When you are planning your dinner mentally and walking around the kitchen you look in the pantry, then the refrigerator, and both all over again. You have decided you are going to make meatloaf and then the question arises, what to make with meatloaf? For some times this is a simple answer and for other times you want to switch it up and not just make the same stuff you always do. I hope we can change it up a bit and give you some new ideas here.
I know when I think about side items to pair with meatloaf, I have my list of regulars that I use. All of my lists include some type of starch. I personally, really love starches, and so does my family. Here is a list of my most commonly used starches to pair with meatloaf.
- Mashed Potatoes – You can make mashed potatoes to suit any taste. If you like more pain, then don’t put very much into them. If you want more flavor, add some garlic, pepper, cheese. Pair with some gravy if you would like. Mashed potatoes are so simple to make exactly how you would like them to taste.
- Rice – My preference is white rice, but you can go with brown rice or jasmine rice. You can even use a box of rice such as Uncle Bens, Knorr Rice Sides, or Rice A Roni. I love my white rice smothered in gravy, but you can add flavors to white or brown rice in other ways. Cooking rice in stock instead of water is the easiest way to add flavor.
- AuGratin Potatoes or Julianne Potatoes – I don’t know about you, but for me, I do not have time to personally slice and prepare potatoes every time I decide to make these. Go the quick and easy way and pick up a box side item at your grocery for these. Most of the grocery box side dishes are pretty decent taste-wise and will cut down on so much preparation time.
- Sweet Potatoes – Make these like a loaded baked potato or more like a sweet potato casserole by adding a little butter and cinnamon in the place of brown sugar. This will give it the candied taste but fewer calories.
- Corn – Corn is considered a starch or starchy vegetable. You can make quickly by having a steamable bag or make fresh. If you go the quick route I suggest a bag of whole kernel corn and mix with a can of cream style corn. It adds sweetness to your corn and mixes up the textures. Add a dash of black pepper and this is one of my favorites.
- Pasta Salad – Homemade pasta salad is great to go with meatloaf, especially if it is a warmer day. There are so many varieties of pasta salad you can make too.
- Potato Salad – Oh my, not too many things are better than homemade potato salad. This one I can not personally suggest store-bought for quickness. Store-bought potato salads are either too much mayonnaise-based or too much mustard base for my family. Also, I love celery, but potato salad is not one place I think it belongs in. Store-bought salad will be packed with it.
- Risotto or Quinoa– These would not be traditional sides I would go to first personally for a side dish with meatloaf, but if you like them, then go for it. Also, if you are in a pinch and that is what you have available then make it.
Potatoes are so very versatile and you can make so many dishes with them. I always keep a bag of potatoes on hand for the days when I can’t really come up with a side item for dinner. You can pressure cook potatoes for a shorter cooking time than regular boiling. You really can’t go wrong with any of these side dishes. You just have to remember to cater to your own taste preference over quickness sometimes, like with potato salad in my case.
The most common vegetables to make with meatloaf in my opinion are green beans and green peas. Those are absolutely fine as well. In an effort to switch it up from time to time these are some ideas to do with those veggies and more.
- Green bean Casserole: This really is too simple. If you don’t like french fried onions, try some crunched up potato chips on top for the texture.
- Green Peas: Green peas are so good with mushrooms and pearl onions. You can find them in stores usually around the holidays, but for the rest of the year, I have to make them.
- Honey Carrots: You can glaze carrots with honey and serve them as a simple side item.
- Roasted Squash and Zucchini: A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and a few minutes in the oven are all this takes.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower: Steam and either use a little salt and pepper, drizzle with a cheese sauce, or sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.
- Brussel Sprouts: Rough chop, toss with olive oil some seasoning salt and pepper, and saute’ in a skillet or roast in the oven. Brussel sprouts are so tasty.
- Spinach: Take a shortcut here and buy a bag of steamable chopped or leaf spinach and just microwave. Add a pinch of salt for flavor.
- Cabbage: Steam cabbage with onions or make coleslaw with it. Either way is a great way to go with meatloaf.
- Asparagus: Roasted in the oven or pan-seared with garlic is my preferred method go asparagus. Don’t overcook it until it is too soft though. The texture should be tender-crisp.
I try to make sure I get a vegetable on our plates every night with dinner. It doesn’t always happen for lunch at my house and that is alright. It is important to try to get your veggies in though. Vegetables are an important part of making sure you get vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate (folic acid), and dietary fiber. If you have never steamed vegetables on your own I suggest the following steamer pot. You can use it for more than just steaming vegetables too.
We do not have bread on our plate with every meal as it is an extra starch and trying to keep it as healthy as I can. With that being said sometimes you just have to add a piece of bread. I consider meatloaf comfort food for my family. Every good comfort food needs good bread to go along with it in my mind anyway.
Depending on how you season your meatloaf you could go with any of the following breads. Meatloaf is dense and some of these breads are denser than others. Just something to think about, but bread might be your comfort food, and the more the merrier.
Other breads to serve:
- Beer Bread
- Slices of Rye bread
- Yeast Rolls
- Sweet Bread slice or rolls
- Sourdough bread slices
- Buttered and toasted english muffin
When thinking about what to make with meatloaf, remember anything can be made with it. My go-to meatloaf meal would look like this: meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, green peas, and yeast rolls. Sometimes our meals do not have to always make sense to anyone else but us. You could make meatloaf and serve a salad and fruit if that is what you like. The best meal will always be the one that you like the best. There are no rules about what has to be served with meatloaf, but I hope I have given you some ideas to either pair with or have spawned a new idea of your own.
What are your favorite foods to eat with meatloaf? I would love to hear all of your ideas.
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