n cheese isn’t the most healthy dish on the menu so it might not be suitable if you’re very diet conscious. As an occasional treat, we think it’s brilliant with meatloaf.
Creamed PeasAnother of the most classic sides for meatloaf in the USA are creamed peas served with pearl onions. They’re easy to make at home and sit in a delicious white sauce. Again, we love this side when we want something comforting and warm.
Some people like to glaze them in honey for a sweet side that really compliments the meatloaf. On the other hand, I’ve found that coating them in a little garam masala gives them a rich, warm flavour.
Sweet Potato FriesMost people would gravitate towards regular chips when thinking about a side dish but we love sweet potato fries as an alternative. If you prefer something sweeter then, as their name suggests, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.
They cook wonderfully in the oven and will come out very crispy but if you want to, they’ll also turn out great in your air fryer. Moreover, you don’t need to add a lot of flavour to sweet potato fries as they’re delicious with just a little salt and pepper.
AsparagusFor the health-conscious among you, asparagus is a great choice as it’s one of the most highly nutritious vegetables out there. While it might not taste like much on its own, you can add things like herbs, lemon juice and garlic to liven it up.
If you’re happy to add a few extra calories then you might also wrap your asparagus spears in bacon, bake them and then sprinkle a little cheese over the top.
BroccoliBroccoli doesn’t need to be soggy and boring. As long as you avoid overcooking it, you’ll end up with a crunchy, flavour-filled vegetable that can be adjusted in many different ways.
One thing that we’ve seen a lot of people doing, and had to try for ourselves was adding things to turn the broccoli into a salad! That’s right; broccoli salad and it’s super tasty. Just throw in some cashews, cranberries, red onion and a little cheese to boost the flavour and serve something a little different with your meatloaf.
Mashed CauliflowerIf mashed potatoes are a little too heavy for you then you might want to try mashed cauliflower. It sounds weird but it’s brilliant if you want a way to get your kids to eat veggies without them knowing that’s what they’re doing.
Cauliflower is bursting with nutrients so it’s a very healthy choice and if you add a little smoked paprika, it’ll really enhance the flavour. I’d recommend this alongside those bacon-wrapped asparagus spears we talked about earlier.
Roasted VegetablesWe’ve mentioned a few different veggies so far but what if you can’t decide which to cook? Well, in that case, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with cooking all of them!
Roasted veggies allow you to add a splash of colour to what might otherwise be a visually boring dish. We’d recommend going for some red and yellow peppers, carrots, red onions, broccoli and maybe even some potatoes. Just cover them in olive oil and bake!
When you’re making meatloaf, classic American fried rice goes with it like a dream. You’ll need to mix carrots, peas and eggs into white rice and fry it off.
However, if you don’t like the sound of this, you can just add a little lime and coriander to the rice for a delicate, aromatic flavour that’ll really balance the heartiness of the meat.