Meatloaf: Perfect for Picnics?

Yes, you heard correctly, I said, meatloaf is perfect for picnics. Picnic subs, that is. Meatloaf is often thought of as comfort food–something to eat with mashed potatoes and gravy when the weather is cold and a hearty meal is in order, but it can also be part of a summer menu as well. When served as a sandwich filler in addition to some other yummy toppings and sides, meatloaf makes a great picnic dish.  This recipe makes two loaves, and can be prepared either in loaf pans or free-form on a cookie sheet. (I know that most people don’t have loaf pans they use for meat meals.)

Once the loaves are cool, slice them up and serve them inside crusty Italian rolls. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado,  some pickled veggies (giardiniera)…the possibilities are endless. A vinegar-based potato salad and a sweet and spicy Thai Cucumber Salad are two great sides to add to your picnic basket.

Mindy Trotta, a Cantabrigian (from Cambridge, MA), by way of New York and Los Angeles, grew up in a kosher home. She is the pastry chef and owner of Flour Girl Desserts and blogs at


Red Pepper Relish

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced

1 cup diced tomatoes (or 1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped)

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup tomato ketchup

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks by hand

1/4 cup almond milk

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

1 pound ground beef

2 eggs

Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 packet onion soup mix

1 cup tomato sauce



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for a few minutes to create a base flavor. Throw in the red peppers and cook mixture until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook without allowing them to disintegrate totally. Stir in the parsley, ketchup, and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the relish for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat; you should have about 4 cups of relish.

Place the torn white bread in a bowl and add the almond milk to just barely cover. Allow the bread to soak in the milk while you get the rest of the ingredients for the meatloaf together.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and turkey with the red pepper relish, the eggs, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the soaked bread to the meat mixture.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Divide the meat mixture in half and place each half on opposite sides of the cookie sheet. Form meat into two logs about 9 inches long and about 4 inches wide. Mix the tomato sauce with the dry onion soup mix and coat the tops of the loaves with the mixture.  Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the loaves are firm.  Remove them from the oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing.  Unbelievably moist!

Note: The meatloaf can be frozen for later use. Wrap completely cooled loaves in foil and place in freezer bags. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and allow to defrost in refrigerator. Reheat in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes.

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