This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Albertsons. All opinions are 100% mine.
When it comes to easy weeknight dinners, nothing beats Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches. Make them from scratch or go semi-homemade. They’re tasty both ways!
First off, full disclosure. I’m notorious for juggling too many things on the stove while trying to toast things under the broiler. More often than not the garlic bread for dinner gets a little overdone around the edges. That’s totally what happened here. The bread isn’t burnt. I promise. It’s just extra toasty and I kind of love it that way. Just watch your subs, okay? Moving on!
I’ve been a fan of meatball subs for years. At least a couple of times a month, Mike and I would get lunch at our favorite local Italian joint and I’d order the lunch Meatball Sub. They serve their subs on garlic bread and OMG is it goooooooood!!
Today I’m showing you how to make homemade meatball subs. You can start with frozen meatballs and jarred sauce, or make meatballs and sauce from scratch. We’re covering both options and making dinners (and leftovers for lunch!) super easy during the week.
As with most recipes, the trick to getting the best meatball sub is quality ingredients. I like to start with O Organics® products. I pick up what I need during our shopping trip to Albertsons while also grabbing items for my kids’ lunches. (Yep, I have back to school on the brain already!)
I like how easy the Albertsons mobile app is to use. I can grab in-store coupons and check the weekly ads before I leave to go shopping so I don’t miss a deal. And if I add something to our cart that I may not have planned on, I can search to see if there’s a deal for it using the app while I’m at the store. That happens more often than I’d like to admit when the kids tag along.
I love that Albertsons makes being able to get USDA-organic certified products so easy. O Organics is my go-to for back to school essentials with over 1,500 products. I used to stay away from organic products because of the price, but O Organics is budget-friendly without giving up quality and taste. Love that. You can Shop O Organics® products exclusively at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb, and Vons. So now it’s easy to get the good stuff.
I also gravitate towards store-brand products to keep things in budget. Feeding two growing boys and husband keeps food flying out of the pantry. Sure I’m fiercely brand loyal about a few items, but I like being able to count on the Albertsons family of products to satiate my family.
Albertsons also offers Grocery Delivery and Drive Up & Go™ for convenient ways to shop! It’s so nice having some extra time by letting someone else gather my groceries. These shopping options easily give me back an hour out of my day. They especially come in handy during my workday and when I need to be helping my kids with their online school work instead of running to the store. Total life saver!
Meatball Sub Recipe Ingredients
- Italian meatballs – Buy a bag at the store or make hem homemade. You can even freeze the homemade ones for later. Just be sure to thaw your meatballs in the fridge before cooking.
- Marinara sauce or your favorite pasta sauce – I’m partial to roasted garlic sauces myself
- Hoagie-style sandwich rolls
- Sliced provolone cheese – The O Organics brand is delicious in this recipe!
- Fresh parsley
Pretty simple right?! I love homemade meatballs, but I also like the convenience of pre-made frozen meatballs if we’re having guests for dinner. No judgment here.
Some days I want to cook and be Giada in the kitchen. Other days, I’m Sandra Lee with a glass of red wine. Because red wine and Italian food are always a good idea.
If you’re like to make your meatballs and pasta sauce from scratch here’s what you’ll need.
- O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef – I like an 85% lean 15% fat blend
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Red pepper flakes
Meatball Sub Sauce
- Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dried oregano
- Salt & pepper
- Red pepper flakes
This sauce is a little spicy. You don’t have to use as much red pepper flakes as I do, and you can skip them altogether if you prefer. Make it to your family’s taste.
How to Make Meatball Subs
- Start by placing a large deep-sided skillet over medium heat.
- Once the skillet is hot, pour in your tomato sauce and add the thawed meatballs. Then simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes to warm the meatballs through.
- Next, place some softened butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in the small bowl. Use a spoon to blend the butter and seasonings together until they’re evenly incorporated. No big pockets of garlic here thanks.
- After that, open up four sandwich rolls so the cut side is facing up. I had to grab a serrated knife and cut them through a little more to get them to lay flat. Then, place the rolls on a baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread the garlic butter mixture over all the cut sides of the rolls. You want to use all the butter.
- Then, place the rolls under your oven’s broiler and toast the garlic bread until just golden around the edges. Take the pan out of the oven and them place the rolls into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with the cut side up.
