Meatloaf is an American classic, one that everyone’s mom used to make. We all have our favorite recipes for meatloaf, perhaps even more than one.
But the family can get pretty sick of meatloaf when you serve it with the same old, same old every time.
Plus, if you’re planning to trot out your famed meatloaf when guests come for dinner, having some sides that go above and beyond the ordinary will make this simple family-style dinner extraordinary.
Meatloaf truly is a diverse dish. While it consists of mainly the same ingredients (ground beef, breadcrumbs, and eggs), every home cook has some variant to it. It’s like lasagna; it’s called the same thing but it’s renditions are neverending.
Perhaps you make yours with ketchup while your neighbor does it with barbecue sauce. Some fill it with cheeses while others drench it in sauces.
There are probably thousands upon thousands of meatloaf recipes out there!
As you may have guessed, everyone has their own personal take on what tastes best when it comes to meatloaf preparation, but no matter which way you love it, figuring out what to serve with meatloaf dinners is a must.
It’s not known for being a sophisticated main dish, however, when you put it with some more fascinating side dishes, this homecooked creation really takes center stage.
What Goes with Meatloaf – Our Best List of Sides
Ready to make your favorite meatloaf recipe dazzle by flanking it with fabulous sides?
Here’s our 15 favorites to serve up with your meatloaf tonight!
1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Ah, sweet potatoes. They never get as much play as white potatoes when it comes to pairing with meatloaf, but they totally should.
And these baked sweet potato fries are indeed a match made in heaven with your homemade meatloaf. If you’ve ever had sweet potato fries, you know just how insanely good they are.
2. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Did we have you at ‘bacon?’ That’s ok, because this pairing idea did too. What’s not to love about a simple side that requires just 2 ingredients (and seasonings you’ve likely already got in your pantry)?
It’s super easy to put together, and super delicious. Plus, if you’re having lots of guests over, it’s easy to serve this as an asparagus appetizer before heading off to dig into the meatloaf and other sides.
Holly at Spend With Pennies makes it easy to create this sublime side to meatloaf. Follow her handy method at: Spend With Pennies
3. Mashed Cauliflower with Butter and Herbs
Do you have kids that just won’t eat their vegetables no matter what you do or how much you plead?
If your child turns his nose up at everything but mashed potatoes or fries and you’re desperate to get them to eat more nutrients, some mashed cauliflower will do the trick.
No kids but looking for a healthier alternative to meatloaf’s typical side kick of mashed potatoes?
You’ll be convinced this is way naughtier for you than it actually is!
Elizabeth at Bowl Of Delicious provides the perfect plan for putting these together. See what she does at: Bowl Of Delicious
4. Potato Soufflé
Ok, so you have potatoes and you’re convinced they’re what to serve with meatloaf. But you’re tired of the same routine.
While everyone loves mashed potatoes, sometimes doing something different is a good thing.
This video by Home Cooking Adventure makes it easy to make an elegant souffle from potatoes for a very comforting dish that adds extra “wow” to your meatloaf side dish presentation.
5. Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
More bacon? Why, don’t mind if we do! In all seriousness, you can leave it off (but whyyyy?) but believe us when we say this recipe will have you dreaming of devouring Brussels sprouts from now on.
Brussels sprouts aren’t always easy to make because they can be easy to overcook and often can be bitter if you’re just winging it.
If you want a sweet meatloaf side that hits all the right notes, follow Mary’r recipe at Sweet Little Bluebird, and your guests will be singing praises! Go to: Sweet Little Bluebird.
6. Rainbow Roasted Veggies
Skittles might claim to have you “taste the rainbow,” but we respectfully decline those artificial fruity flavors in favor of this gorgeous roasted vegetables side.
Arranged in a rainbow on a sheet pan, it features red peppers, carrots, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, and red onion. As a plus, this rainbow can inspire kids to eat better too!
Averie at Averie Cooks really knows how to make something healthy that’s beautiful and delicious too. See her great stuff at: Averie Cooks.
