This is The Perfect Meatball Sandwich recipe, made on toasted, buttery garlic bread, with an easy homemade marinara sauce and my favorite beef and sausage meatballs.
Remember a few weeks ago when I shared these killer freezer meatballs? If you haven’t made a batch yet, please do. They are one of my favorite things on the site, and if you have a batch in your freezer, then you can make today’s recipe in about half an hour.
Anyway, in that post, I promised meatball sandwiches would be coming soon and we have reached that day. Hooray for Meatball Sandwich day!
There are a few things that go into making the perfect meatball sandwich. One, start with good meatballs. We have that covered.
Two, you need a good sauce marinara sauce. I’ve included my personal favorite quick marinara sauce recipe below, and I think it’s just about perfect because it’s pretty quick-cooking (for a red sauce) and only uses 5 ingredients. It is so tangy and bright I have trouble not just eating it with a spoon. So it stands up well to the bulk of the bread and the flavor of the meatballs.
The third most important thing for the perfect meatball sandwich is avoiding soggy bread at all costs. Soggy meatball sandwiches = gross. And they are super easy to avoid. All you have to do is toast the bread a little first. And since I believe in a world with good things, we’re not just going to toast the bread, we’re going to turn it into toasted garlic bread.
That’s right. Take your french roll (or hot dog bun or slices of white bread–any white-ish bread is going to make a great sandwich) and spread some butter over it. Sprinkle with garlic powder and toast until golden. Then you get to put the good stuff on there, your red sauce, meatballs, and mozzarella cheese.
Bake that up just long enough to for your cheese to turn gooey and beautiful and then dig in. 😃
The Perfect Meatball Sandwich Recipe Notes
- This sauce recipe calls for a skillet and a splatter screen. The wide skillet is used to increase the cooking surface area so the sauce cooks faster, but you absolutely must use a splatter screen or you will have a mess on your hands. If you don’t own a splatter screen, you can buy one–they are pretty cheap and super handy. Or you can just use a large pot without a screen and turn the sauce down a little so it’s not popping as high. Your sauce will take a bit longer, but there will be less mess.
- If you are cooking for only one or two people, this sauce freezes very well. Just store leftover sauce in a mason jar or freeze flat in a freezer bag and it will keep for up to three months.
The Perfect Meatball Sandwich
- Splatter screen
- Large skillet
Quick Marinara Sauce
- 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 7 cloves garlic peeled and slivered or diced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large fresh basil sprig or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 4 French rolls
- Garlic powder
- 12 to 16 large meatballs fully cooked and warmed
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil optional for topping
Quick Marinara Sauce
- With an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, process tomatoes until mostly pureed--the texture of chunky salsa. You can also turn the tomatoes out into a bowl and crush them with your hands (don't discard the juices).
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook just it starts to turn lightly golden--watch carefully so it doesn't burn! Add the tomatoes and juices to the skillet along with water, salt, sugar, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sprig of basil. Cover with splatter screen and bring to a good simmer, turning up the heat if necessary. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce is thickened. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Remove basil sprig.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Butter both sides of your bread and sprinkle garlic powder over the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly toasted.
- Add a couple tablespoons of sauce to both sides of each French roll and top with 3 to 4 meatballs and 1/4 cup of mozzarella. Bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted.
- Add fresh basil if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Sauce Adapted From The New York Times
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them. There is absolutely no additional cost to you.