Italian Meatball Subs


Note: When I make these, I often prepare and bake the meatballs earlier in the day. To reheat, I place the meatballs in the pot with the simmering sauce and let them warm up together. And since I know someone will ask, the meatballs freeze great. Freeze them, unbaked, on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they can be placed in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Bake them (without thawing first), adding 6-7 minutes to the baking time. Incidentally, they also freeze great after they have been baked. Freeze them in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and reheat them in the simmering sauce until they are warmed through.


For the meatballs:
    • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs or crushed saltines
    • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
To dredge the meatballs:
    • 1 1/2 cups flour in a shallow baking dish
For the sandwiches:
    • 1 recipe French Bread Rolls, shaped into sub rolls and baked according to the recipe
    • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese
For the sauce:
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (this helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together EXCEPT the meat. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes so the breadcrumbs/crackers can soak up the liquid a little bit. Add the meat and mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Form golf ball-sized meatballs and dredge them in the flour until lightly coated. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through.
  3. When the meatballs come out of the oven, let them sit for about 15 minutes. Gently scrape off any fat and place the meatballs in a 9X13-inch baking dish (or similar size). Pour the hot tomato sauce over the meatballs.
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, slice the buns in half. (If desired, lay the buns flat open on a baking sheet and top one side with cheese – toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 400 degrees until the buns are toasted and cheese is melted.) Place 3-4 meatballs on each bun and top with desired amount of sauce. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.
  5. For the sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low. Keep warm until the meatballs are finished baking.

Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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