Hospitality @ Home: Turkey Meatball Subs!

turkey meatball sub

For football season, I like to serve these babies up on a toasted french roll.  For a tailgate, you can make them in advance, and keep them wrapped in their foil to enjoy field-side.  Or, if you live in Los Angeles, fire up the grill by the pool and enjoy after a long swim….

this is how to watch football in LA
Yes, that is a TV, on a patio, by the pool…

I  adapted the meatball recipe from Serious Eats,  adjusting the meatball seasoning to use dried herbs, adding some grated onion for moisture, and since I was using lean turkey, dumped in two tablespoons of butter to raise the fat content and give the finished meatballs some richness.  For my marinara, I used leftover Tomato-Butter sauce that I made, but a high-quality store bought tomato sauce, like Bertolli Five Brother’s Tomato Basil would be perfect, as well.  No, Bertolli did not pay me for that plug, it just so happens to be my favorite store-bought sauce.

Recipe after the jump…

  • Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 ounce dried porcini or shitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano, divided (can substitute parmesan if that’s what you have)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 table spoon olive oil
  • 2 Tbs grated onion
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought is fine)

In a small bowl, soak the mushrooms in 1 cup of recently boiled water for 15-30 minutes (depending on package directions). Once the mushrooms are reconstituted, finely chop and reserve the soaking water. Adjust oven rack to 6 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high.

In a large bowl, gently mix together half of the chopped mushrooms, turkey, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano,dried herbs, garlic, butter and olive oil until just combined. Roll the mixture into 24 equal-sized balls, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, place the remaining mushrooms and their liquid and marinara sauce in a pot over low heat. Place the broiled meatballs directly in the sauce, and simmer over medium-low heat until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has visibly reduced to the consistency of a thick ragú, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make meatball subs:

4 French rolls

soft melty cheese such as mozzarella, fontina, or provolone (smoked Mozzarella would also be delicious)

olive oil

four sheets of foil, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil


mix of baby greens, fresh basil, pesto (homemade, or store-bought), parmesan, pecorino romano, balsamic vinegar, really any remotely italian-american ingredient you think would be tasty

Split the rolls and brush with olive oil. Toast bread on grill or in oven.  Fill toasted rolls with meatballs (should have 6 meatballs per roll), then cover with cheese.  Wrap subs in foil (with non-stick spray on the inside) and place back on warm (NOT HOT) grill or in warm oven to melt cheese and keep warm until game time.
I like to spread the toasted bread with pesto sauce before filling with the meatballs, then when I pull out the subs, let guests dress them however they like with additional pesto, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, etc.  These are incredibly filling for a long day of beer drinking and game watching.

Leave a Reply