7. Creamed Spinach
Spinach lovers, unite! Creamed spinach is no doubt an absolutely classic homestyle dish. That’s why its so beautiful when it goes with meatloaf.
It’s rich, creamy, cheesy, and best of all, ultra-easy. Who could say no to anything this sensational?
Even the kids will have a hard time turning up their little noses at spinach when it shares a bath with cheese, glorious cheese!
Jessica from The Novice Chef has a truly simple yet absolutely delicious rendition of this classic side. See it all go down on her blog: The Novice Chef.
8. Cheesy Cauliflower Tots
Want another way to sneak cauliflower into your kids or stubborn spouse? Cheesy tots cauliflower style! You’re welcome.
Since they have all that robust flavor of tater tots, they go especially well with your family meatloaf recipe.
One side note…make plenty because these will disappear so fast that if you blink, you’ll miss it!
Lacey from A Sweet Pea Chef shows you just how to make these totally-addictive tot-free tots full of cauliflower and cheese. Visit Lacey at: Sweet Pea Chef.
9. Roasted Carrots with Honey Butter
The natural sweetness of carrots is a beautiful match with honey butter. And you know something else?
Stubborn kids that won’t eat their vegetables will eat every last piece of these. Sweet without being cloying, this simple recipe of roasted carrots mingling with fresh honey and butter will be going, going, gone.
You can get the full recipe from Kate at Cookie and Kate to pair with your master meatloaf tonight!
10. Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges
For an upscale and healthier twist on regular French fries, try serving these baked garlic parmesan potato wedges with your meatloaf.
They’re simple and spectacular. We say, “Yes, please!” Though quite honestly, we can’t decide between either dressing; and are fully supportive of your decision to use both if you can’t choose either!
Plus, this recipe by Tiffany at Crème de la Crumb suggests an optional blue cheese or ranch dressing to serve alongside it as a dip. See her amazingness at: Crème de la Crumb.
11. 15-Minute Mac n’ Cheese
Need more cheese in your life? Who doesn’t? We’re all on board with serving mac n’ cheese alongside meatloaf.
Kids will definitely approve and any self-respecting cheese-loving grownup will too.
Becky from The Cookie Rookie made this fantastic video to show you how to get gooey, delicious mac n’ cheese on the table alongside your meatloaf without having to use that boxed stuff.
12. Creamy Broccoli Salad
Everyone has been to a picnic and had one of those standard broccoli salads that are just ho-hum typical picnic offerings.
This creamy broccoli salad from Chungah at Damn Delicious though takes those nostalgic vibes and aptly pairs it with crunchy raw broccoli, cashews, cheddar cheese, red onions, and dried cranberries, all mixed together with a tangy dressing for the kind of side dish that will have guests begging for the recipe.
Believe us, it hits all the right notes for crunchy, sweet, and salty for a harmonious side that will be bliss next to your meatloaf.
Go see Chungah’s deliciousness come together at: Damn Delicious
13. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
We always see recipes for Hasselback potatoes, so when we saw one using sweet potatoes, we were intrigued.
While they look complicated, they’re actually pretty easy. Cutting the potatoes this way also makes it easier for them to cook more quickly and evenly.
And all those little crevices make for the perfect place for the garlic herb butter used in the recipe to gather.
It’s a sweet and savory side that will do your mama’s meatloaf up just right, plus it has a beautiful presentation that will certainly wow your guests.
Jen over at Carlsbad Cravings shows you how its done so you can get yours perfect and tasty. Visit: Carlsbad Cravings.
14. Crispy Oven-Fried Green Beans
So you want fries you say, but you need to eat more greens? Please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to green beans in fry-form.
Baked in the oven to a sublime crispy texture, these babies are gluten-free. Incidentally, if you struggle to eat green beans, you won’t when you try this crispy oven-fried version.
