Italian Meatloaf with Fresh Basil, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Provolone

This is meatloaf like your mother never made. I really hated meatloaf until I came upon a recipe in Cooking Light from August, 2000. Yes, I’ve adapted and made this recipe for that many years. It’s that good. It also makes the most phenomenal meatloaf sandwiches.

Meatloaf With Fresh Basil, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Provolone
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a broiler pan with cooking spray.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix and shape into a loaf. Spread a thin layer of ketchup over the entire loaf.

  3. Bake for 1 hour or until an instant thermometer registers 160°F. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

During all those years of meatloaf making, I also discovered how to craft them into works of art. No kidding, apparently I can’t help playing with my food. I’ve gotten a little crazy with my meatloaves. What does that mean? Here are some examples:


Maybe there’s an event your participating in and want to show your excitement and support. What better way then with a meatloaf?




Or, perhaps someone came to visit and you had a great adventure touring a historical monument. This is my ode to the Battleship North Carolina.




Then, there was the time a friend gave me a pound of ground meat. I used it to sculpt his portrait. Mashed potato hair! I had to use M&Ms to replicate his blue eyes.






How’s this for the best “get well” card ever? Mashed potatoes, slices of cheese and crumbled bacon made this extra delicious.






When you’re visiting your parents and they live in another state, make them a state-shaped meatloaf for dinner!





To commemorate the Last Supper, use sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, red onions, and sugar snap peas to turn your meatloaf into a complete meal.



Dinner is always exciting at my house. Happy eating!




Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #wistfullywarped.



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Meatloaf Time! (NSFV)*

*WARNING: This blog post is NSFV (Not Safe For Vegetarians)

Food is just another medium for artistic expression – be it cupcakes or meatloaves.  The cupcakes had to take a short hiatus due to a brush with a parent’s mortality.  (Although I did manage to create a cupcake during this time – after all,  it was our 4th of July/Free from the Hospital celebration!)

No matter what the food project is – my credo is that it must taste as good as it looks and everything must be edible. That being said, here’s the recipe for my meatloaf. . .

ITALIAN MEAT LOAF WITH FRESH BASIL AND PROVOLONE  (from Cooking Light August 2000.  I’m an excellent cook – I’ve never claimed to being a chef!)




  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound ground round
  •  cooking spray
  • Additional ingredients depending on the project (see below)


Combine boiling water and dried tomatoes in a bowl, let stand for at least 30 minutes (until soft).  Drain tomatoes and finely chop.

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, breadcrumbs, and the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add tomatoes to meat mixture.  Shape meat mixture on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.   Brush the meatloaf with a thin layer of ketchup (skim).

Now it gets exciting!  Here’s where you need additional ingredients and they will depend upon the project.  I use various mustard, barbeque sauces and even salad dressings for their differing colors.  Herbs and vegetables add color and create different textures.  Mashed potatoes (use the “instant” kind) are a way to provide color and texture and taste great (think twice baked potato!)

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until an instant thermometer registers 160F.

Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Want some inspiration?  Here’s a few . . .

The turkey was skimmed with a layer of ketchup.  Detailed with barbeque sauce and two different mustards with thinly sliced onion for additional definition.

Was visiting my parents in Kentucky, so had to make a meatloaf to celebrate that!  The meatloaf was skimmed with ketchup and outlined with yellow mustard.  The rivers were outlined with salad dressing.

And who doesn’t have a friend who collects photos of “feral toilets” – you know, toilets that have been released into the wild?  I’m sure a coffee table book is in the works for him.  Scoured the area, drove to Chicago from North Carolina and *sigh* found no feral toilet.  This was the best I could do. Barbeque sauce and yellow mustard created the details for this one – with a raisin for the handle. (And DID eventually find a feral toilet – down the street from my parent’s house in Kentucky. Go figure.)

Had to make a special meatloaf for Valentine’s Day. However, since I’m not your average kinda woman, my heart was “different”.  Apparently this looked really good because when I texted the photo to a friend, his response was, “Oh, no – what did you do?”

My homage to Holy Week was create the Last Supper – I went through the frig and pulled out various veggies and sauces of differing colors.  Sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, red onions, sugar snap peas, ketchup, barbeque sauces and mustards.  This was a total meal in one!

And if you give me a pound of ground meat, you should know I’ll make something special out of it for you.  His mashed potato hair was delicious!  Used M&M’s to achieve the blue of his eyes.

Sometimes there is an event you are participating in and want to celebrate it.  What better way then with a meat loaf?

Or maybe someone has come to visit and it was a great adventure to tour a historical monument?  This was my ode to the Battleship North Carolina.  I used pine nuts and herbs to add detail to this one.

Let’s combine cupcakes and meatloaf to make the best “get well” card ever.  Mashed potatoes, slices of cheese, crumbled bacon. . .

Somewhere around the world, I’m sure it’s almost Meatloaf Time.  What will yours look like?

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