Leftover Meatloaf: How To Blacken it and Serve with Tomato Gravy

Sneak Preview: Make this leftover meatloaf by “blackening” sliced, cooked meatloaf to create a memorable entree. Serve with Microwaved Tomato Gravy and mashed potatoes or rice on the side, or enjoy this Cajun version of a meatloaf sandwich.

blackened meatloaf sandwich on a plate--ready to eatPin
Feast your eyes on this blackened meatloaf burger. Wouldn’t this be good with some guacamole?

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Do you get tired of leftovers? Billy and I are in the “empty nest” stage. If you are recently there yourself, you know it has several implications.

We don’t have hungry boys around the house to help us eat food experiments. Consequently, creativity is a must with leftovers.  I don’t want my husband to feel abused. So whether I have leftover cornbread, rotisserie chicken, brisket, meatloaf, chocolate chip cookies, or yogurt whey, I’ve got a recipe to repurpose it.

Why this is one of the best leftover meatloaf recipes:

  • Add variety to your menu; don’t eat the same meatloaf for days.
  • Blacken the meatloaf in minutes; make tomato gravy in seven minutes.
  • Make leftover meatloaf sandwiches. To go with them, make these white bread hamburger buns with your bread machine or these 7-grain buns for more fiber.
  • Making one, two, or three servings is easy.
  • The other ingredients are probably in your pantry if the meatloaf is made.
  • Use your favorite recipe for meatloaf–vegetarian, turkey, beef, or any combination.
  • Try serving fried or poached eggs on top of blackened meatloaf.
  • There is nothing to bake, so you don’t have to turn on the oven–especially nice in the summer.
  • Blacken enough meatloaf to make meatloaf tacos the next day. Crumble the blackened meatloaf into a flour tortilla, then top with tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese.

Ingredients and substitutions:


  • Leftover meatloaf: Use your favorite meatloaf recipe. It can be made with turkey, ground beef, ground pork, or any combination.
  • Blackening spice mix: Often known as Cajun seasoning, every mix will differ. Like chili or curry, every company has its secret formula. If one is too spicy or mild for you, try another.

Tomato Gravy

  • Tomatoes: I use canned, diced tomatoes.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is best for gravy. Bleached or unbleached: it doesn’t matter.
  • Sugar: A touch of granulated sugar counterbalances the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Salt: You don’t need a lot of salt since most canned tomatoes come loaded with sodium.
  • Vinegar: Apple, white, or balsamic vinegar adds the zing the gravy needs.
  • Worcestershire sauce: I use this in so many recipes. It adds a fullness of flavor–often called umami.
  • Mustard: You only need a small amount of prepared mustard.
  • Butter: Butter smooths out the texture and contributes richness.

How to use leftover meatloaf to make blackened meatloaf slices:

FIRST: Chill leftover meatloaf. It makes it easier to handle.

SECOND: Wrap individual slices with plastic wrap before tossing them into a big zippered plastic bag to freeze. Now it’s easy to grab however many pieces I need. 

Any meatloaf will work if it doesn’t fall apart when sliced.

THIRD: Sprinkle blackening or Cajun seasoning of your choice onto each side of your slice of meatloaf.

FOURTH: Drop each piece into a scorching hot iron skillet or heavy flat pan to blacken. Do not add oil or fat of any kind. When the bottom of the meatloaf starts to blacken, flip to the reverse side and let it blacken, also.

How to make tomato gravy with a microwave:

tomato juice in a 1 qt pyrex measuring cup.drained from canned tomatoesPin
Drain juice from tomatoes into a 1 or 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or dish and set aside tomato solids still in the can.
adding flour to tomato juice.Pin
Add flour to the tomato juice.
whisking flour and spices into gravy
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk the mixture until there are no more lumps.
Before cooking the gravy--whisk in tomatoesPin
Add the canned tomatoes. Microwave on HIGH power for 5 minutes until thickened, stopping to stir 2-3 times.
Adding butter to cooked tomato gravyPin
Add butter and stir until melted.
Thickened tomato gravy in a serving bowl.Pin
In fewer than 7 minutes, you can prepare tomato gravy from scratch using a microwave.
smooth tomato gravyPin
If you would prefer smooth gravy, use an immersion blender to blend out the lumps. Or you could start with crusted or pureed tomatoes to end up with a smoother sauce.

Tomato Gravy is a delightful condiment for leftover meatloaf, before or after you blacken it.

blackened meat loaf on top of mashed potatoes with tomato gravyPin
Although delicious with barbecue sauce, I love to serve blackened meatloaf slices with tomato gravy, especially if I have mashed potatoes to eat with it. 

FAQ’s about leftover meatloaf:

How long is leftover meatloaf good for?

