Turkey Meatball Subs on Toasted Garlic Bread Buns

September 12, 2013 • Main Dishes, Poultry, Recipes, Sandwiches

Weather: 43 degrees, cloudy
What I’m listening to: Cups, Anna Kendrick

We’ve been getting quite a bit of rain so far this fall here on the Kenai Peninsula. The temperatures are dropping, the daylight is slipping away, and the autumn winds have picked up. Fall colors are emerging more prominently now in the trees – splashes of bright yellow – and along the ground the fireweed stalks have transformed from green to deep red, with touches of orange. Fall in Alaska is fast and brief. I love it, but I wish it would hang around a little longer. By November, there will be snow on the ground.

I had a craving for meatball subs, so I decided to revamp my favorite turkey meatball recipe and turn it into a sandwich. It worked beautifully. I simply made the meatballs two or three times bigger and baked them a little longer. I kept the sauce recipe the same and put it all on toasted garlic bread buns. Before serving, I popped the sandwiches under the broiler, to get the mozzarella all melty and golden. Finished it with some fresh basil on top. Dreamy. Craving fulfilled.

Turkey Meatball Subs on Toasted Garlic Bread Buns

Delicious homemade turkey meatball subs served on toasted garlic bread buns and topped with fresh basil.

Yields: About 6 Sandwiches

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste (my tomato sauce already includes a fair amount of salt, so I didn't need much, maybe 1/4 teaspoon; some tomato sauces have less so you may need to add more)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
  • For the Garlic Bread Buns:
  • 6 long sandwich rolls
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment.

To a large bowl, add the ground turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, cumin, mustard, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Mix together until combined. Shape mixture into 2-3 inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes, stirring, one minute, or until fragrant but without browning the garlic. Add tomato sauce to the pan, followed by sugar and salt. Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until the meatballs are finished baking.

When the meatballs are done, add them to the skillet with the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs to coat.

!For the Buns:

Turn the oven up to broil. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, and butter. Brush the garlic butter mixture onto the insides of the buns and broil until toasted and browned. Remove from oven.

Place 2 or 3 meatballs onto each toasted bun. Spoon some additional sauce over top of the meatballs. Top with shredded mozzarella and return the sandwiches to the broiler for another minute or two, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve promptly.