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Open-Faced Meatball Sub

By February 14th, 2019 Easy Dinners, Main Dish, Meat + Poultry, Sandwiches

This easy-to-make meatball sub is delicious, meaty and melty with only half the bread! Great for a weeknight, or weekend family meal.


This Open-Faced Meatball Sub is a flavorful, hearty sandwich. The Italian flavors create a meal everyone will love. The make-ahead meatballs simplify prep. You can make it as is or embellish with some spicy peppers too.  

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Wrapped in noodles, swimming in sauce or sitting in a sandwich, meatballs are always a win. They have tons of flavor in each bite, and not to mention, they are fun to eat! One of my favorite ways to eat them, however, is in an easy-to-make open-faced sub.

Ingredients for an Open-Faced Meatball Sub:

  • Mini Meatballs (recipe below)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 hero rolls 
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

More meatballs

I love classic meatballs and even variations. Switch it up and make my Chicken Chipotle Meatballs or my Chicken Meatballs with Cumin and Orange.

For these classic Italian meatballs I mixed pork and beef. The texture and flavor of each make a tender and delicious meatball. I added onions, peppers, and spices like oregano and fennel to balance the flavor. 


Get in there! Eat a meatball sub with your hands or use a knife and fork. There are no rules!


Make these ahead and freeze them for later. If you know you’re making the subs today or tomorrow simply roll them and store them covered in the fridge. Otherwise freeze them for another meal! Just let them stand at room temperature to thaw for a few minutes before cooking them if they’re frozen. 

I make these mini so they fit on a sub roll. Easier to eat in my opinion. The size is pretty great for spaghetti too!

A delicious open face meatball sub on a cutting board

How to Assemble Your Open-Faced Meatball Sub: 

  • Slice and toast bread rolls 
  • Spoon warm marinara sauce and meatballs on bread halves
  • Cover with sautéed onions and bell peppers 
  • Top with 2 slices of cheese
  • Broil until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes 

I love to make my Open-Faced Meatball Sub for dinner because if I’ve made my meatballs ahead of time, it is quick and easy like making any other sandwich, however feels a little more like a meal. If you’re looking to eat your sandwich with something fresh, try my Shredded Carrot Salad with Apple and Lime

Open Faced Meatball Sub
Work Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

This easy to make meatball sub is delicious, meaty and melty with only half the bread! Great for a weeknight, or weekend family meal.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Meatball sub, meatballs
Yield: 4 servings
Calories: 760 kcal
Meatball Subs
  • 1 recipe Mini Meatballs recipe follows
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 bell peppers (red and yellow) sliced
  • 2 hero rolls halved lengthwise and toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 slices provolone, cut in half (about 3 oz)
Mini Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion minced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper minced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Make the Mini Meatballs: In a large bowl, using hands, mix together all ingredients until combined well. using 1 tablespoon mixture for each, roll into balls. 

  2. Mini meatballs can be made ahead. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Divide between two heavy-duty resealable plastic bags, seal and freeze up to 3 weeks. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before cooking.

  3. Make the Meatball Subs: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and turn to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and cover. 

  4. Wipe skillet clean; add remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. 

  5. Heat broiler and place rack 6 inches from heat. Place rolls, cut side up on a baking sheet. In saucepan with meatballs, add sauce and heat over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes; spoon onto each roll. Cover with onion-bell pepper mixture and top each with 2 cheese halves. Broil until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

Mini Meatballs

Makes 55 to 60 meatballs. Can make ahead and freeze. Keep them on hand for other meals!

Nutrition Facts
Open Faced Meatball Sub
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 760 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 74%
Saturated Fat 15.5g 78%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 1104mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Protein 34g 68%
Calcium 294%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe and food styling Tara Teaspoon. Photography Amy Kalyn Sims. Prop Styling Barb Fritz.


A delicious open face meatball sub on a cutting board
A delicious open face meatball sub on a cutting board

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