Store cooked meatloaf in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. I prefer to slice mine into individual servings, double-wrap it, and freeze it. Eat within 3-4 months.

Should I defrost cooked meatloaf before blackening it?

Yes. The blackening process happens quickly, so it’s better that your meatloaf is not icy in the middle, or it won’t get warm enough. Thawing in the microwave is a good way to defrost meatloaf so it won’t dry out.

Do you have a good meatloaf recipe?

I don’t currently have one posted on this website. This meatloaf recipe from USA Pans makes a large loaf that yields plenty of leftovers for us. It contains onions, bell peppers, ketchup, dried bread crumbs, and parsley.

Parting thoughts: Can you tell I love my microwave? So many people use it only to heat leftovers. What a waste! If you cook in small amounts as I do, it’s a time saver for sure. I hope you’ll try making this tomato gravy. The technique is similar to making a cream pie filling in the microwave. No double boiler, constant stirring, or lumps.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! 


Blackened Leftover Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

Paula Rhodes
Blackened Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy–A Leftover Makeover uses leftover meatloaf to make a sandwich. Alternatively, serve with mashed potatoes.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Beef
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 19 kcal



Blackened Meatloaf

  • 1/2 to 1-inch thick-sliced leftover meatloaf - slice when chilled
  • Blackening Spice Mix or your favorite Cajun rub

Tomato Gravy

  • 1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea or table salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter - optional


Blackened Meatloaf

  • Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Turn on the exhaust vent.
  • Sprinkle blackening seasoning over each slice of meatloaf and press into the meat with fingers to help it stick.
  • When the skillet starts to smoke, lay a slice of meatloaf into the skillet and allow it to blacken. Since meatloaf is already cooked, this won't take long. Then, flip the pieces to blacken on the other side. Serve immediately.

Tomato Gravy

  • Drain juice from tomatoes into a 1 or 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or dish and set aside tomato solids still in the can.
  • Whisk flour into tomato juice until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and whisk well. Add tomato solids and stir.
  • Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes until thickened, stopping to stir 2-3 times. Stir in butter until melted.
  • At this point, your gravy will be lumpy with diced tomatoes. If you prefer a smoother gravy, use an immersion blender until the sauce is the consistency you like. Or you could start with crushed or pureed tomatoes instead of diced ones for a smoother sauce from the beginning.


The nutritionals are for the tomato gravy only.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword microwave gravy, tomato gravy, Cajun seasoning, leftover meatloaf
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Recipe Rating


  1. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Oh my God, you did the impossible! You made meat loaf look delicious to me! You are officially a Rock Star.

  2. I still have a teenage son at home, so I have never had left over meat loaf! This looks so delicious I feel that I should make a “left over” meat loaf just for this.

  3. UrMomCooks says:

    This is a great idea for leftover meatloaf! We usually make meatloaf sandwiches and this idea takes it to a level worthy of dinner! It is just my husband and me at our house these days too – I laughed when I saw your comment about not wanting to cheat him out of a nice meal! But so true that there are usually way too many leftovers… My college children are nearby so I try to load them up with containers of food, but we have also been known to eat the same thing 3 nites in a row!!! (Sorry I have no brilliant ideas for leftover meatloaf…wish I did, cuz I will definitely be using your idea! Thanx!)

  4. So behind on commenting (so sorry)! My mom would love this – she only makes meatloaf. That’s it. Once a year. 🙂 What a great leftover idea, and so tasty-looking too!! I’ll have to print this and show her!

    1. Very interesting article Sarah. Especially the banana meatloaf.

  5. what a wonderful idea!! makes me want to go make some meatloaf just so i can try this 🙂

    1. Jaime, I’ve been known to do that myself.

  6. Weber Grill Recipes says:

    Delicious meatloaf recipes!
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. The tomato gravy is such an inspiration. I can’t wait to try it.

  8. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    Meat loaf sandwiches are my favorite way to eat meatloaf. I like them better than the meatloaf itself. Your meatloaf looks delicious!

    1. I think I do too, Betty. Not quite so rich.

  9. OMG that is amazing i have always made too much meatloaf and feel so bad to throw it away i think my family is going to love this sandwich you are a meatloaf EINSTIEN!

  10. Ralph Thompson says:

    great post thanks

  11. Joy Brown says:

    Dear Paula, a few years bI believe you posted a beautiful simple LEMON CURD. That delicious. Was it you please tell me true.
    Thank you in advance weather it was you or not. I have learned much from this site.
    Thank you Sincerely, a Joy Brown

  12. Well, you just answered my sandwich filling question I asked only a moment ago! Not that we have a lot of leftovers with a teenager in the house. But this sounds really great. Will try it the next time we have meatloaf next week. Thanks.