Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

By Jodee Weiland

When my children were younger, I was always trying to find ways to make dinner more interesting to them.  One of the things I tried was making my meatloaf like a jelly roll cake putting cheese and broccoli in the center.  I even tried calling it cheeseburger meatloaf.

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It worked out pretty well and is the inspiration for my newest recipe.  In this Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce, I’ve taken my recipe to a whole new level. This recipe is, without a doubt, the tastiest meatloaf I have ever made.  Here at home, it got rave reviews from my husband!

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Instead of broccoli, I chose to combine mozzarella and spinach for the center of my Italian Meatloaf recipe.  To finish it off, I made a tomato basil sauce from fresh garden tomatoes.  Also from my garden, I used fresh basil and parsley in the meatloaf mix.  I love using fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden, so with the season winding down, I am looking for recipes that make the most of my garden.  When you taste this recipe, you will want to make it over and over again.

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Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

For the Italian Meatloaf

2 to 2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
2 eggs ( I use egg whites)
2 cloves garlic chopped or 1 teaspoon minced garlic more or less to taste
1 medium onion chopped or 1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
2 tablespoons snipped and chopped parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced and chopped or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red cayenne (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup grated imported Pecorino Romano cheese ( more or less to taste/ no salt needed since the cheese adds saltiness)
3 or more slices of mozzarella
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare meatloaf pan by coating with olive oil.

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Add egg whites to the ground sirloin first, then the imported Pecorino Romano cheese. Blend together. Then add the remaining ingredients. When well blended together, put the meat mixture on a large piece of heavy aluminum foil.  Flatten the meat out a little longer than your pan and wide enough to fold over at least once from each side.

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Once flattened out in a rectangle, first put the mozzarella slices across the middle and then top that with your spinach leaves.  Remember the spinach will cook down quite a bit.  Using the foil to lift the meat, fold over one side at a time, covering the spinach and mozzarella.

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Once folded over, shape your meat into your loaf making sure you fold in the ends of the loaf as well.  Form the meat into a loaf size meatloaf.  It should fit right into a loaf pan. I always spray my pan with olive oil before putting in the meatloaf. I use a loaf pan with an insert that can be lifted out after cooking, so that any juices from the meat can drain to the bottom, rather than have my meatloaf sit in them. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-55 minutes. Check meat to make sure it is done how you prefer it.

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While this is cooking, prepare your Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce to pour over the meat loaf when done cooking and ready to serve.

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For Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 to 6 fresh medium to large tomatoes cut into pieces
1 to 2 cloves garlic chopped
4 fresh basil leaves sliced and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar or 1 finely grated carrot (I use sugar, but some people prefer using a carrot)

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Put the olive oil, garlic, and basil into a sauce pan over a low heat.  Add tomatoes and sugar, cooking over a medium heat covered, but stirring occasionally.  Once the tomatoes cook down enough, cool slightly and put the sauce in a food processor to puree.  Using the pulse button, gently puree without doing so completely.  You want some texture left on your sauce from the tomatoes. Put the sauce back into the sauce pan and simmer over a low heat uncovered to the desired consistency.

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When the Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce is done cooking put the meatloaf on a serving platter and pour some of the Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce over the top, reserving enough to pour over individual servings.  Serve this meal with a salad, a crusty loaf of bread, and a red wine for dinner.  Your family will love it.  The flavors of the meatloaf with the spinach and mozzarella, then topped with the fresh tomato basil sauce are outstanding.  I know if you try it, you’re going to love it, so enjoy!

22 thoughts on “Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

  1. Used almost all of our tomatoes yesterday in Fresh Tomato soup and tomorrow the rest will go into tomato salad for our grandson’s 8th b-day party. Oh, dear! Then I have to start BUYING tomatoes??? That’s ok. Many of our tomatoes went to our darling neighbors. Burly was recently diagnosed with cancer so our garden is THEIR garden and they have been using the bounty. This pleases us very much.

    • Fortunately, tomatoes are easy to come by year round. Love our garden tomatoes, but I’ll be shopping for them in a while, too. Nice of you to share with your neighbor!

  2. This recipe looks so delicious! Of course, Italian food is my favorite. I have no business drooling over these photos when I haven’t had lunch yet.

    You look like an awesome cook!
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    • Thanks, Dana! This recipe is so delicious and adaptable as well. You can easily roll in any cheese and vegetable of your choice, as I did when my children were younger. Hope you have a good lunch, and thanks for stopping by to chat!

    • Thanks, Julie! We love this recipe, and it is definitely enticing. Hope your husband likes it! I know my husband loves it. Thanks for stopping by to chat!

  3. Jodee I made your meatloaf for sunday dinner and it was a hit!
    I made a nice big loaf and even after 2nds there was enough for lunch.
    It was very juicy and flavorful.
    I slightly modified by using 1# 93/7 ground beef, 1# Ground pork and a 1/2# minced lamb. Thank you for posting such a delicious recipe!

    • Thanks for letting me know, Jackie! I know it’s always a hit here, but it’s great to hear someone else had the same results. It really is delicious, and you are most welcome for the recipe. The varied meat selection sounds great as well. Thanks for stopping by to chat with me and to let me know how it turned out for you!

    • Thanks, Susan! I bought the loaf pan with an insert at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. If you google it, you can see where it is near you. Thanks for stopping by to visit and chat with me!

    • Thank you! We love this recipe in our home. I’ve made it this way and with other cheeses and vegetables as well. Thanks for stopping by to visit and chat with me…and for hosting such a great link party!

    • Thanks, Christie! We love this recipe. Also, I have enjoyed participating in your link party. Thanks for stopping by to visit and chat with me!

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