Italian Meatball Subs
This recipe is featured in Cooking with Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs
Whether you call them subs, hoagies, grinders, or heroes, everyone should have a chance to enjoy this American staple. For our money, an Italian meatball sub is the way to go — topped with warm marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Of course, you can always pair the meatballs with some gluten-free spaghetti or Spaghetti Squash “Pasta,” or serve them on skewers like lollipops.
Metric conversions by The Cook’s Cook
- Servings Makes 4 sub sandwiches
- 240 ml (1 cup) warm water
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) sugar
- 11.3 ml (2¼ teaspoons/1 packet) yeast
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil
- 316 ml (1⅓ cups) plus 20 ml (1 heaping tablespoon) [175 grams total] Artisan GF Flour Blend (see recipe)
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) xanthan gum
- 4 ml (¾ teaspoon) salt
- 227 grams (½ pound) ground turkey (93% lean)
- 1 egg
- 79 grams (⅔ cup) GF bread crumbs
- ¼ medium onion, diced fine
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) dried basil
- 8 ml (¾ teaspoon) dried oregano
- 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) garlic powder
- 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) salt
- 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) pepper
- Olive oil
- 120 to 180 ml (½ to ¾ cup) marinara sauce
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese, each cut in half (8 strips total)
1. To make the rolls, combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes, until the yeast is active and the mixture bubbly with a layer of foam on top. Then add the olive oil.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the whisked flour mixture and mix to form a soft, wet dough.
3. Transfer the dough to a large zip-top bag and cut a corner off the bottom to make a slit that is 3 cm (1¼ inches) long. Pipe the dough to evenly divide among 4 slots of a hot dog bun pan.* Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Bake the buns for 25 minutes, until golden brown on top.**
5. To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F); or, if you just baked the rolls, reduce the temperature to 175°C (350°F).
6. Combine the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, onion, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Coat your hands in olive oil and form into 16 meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. Place the meatballs on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.***
7. To assemble the subs: Preheat the broiler. Slice the rolls almost in half lengthwise and place 4 meatballs in each. Spoon 30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tablespoons) marinara sauce over each sub and top with 2 strips of sliced mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler and watch carefully, removing when the cheese is melted and starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
* If you do not have a hot dog pan, use 2 bread loaf pans and parchment paper: cut 4 pieces of parchment each 18 cm (7 inches) by the length of the bottom of your loaf pans. Pipe the dough down the center of each piece of parchment, then lift by the edges and transfer 2 tubes of dough — in their parchment — to each loaf pan. Let rise and bake as per the recipe.
** The rolls can be made ahead and frozen for later use. To reheat, pop in a 175°C (350°F) oven until warm, or microwave (times vary based on microwave strength; watch carefully).
*** To add a richer flavor to the meatballs, first brown in a skillet over medium-high heat with 15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tablespoons) olive oil, then finish cooking them through in the preheated oven, reducing the bake time to 15 minutes.
The refined-sugar-free, corn-free, and dairy/lactose/casein-free statuses of this recipe are partially dependent on the ingredients in your bread crumbs.
Kids can . . .
• Collect ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator
• Measure the ingredients
• Crack the egg
• Place the ingredients in the mixing bowl
• Mix ingredients with hands
• Shape meatballs
• Spoon the marinara sauce over the subs
• Place the slices of cheese on the subs
To make this recipe dairy/lactose/casein-free
In addition to confirming the bread status, omit the mozzarella cheese or substitute nondairy cheese.
To make this recipe corn-free
Use arrowroot flour to make a cornfree version of the Artisan GF Flour blend.