The Italian meatloaf is that type of dish that will not feel too sophisticated, but it will bring back some good memories.
It has a homey and comforting taste, especially if done by the book and enhanced with the right aromas.
It is usually based on ground beef and sausage, but there are more varieties out there – choose something with your guests’ preferences in mind.
Now, figuring out what to serve with Italian meatloaf could be a bit challenging.
But if you think about it, you have a big piece of meat – things that work with meat will work with this meatloaf too.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Italian Meatloaf?
The Italian meatloaf is too meaty to be eaten alone.
Sure, you may come back from work one evening and have a big piece by itself – it will not cause any nausea.
But lots of people are more sensitive than that and will find it heavy.
This is the main reason wherefore you need a side dish to enhance the recipe, but also to make it lighter.
On the other hand, imagine having some important guests – you cannot put out a large meatloaf by itself.
Everyone will be there waiting for the side dish – it simply makes sense.
What to Serve with Italian Meatloaf? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some great ideas when not sure what to serve with Italian meatloaf.
1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Meat and potatoes – can you ever go wrong with this combo? Exactly.
Whether you opt for classic or sweet potatoes, this combo will not disappoint.
Roasted sweet potatoes are fulfilling and consistent, but they will also annihilate the heavy profile of too much meat.
This type of combo requires the right spices and condiments, though – stick to sriracha and lime, for example.
It is a refreshing side dish, but you need to make sure your guests actually like sweet potatoes.
2. Whole Roasted Carrots
Carrots – as well as other types of veggies – will ease the heavy profile of an Italian meatloaf.
If you want more than just a plain salad, consider roasting the carrots.
They will feel a bit softer, but they will manage to maintain their crunchy texture – excellent for the soft Italian meatloaf.
You can enhance this dish with some red onions and herbs, but do not exaggerate.
The veggie will be light, while its slightly sweet aroma will complement the meaty combination in the meatloaf.
Plus, roasting carrots is a matter of minutes only.
3. Sweet and Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Combining sweet and salty is not recommended to the less experienced, but this combo is great for everyone.
Brussels sprouts are slightly salty, while a bit of maple syrup will give them a nice sweet profile.
The side dish works well with a bit of mustard, too, mostly for spiciness.
Bottom line, you have crispy sprouts, a mix of sweet and salty, and a unique combination of textures – after all, the Italian meatloaf is quite soft.
This is the type of dish you would normally get in a posh restaurant, so it will most likely impress your guests.
4. Grilled Halloumi wth Herbs
Halloumi is extremely common in Mediterranean cuisine.
The unique type of cheese works with most types of meat, and the Italian meatloaf makes no exception either.
Grilling it will make it look better with those unique lines on it.
As for aromas, it is full of flavor and extremely salty, so make sure the Italian meatloaf is plain.
Herbs will give cheese a refreshing aroma – after all, halloumi and meat might feel a bit too heavy for some people.
On a negative side note, you will need something to keep your guests hydrated – the cheese is extremely salty.
5. Grilled Potatoes and Figs
This is another great idea when trying to mix sweet and salty in a fancy manner.
To keep it simple, this is a potato salad – however, unlike classic potato salad, it should not be swimming in mayo.
Figs are sweet and tangy. Potato has a hearty aroma. The combo complements the Italian meatloaf.
Besides, while potatoes and meat feel a bit heavy, the figs in this side dish will make the combo feel light and comfortable.
Garnishing with a few leaves will make the side dish even more refreshing and sophisticated.
6. Ricotta Tarts and Asparagus
Asparagus has started gaining popularity lately, mostly because of its unique aroma.
It can be prepared in a bunch of different ways.
At the end of the day, it is a veggie, so it will make your Italian meatloaf feel lighter and more refreshing.
Now, meat also works well with bread, so ricotta tarts can absorb some of the juices.
To make everything look more sophisticated, asparagus goes on top of these tarts when cooking them.
The side dish is not too common, so chances are you will impress your audience with its taste and flavor.
7. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
This simple side dish is not very fulfilling, meaning you can enjoy more Italian meatloaf – no bread in there, so you are less likely to feel full straight away.
Instead, it brings in an extra type of meat – the bacon.
Assuming you used the classic recipe for the Italian meatloaf, this side dish will enhance the taste and make it feel stronger.
Now, since too much meat can be heavy, asparagus kicks in to add a refreshing aroma.
Asparagus is also a bit crispy – just like the bacon wrapping it.
The side dish is not great for its taste only, but also for how it feels when you combine it with the Italian meatloaf.
In the end, you do not have to be an expert to figure out what to serve with Italian meatloaf.
If you think about it, you have plenty of meat, so figure out what works with meat and bring it in.
The above-mentioned dishes work so well because they complement and enhance the Italian meatloaf taste, but they also add a refreshing aroma.
Some of them look super sophisticated too, which is even better if you have important guests.