Turkey Meatball Sub

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I kind of have a thing for sandwiches. I especially have a thing for hot, meatball sub sandwiches drenched in tomato sauce and blanketed in melted provolone. The kind of sandwich where you have to tie your hair back, lift your elbows and lean over the plate while you eat it. Bonus points if there’s so much sauce you’re better off devouring it over the sink.


Jay and I love these sandwiches and this recipe has earned a permanent spot in our dinner rotations. These meatball subs usually go hand in hand with weeknights spent side by side on the couch in front of the TV because we’re probably better off not facing each other at the table while we eat these sauce-drenched sandwiches, lest we lose a little respect for one another.


Don’t let the fact that these meatball subs are made with turkey fool you. These sandwiches are packed with rich bold flavors thanks to an impossibly easy yet incredibly savory tomato sauce.


The meatballs spend a little time in the oven then finish cooking in the sauce resulting in moist meatballs that fall apart when you bite into them. Turkey is such a great base for these meatballs, too. It takes on all the flavors of the fennel, oregano, and rosemary seasoning used in the meatballs themselves and the sauce.

You could serve the meatballs over pasta, but we like to nestle them into a ciabatta loaf, cover them with provolone and parmesan, and bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden.


Turkey Meatball Sub

For the Meatballs

  • 1 Lb Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, grated
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Rosemary
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 28 Oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Brown Sugar

For the Subs

  • 1 French or Ciabatta Loaf, cut into quarters
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a large pan. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs. Using your hands or a 2 tablespoon scoop, form the dough into balls and place on the pan. Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, add the olive oil to a large pan over medium heat and cook the onions until transparent. Add the garlic, oregano and rosemary and continue to cook until the garlic gets fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a simmer.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the sauce. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, until the center of the meatballs are no longer pink.

While the meatballs continue to cook, cut the bread almost all the way through lengthwise and hollow out the center of the buns. Place the buns on a pan.

Turn the broiler on high. Once the meatballs are cooked all the way through, place 3-4 on each bun and spoon additional sauce on top. Cover with provolone cheese, sprinkle with parmesan and place the sandwiches under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.


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