Meatloaf Sandwiches with Pickled Onions and Green Onion Aioli


In middle school, I was sent home with an assignment from my Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) class: to cook my family a full dinner and report back. The meal had to include an entree and two sides, all of which were cooked from scratch– so no squeaking by with pasta with jarred tomato sauce!.  After much deliberation (yes, I’m one of the most indecisive people ever), I decided to make meatloaf my entree.

My mom pulled out her Betty Crocker cookbook and showed me the recipe she always used.  She wasn’t allowed to physically help me, but she stood next to me, telling me me that the oats and egg would help hold everything together, and encouraging me to squish the ground beef between my fingers to mix everything together.

As far as I can remember, the meatloaf and whatever sides I made came out well.  Clearly, the side dishes weren’t particularly memorable, because I have no idea what I made.

I forgot about this experience until I was making meatloaf last week.  Dan had been requesting meatloaf for weeks, ever since we had meatloaf sandwiches at a local restaurant. As I mixed the ingredients together, I was hit by a bit of deja vu, sending me back to my middle school days and leaving me feeling like I should go jump on AOL Instant Messenger while the meatloaf cooked.


Meatloaf Sandwiches with Pickled Onions and Aioli

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Meatloaf Sandwiches with Pickled Onions and Aioli

It is easier to cut meatloaf into firm slices when it is cold, making this the perfect dinner-lunch combo. Serve the meatloaf with your favorite vegetable side and some mashed potatoes one evening, and then use the leftovers for sandwiches at lunch the next day.


    For the meatloaf:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • For the pickled onions:
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the aioli:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (green or white parts)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • For the sandwich assembly:
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh arugula


    For the meatloaf:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Warm the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and just barely beginning to brown.
  3. While you wait for the vegetables to cook, crush the oats in a food processor or blender, or by putting the oats in a plastic bag and break them up with a rolling pin. The pieces of oats should be the size of coarse bread crumbs. Mix the oats with the eggs, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt, and allow them to rest for a few minutes, so that the oats absorb some of the moisture from the eggs.
  4. Mix the vegetables, sausage and beef into the oats. You may need to get in there and mix things up with your hands. When everything is well blended, press the meat into the prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 350F for one hour, at which point the edges should have pulled away from the side of the pan. Serve warm. Cover and refrigerate the leftovers, and use the leftover meatloaf for sandwiches tomorrow!
  6. For the onions:
  7. Combine the onions, vinegar, sugar and salt in a glass container or Mason jar. Shake well and allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour. If you need to store these overnight, or you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator.
  8. For the aioli:
  9. Line a medium mixing bowl with a clean dish towel, and nestle a smaller bowl into the towel. This will keep the bowl from spinning too much as you whisk the aioli.
  10. Whisk the egg yolks and garlic together. Then, whisking continuously, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. If you start to see oil pooling on the top or sides of the aioli, stop adding oil for a moment and whisk until the aioli is blended and smooth again. Stir in the green onions, and season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and lemon juice.
  11. To assemble:
  12. Spread a thin layer of aioli on two slices of bread. Place a slice of meatloaf on top of the one of the slices, and add some pickled onions and a few slices of arugula. Put the second piece of bread on top and serve.