"Meat"ball Marinara Sub Recipe (Pantry Budget Rescue Series)

Combine vegetarian "Meat"balls with a simple homemade Marinara Sauce and toasted cheese and you've got a delicious, hearty, budget-friendly meal the whole family loves!

I've never made meatless meatballs before they were surprisingly good. They were also good as sliders with Hawaiian rolls
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Pantry Budget Rescue Recipes

What do you make when your budget is tight, your time is limited, and you just don't have the energy to be creative? We've got you!

These recipes are budget-saving, easy, and delicious recipes straight from accessible pantry ingredients.

This is a simple, budget-friendly recipe for a vegetarian meatball sandwich with "tomato sauce" as we call marinara sauce.

Gluten-Free? These meatballs skip using bread crumbs in favor of rolled oats. Sub in gluten-free hot dog buns and your recipe is fully gluten-free!

Key Ingredients for Vegetarian Meatball Marinara Sandwich

  • Can of black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas
  • Tomato paste.
  • Garlic. Fresh minced garlic will give you the best flavor but feel free to use garlic powder if that is what you have on hand.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Italian Seasoning. If you prefer, pull out your fresh herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley. 
  • Rolled oats— old-fashioned or quick are fine.
  • Mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds (out of the shells), pine nuts, or walnuts
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Hot dog buns (or hoagie rolls)-- Melanie highly recommends top-split buns for meatball subs and I totally agree with her!
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese. Mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, or even cheddar works great, as well.

Note: try adding a bit of red pepper flakes to ramp up the heat in the marinara sauce.

Instructions for "meat"balls:

  1. Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms on medium-high. Remove from heat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the nuts.
  3. Add the rinsed beans and all the remaining ingredients and sauteed veggies. Pulse the mixture until well combined.
  4. Form into about meatballs.
  5. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (less or more depending on size of meatballs.

Tip: if you like your meatballs crispy on the outside, broil them for about 2 minutes at the very end. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

Instructions for marina sauce:

  1. Saute onion, garlic, & Italian seasoning.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, salt & pepper. 
  3. Simmer while your meatballs cook on medium heat.

Assembling the meatball sub: 

  1. Place 3-4 meatballs inside your hot dog bun. Top with cheese.
  2. Return the subs to the oven, turn the oven to broil, broil for about 4 minutes or until the bun is toasty and the cheese is melted.

Vegetarian “Meat”ball Marinara Subs

| 6 subs
Prep Time | 30 mins
Cook Time | 20 mins
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Combine vegetarian "Meat"balls with a simple homemade Marinara Sauce and toasted cheese and you've got a delicious, hearty, budget-friendly meal the whole family loves!
Cost: 15

Ingredients
 

  • 1 can of black beans kidney beans, or chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon oil olive or canola
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup rolled oats— old-fashioned or quick are fine.
  • 2 ounces mushrooms chopped
  • cup sunflower seeds out of the shells, pine nuts, or walnuts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Marinara:

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning

For sub:

  • 6 hot dog buns top-split buns work best!
  • 1 cup Parmesan or other favorite cheese
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.

Instructions

  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.→ oven at 350 degrees
  • Heat olive oil on med-high heat, saute onion for about 3 until soft, add garlic and mushrooms and saute just until fragrant...about 2 min. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processor, pulse the nuts until a fine powder.
  • Rinse and drain the beans, add all the remaining ingredients and the sauteed veggies (save the pan!). Pulse until well combined.
  • Form into about 12 meatballs (I find about 1.5 inch seems right). I use damp hands to form my meatballs but Amy uses an ice cream scoop. Either work great just be sure to press them tightly.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes (less or more depending on size of meatballs.
  • Tip: if you like your meatballs crispy on the outside, broil them for about 2 minutes at the very end. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

For sauce:

  • While the meatballs are cooking, in the same pan as the onions and garlic were in, heat oil and add the chopped onions. Saute for about 3 min.
  • Add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Saute for 2 min.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, salt & pepper. Bring to a light boil, turn down to simmer (I like to cover it so it doesn't make a mess) while your meatballs cook.

To assemble:

  • Place 3-4 meatballs inside your hot dog bun. Top with the sauce and then top with cheese.
  • Return the subs to the oven, turn the oven to broil on low, broil for about 4 minutes or until the bun is toasty and the cheese is melted.

Nutrition

Calories: 408kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 20gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 1367mgPotassium: 910mgFiber: 11gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 494IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 392mgIron: 6mg

Lisa - Recipe Tester

"We used club rolls and could get three meatballs on the sub, since we had to heat them ( I had frozen them)I just put the cheese on the bottom and then the hot meatball and hot sauce."

More budget-friendly recipes:

1 thought on “"Meat"ball Marinara Sub Recipe (Pantry Budget Rescue Series)”

  1. 5 stars
    We're a meatless on occasion family and enjoy trying new recipes. Everyone was surprised when I told them the meatballs were not actually meat. This recipe has a great texture and flavor. I use the simple marinara sauce in many other dishes now as well!

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