I was thrilled by how easy it was to make authentic tasting meatball subs, and my whole family enjoyed these hot sandwiches in various forms.  Celia ate everything separately, while Solomon had fun trying to fit the whole sandwich in his mouth.  And Andrew was happy to devour one of his favorite childhood meals.

The beauty of these sandwiches is that you can customize them for your family, like using vegetarian meatballs and whole wheat rolls, skipping the cheese for those who can’t eat dairy, or making your own meatballs from scratch (recipe below). To make them a little spicier, sprinkle the baked sandwiches with crushed red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco.

Using vegetarian meatballs, rather than traditional meatballs, reduces the calories per sandwich by about 130, cuts the sodium by about 200 mg. and cuts the total fat and saturated fat by more than half!  (When I first made them my family had no idea the meatballs in their sandwiches were meatless.)

We also love grilled cheese, hot Reubens, and black bean burgers. What is your favorite hot sandwich to make for your family?

Recipe: Hot Meatball Subs

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 20 min(s)
  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 6

Meatballs meet sandwiches in this vegetarian-optional recipe.


    • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half rings
    • 1 large green or red bell pepper, sliced
    • 26 oz. red pasta sauce or tomato sauce
    • 1 lb. frozen cooked meatballs, meatless or regular, or see directions below to make fresh meatballs
    • 6 small (about 6 inches) oblong French bread sandwich rolls
    • 4 oz. sliced or shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese


    • Preheat the broiler. Line a baking pan with foil. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and soft, 15-20 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the sauce over medium to medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and simmer them for 10 - 15 minutes. (Start the carrots, if you are serving them.)
    • Carefully cut along the length of each sandwich roll, trying to avoid slicing all the way through so the halves remain attached. Put several cooked meatballs and some sauce inside each roll and top them with onions, peppers and cheese. Put the sandwiches on the baking tray, with the fillings facing up, and broil them for 2 - 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the rolls are slightly browned. Serve them hot.

    **To make fresh meatballs: Combine 1 lb. ground beef or turkey, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Form it into 1-inch meatballs. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs, turning frequently, until they are browned on all sides, 5-8 minutes.

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2 Responses to “Hot Meatball Subs”

  1. michele

    We love meatball subs too. I was wondering how you made them meatless, is there a recipe? Another hot sandwich we love is Chicken or Turkey with the essence (hot juices) from the bird. I guess it’s like a Reuben or my father in-law calls it a Dagwood. Our Children like to put different extras on them, lettuce, carmelized onion, roasted tomatoes, or just plain. I warm up the bread too on a griddle. Yum.

    • Aviva Goldfarb Aviva Goldfarb

      Love your sandwich idea, Michelle! To make these meatless I buy premade frozen vegetarian meatballs which are actually really tasty and work great as a substitute for regular meatballs in many recipes. Hope you enjoy!