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Vegetarian “Meat”ball Marinara Subs

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!
Print Recipe
CourseMain Course
DietGluten Free, Vegetarian
Keywordgluten-free, vegetarian
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings6 subs


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 1367mg | Potassium: 910mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 494IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 392mg | Iron: 6mg