- Now you’re ready to assemble your subs. Start by spooning 4 meatballs into each roll. Grab a little extra sauce and spoon that over the meatballs. Then top each sub with a slice of provolone cheese. I cut them in half and layer them side by side to cover the entire top. Broil the subs for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Take them out of the oven, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top if you like, and dig in!
Super easy friends. The garlic bread is a nice touch I hijacked, but there’s no shame in my game. Good food is good food.
If you’re making your meatballs and/or sauce from scratch here’s the skinny on how to do that.
- Start off by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F and lining a baking sheet with a silicone amt or parchment paper so nothing sticks.
- Next, place the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes into a medium mixing bowl. Use your hands to blend everything together until evenly combined.
- After that, divide the meatball mixture into quarters. Then you’ll split each quarter into four portions. You should have 16 relatively even portions now. Take those portions and roll them into meatballs.
- Put the meatballs on your prepared baking sheet leaving at least 1-inch between them. Then bake the meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and they’re ready to serve.
You can freeze these meatballs in a gallon-ziptop plastic bag. Thaw them in the fridge or throw them in a crock pot with sauce for dinner later.
You can even divide the mixture into 32 portions for smaller appetizer meatballs. They’re great with 12 ounces each of sweet chili sauce and grape jelly in a crock pot.
- Start by placing a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add in some unsalted butter and olive oil and heat until the butter melts.
- Next, you’ll add in some diced yellow onion and minced garlic. Cook the onions for 3 to 5 minutes until they’re softened and the garlic is fragrant. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning.
- After that, you’ll add in all the juice from your canned tomatoes. For the tomatoes themselves, you’ll use your hands to squeeze and break them up. But be careful, they’ll squirt juices everywhere. Keep your hand low and into the pan to help prevent a mess.
- Once all the tomatoes are in, add in the balsamic vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes. Give everything a stir and then let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
You can add your homemade meatballs to the sauce as soon as they’re out of the oven and then simmer them in the sauce for a bit.
Or you can let your sauce cool a little and store it in mason jars in the fridge. I usually only use about half this sauce for our subs. It’s nice to have extra for another night.
Sides for Meatball Subs
When I make these subs for dinner, we usually have a salad with Italian dressing or Caesar salad as the side. Chips or fries are good too when I make them for lunch at home.
For school lunches though, I like to serve these sandwiches alongside all my boys’ favorite lunchtime items. I cut the subs in half to help them fit into a storage container. Then I grab an O Organics fruit punch pouch, O Organics string cheese, and some baby carrots to round things out. Then I toss in an O Organics mini chocolate chip cookie bag for a little dessert for eating all their lunch. I’m trusting like that.
These Meatball Subs reheat well in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. And they taste just as good at room temperature when you’re packing lunches.
If you’re looking for more easy weeknight dinner wins, I’ve got you!
- 5-Minute Skillet Tortilla Pizza
- One-Pan Beef Burrito Skillet
- Easy Shrimp Scampi
- Seasoned Chicken Tacos
- Tater Tot Casserole
Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and pepper flakes into a medium mixing bowl. Using your hands, combine meatball ingredients until evenly incorporated into the beef.
- Divide beef mixture into quarters. Then divide each quarter into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until no longer pink inside and browned on the outside. Remove from oven and let rest.
- Place a large deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add butter and oil and heat until butter is melted.
- Add onions and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are softened and garlic is fragrant. Add juice from tomato can to skillet. Use your hands to break up the tomatoes before adding them to the skillet. (Be careful! They'll squirt.) Then add in balsamic vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. (This sauce is a bit spicy, you can skip the pepper flakes if you don't want the heat.)
- Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add meatballs to skillet with tomato sauce and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- While that's going on, turn your oven to broil. In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning until evenly combined.
- Open sandwich rolls and place onto a baking sheet with the insides facing up. Spread garlic butter mixture evenly over the rolls, using all the butter. Place rolls under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until golden around the edges. Remove from oven.
- Place garlic bread rolls in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Spoon 4 meatballs into each roll. Add a little extra sauce and 1 slice of provolone cheese (cut in half) on top of the meatballs.
- Broil sandwiches until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve warm.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.