Who knew green beans could even taste, well, amazing? We must confess it’s not our favorite vegetable but when done up like this, we’ll eat it all. (We may even ignore the meatloaf in favor of these!)
Many thanks to Lisa from Low Carb Yum for posting her oven-fried green bean recipe. See low-carb brilliance at: Low Carb Yum
15. Parmesan Peas and Shallots
Peas are another side that goes well with meatloaf. But simply giving them a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper can grow tiring after a while.
Interestingly, peas are actually legumes, but most people (us included!) treat them like vegetables.
Served this way with the parmesan and shallots, it looks classy and tastes amazing with any style of meatloaf!
Make a more impressive side out of peas with this recipe by Lizzie at It’s A Veg World After All. See her wonderful take over at: It’s A Veg World After All.
Where Did Meatloaf Come From Anyway?
While you wait for your meatloaf to bake, you might want to read over a quick history of this iconic American dish.
As a bonus, you can trot out these fun facts to your family or dinner guests while enjoying your beautiful main dish and any combination of the meatloaf sides detailed above.
Fun Fact #1: Meatloaf started as a smorgasbord of leftovers
And you thought using up leftovers was annoying! Imagine being in the olden days, trying to make use of what little you had to create a meal.
There are numerous theories behind which ancient culture fueled the inspiration for modern meatloaf as we know and love it, though most concede it came from Mediterranean influence.
It was the lumped-up version of shepherd’s pie, designed to use ingredients before they expired.
Fun Fact #2: The first American recipe for meatloaf dates back to the late 1870s
But guess what? That recipe was made for breakfast!
We’re honestly not sure how to feel about that. Meatloaf is awesome, but we’re more down for a traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs.
Fun Fact #3: It became more popular after the meat grinder’s invention
In the olden days, having a meat grinder in the kitchen for your side of beef was as popular as a slow cooker or blender is in our kitchens today.
Once this invention hit the mainstream, making meatloaf became even more trendy.
Fun Fact #4: Meatloaf was a go-to dish during the Great Depression
During the Great Depression, meatloaf was a staple dish in every single American home.
The breadcrumbs. It was easy to stretch the amount of meat you had to ration out for your family when you could supplement it with breadcrumbs and other fillers.
Something tells me, people weren’t as concerned about meatloaf’s side dishes during those times.
Fun Fact #5: Some recipes in the 1950s took meatloaf to an oddball extreme
In the 1950s, Betty Crocker was a household name. Creating recipes with inspiration for every home cook to tweak their own desired meatloaf styles, this somehow inspired Doyne Nickerson to write 365 Ways to Cook Hamburger in 1958 which featured 70 meatloaf recipes.
Some of them were downright absurd.
Smashed bananas and peach halves filled with ketchup are just a couple of the more unusual suggested ingredients for making meatloaf.
What to Serve with Meatloaf: An Enduring American Classic
While everyone has their own version of meatloaf, it has endured for ages as a weekly menu offering in just about every home kitchen.
Because it’s comforting. It’s what your mom made you, and what her mom made her, and her mom’s mom made, and so on. Meatloaf on our dinner plates just makes it taste like home.
One of our favorite sides is split pea soup. If you love this soup as much as we do, then this is a winner!
Hit the road and stop at any diner along the way and you’ll most certainly see meatloaf on the menu.
It won’t taste the same as yours or your moms, but knowing it’s there will make you feel right at home even when you’re miles and miles away.
Have fun with these 15 ideas for what to serve with meatloaf tonight. Pick two, three, four or even more to make depending on how many people you’re feeding. Most of all, enjoy!
What to Serve with Meatloaf
- Potato Fries
- Mashed Cauliflower
- Potato Soufflé
- Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Veggies
- Creamed Spinach
- Cauliflower Tots
- Roasted Carrots
- Potato Wedges
- Mac n’ Cheese
- Broccoli Salad
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Peas & Shallots
- Choose your desired Meatloaf side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Meatloaf side to complete your meal!