Whether for family dinners, parties or potluck events, meatball sandwiches are always a hit and even the pickiest eaters love them. This recipe comes together in just under an hour and makes a great weeknight meal. You can make them even faster if you make the meatballs in advance. All you have to do then is warm them in the sauce, assemble the sandwiches and place them under the grill for a few minutes. It couldn't be easier!
The delicious baked meatballs are the star of this dish. They're made with ground beef and sweet or spicy Italian sausage, while Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and Italian seasoning perfectly balance the flavor.
Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce only takes a few minutes to make, and you can speed up the process even further by using a jar of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce. Although homemade meatballs are hard to beat for texture and flavor, feel free to substitute them with good quality pre-made meatballs. Provolone cheese is a good substitute for mozzarella. Alternatively, you can skip the sandwiches and finish them off with fresh Parmesan cheese.
For bread, hoagie rolls, sub rolls, or baguettes cut into bun sizes are excellent choices. When the bread is thick and reasonably firm, hollow it out slightly to make room for the meatballs. Too much bread can overwhelm the delicious meatballs and sauce.
“They taste like they came from a sub shop, the recipe makes great meatball subs. The flavor of both the sauce and the meatballs are excellent and they are so easy that I will use them in pasta dishes as well. “Super filling, probably one sub per person is enough.” -Colleen Graham
Gather the ingredients.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Place a rack in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Form the meat mixture into 18 equal-sized meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the rack.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and reaching 165 F on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 35 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the meatballs to the sauce and toss to coat. Set the oven to broil.
To assemble sandwiches, place hoagie rolls on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place 3 meatballs in each hoagie roll.
Top with sauce as desired and reserve some for the table if necessary. Divide the cheese evenly between the sandwiches.
Cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately with additional sauce on the side, if desired.
- The recipe makes fairly large meatballs, about 1.5 inches in diameter. Weighing the meat ensures that all the pieces are approximately the same size. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can use a medium-sized cookie or ice cream scoop.
- Homemade meatballs are the best choice for sandwiches, but if you're short on time, you can also use a high-quality frozen meatball.
- You can prepare and bake the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Put together a meatball sandwich buffet for a game day gathering or make meatball monster sandwiches for a Halloween party. Serve the meatballs and sauce from a chafing dish or slow cooker and encourage everyone to make their own. As a side dish, offer cheese and garnishes such as fresh basil, thinly sliced onions, ripe olives and thinly sliced peppers.
- Make an extra batch of meatballs and store them in the freezer to use for a future meal.
- Instead of Italian sausage, use 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork or ground veal.
- Replace ground beef and sausage with ground turkey.
- Substitute for French or Italian bread, cut into bun-sized pieces.
Here's how to store and freeze it
- Place leftover meatballs in the refrigerator within 2 hours and consume within 3 days.
- To freeze the meatballs and sauce, place them in a freezer container (or several small containers for individual portions) and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the meatballs reach 165 F.
- Use leftover meatballs with their sauce in sandwiches or serve with pasta.
|Nutritional Information (per serving)|
View full nutrition label
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 13g||64%|
|Total sugar 8g|
|Vitamin C 13 mg||65%|
|Calcium 349 mg||27%|
|Iron 8 mg||46%|
|Potassium 1019 mg||22%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food portion contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)