Lucky Number 10: Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Curry-Tomato Relish

Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Bacon, Cheddar, and Curry-Tomato Relish

Though it’s not fancy, I consider the sandwich one of my favorite categories of food. Still, there’s a subset of the sandwich family that, for me, eclipses even the burger. You can’t talk about sandwiches and not include an appreciation for the grilled cheese sandwich. Or at least I can’t. As the Saveur sandwich issue stated several years back, “Plans falter and empires collapse, the no-fail recipe fails. But you can pretty much take it on faith: Grilled cheese will not disappoint.” In fact, the very first sandwich I ever shared on this blog was a Prosciutto and Red Spinach Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich. Since then there have been 54 sandwiches and this is the tenth grilled cheese sandwich: Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Cheddar, Bacon and Curry-Tomato Relish.

My grilled meatloaf version of a cheese toastie (as the Brits say) is a colossal example of a sandwich that does not disappoint. I was very careful in choosing the ingredients for this sandwich because I really wanted it to be a two-fisted wonder. I chose melted cheese, bacon, leftover meatloaf, and a curried-tomato condiment so flavorful it could double as a pasta sauce. This grilled meatloaf sandwich has a lot going on. So much so that it almost defies the grilled cheese subset to which I’ve assigned it.

Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Cheddar

Which got me thinking. What is a grilled cheese sandwich anyway? It’s a broad category because it can include a simple combination of cheeses oozing out of buttered sourdough, or a more robust panini-style sandwich requiring two hands to rustle. Either way, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich to me, and it remains a favorite. Probably because it was one of the first foods I ever learned to make all on my own. Once mastered, it’s easy to experiment with a grilled cheese sandwich, so I guess I have. New cheeses and new partners. I pretty quickly learned to look beyond Velveeta and try other cheeses. Swiss, mozzarella, gruyere– even brie, they all make a great grilled cheese. But it’s Cheddar that remains my favorite. I guess it has just the right amount of oomph for my palate. And believe me, this grilled meatloaf sandwich deserves a cheese with oomph. GREG

Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Bacon, Cheddar, and Curry-Tomato RelishCurry-Tomato Relish Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Bacon, Cheddar, and Curry-Tomato Relish

Pan Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Cheddar, Bacon, and Curry-Tomato Relish 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2Source Inspired by Tom ColicchioPublished
Pan Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with Cheddar, Bacon, and Curry-Tomato Relish


  • 4 slice Italian country loaf bread
  • 4 slice Cheddar cheese (or to taste)
  • 4 slice cooked bacon
  • 4 slice room temperature cooked meatloaf (or to taste)
  • ½ cup curry-tomato relish (see recipe)


Lay two bread slices on a clean, dry work surface. Place two slices of Cheddar onto one slice of bread, then top with two slices bacon. On the other slice of bread lay two slices of room temperature meatloaf, then top with a dollop or two of the curry-tomato relish. Spread the relish evenly across the meatloaf. Carefully close the sandwich and repeat the process to make a second sandwich. The recipe can be made to this point a few hours in advance, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

When ready to grill, use a pastry brush to generously brush both sides of each sandwich with melted butter. Cover the bread evenly, going all the way to the edges.

Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches to the skillet, cheese side down, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Slide them around in the pan a few times during cooking to ensure even browning. Turn the sandwiches over and repeat. Do not crowd the pan, work in batches in necessary.

Slice on the diagonal and serve the sandwiches warm.

Curry-Tomato Relish

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Published
Curry-Tomato Relish


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion (peeled, halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (plus more if needed)
  • 1 pound small tomatoes (halved, seeded, and roughly chopped)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)


Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook stirring often, until softened and just beginning to color. Add the sugar and curry and cook stirring often, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add tomatoes, water, oregano, and a big pinch each salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and chunky and most of the liquid has evaporated about 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste with salt, pepper and/or more vinegar. Use immediately or store, covered and refrigerated, up to one week.

Traditional “All-American” Meatloaf 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Source Martha Stewart LivingPublished

Be careful not to over-knead the meatloaf ingredients; doing so will result in a heavy and dense loaf. Use a combination of meat for perfect meatloaf: beef for flavor, veal for tenderness and easy slicing, pork for juiciness.


  • 3 slice white bread
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery, strings peeled, cut into ½‑inch pieces
  • ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4½ teaspoon teaspoons dry mustard
  • 8 ounce ground pork
  • 8 ounce ground veal
  • 8 ounce ground round
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more needles for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoon dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ¼ inch-thick rings


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crusts from bread, and place slices in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Do not substitute dried breadcrumbs in this step, as they will make your meatloaf rubbery.

Place carrot, celery, yellow onion, garlic, and parsley in the bowl of the food processor. Process until vegetables have been minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. (Chopping vegetables this way saves time and ensures that vegetables will be small enough to cook through and not be crunchy). Transfer vegetables to bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Add ½ cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, pork, veal, beef, eggs, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and rosemary. Using your hands, knead the ingredients until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. The texture should be wet, but tight enough to hold a free-form shape.

Set a wire baking rack into an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Cut a 5‑by-11-inch piece of parchment paper, and place over center of rack to prevent meatloaf from falling through. Using your hands, form an elongated loaf covering the parchment.

Alternatively, you could put the meat into a loaf pan, but I like the crust that forms all over from this method.

Place the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup, remaining 2 ½ teaspoons mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the glaze over loaf. 

Add oil to a medium saucepan set over high heat. When oil is quite hot, but not yet smoking, add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and golden in places. Add 3 tablespoons water, and cook, stirring, until most of the water has evaporated. The onions should be jammy. Transfer them to a bowl to cool slightly, then sprinkle onion over the meatloaf (this step is optional).

Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes, then sprinkle rosemary needles on top. Continue baking loaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees; about 25 minutes more. Let meatloaf cool on rack, 15 minutes.