A Turkey Meatball Sub is a Healthier Alternative to the Classic

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We all know when going through a sub sandwich line that the meatball isn’t typically the healthiest choice, but why does it have to taste so good? The perfectly cooked meatballs simmering in hearty marinara sauce, nestled into a fluffy bun and topped with melty mozzarella cheese – what more could you ask for? How about a version that doesn’t leave you regretting your lunch pick for hours?

This sub sandwich may appear a little complex but it’s so, so simple. Thanks to Jennie-O’s lean ground turkey and Italian turkey sausage, there’s lots of flavor and protein without much fat. Our favorite marinara sauce amps up the flavor and sends the savory factor over the top. Then, we nestled ours into a whole wheat bun and topped it with two slices of low-fat mozzarella and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve it alongside salad and you’ll be satisfied the healthy way ’til dinner.

To keep things simple you could use store bought marinara, Bobby Flay’s favorite recipe, or try a batch of ours! And to keep this recipe gluten free, simply leave out the bread crumbs and place the meatballs on top of gluten-free pasta or sauteed veggies. You’ll still have all of the flavor of the rich, satisfying turkey meatballs without missing the bun one bit.

Turkey Meatball Subs
yields 4 generous servings

1/2 lb. Jennie-O lean ground turkey
1/2 lb. Jennie-O Italian turkey sausage (casings removed)
1/3 cup whole grain bread crumbs (or torn bread)
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp fresh or dried oregano
1 tsp fresh or dried basil
1/4 cup finely minced white onion
1 tsp worcestershire (optional)
1/4 tsp each sea salt and pepper
1 cup marinara
4 slices low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 tsp grated Parmesan (optional)
4 whole wheat buns (about 150 calories each)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add first nine ingredients to a large bowl and stir with spoon (or use your hands) until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Then, scoop out scant 1/4 cup measurements of meat and roll them into balls – about 8 (roughly 2 for each sub). Place in a lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until nice and golden brown. In the meantime, add marinara sauce to a small saucepan and warm through on medium-low heat. Keep on low once it’s hot. When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and place in marinara sauce to coat before placing in bun. Alternatively, top your buns with meatballs and then cover with marinara sauce. Top meatballs with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, pop back in the still warm oven to melt a bit, and serve immediately. If your buns are large like the ones pictured, cut them in half before serving.

Nutrition Information per sub: 400 calories, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 800 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 29 g protein

Compared to one serving of a Subway meatball sub which contains 520 calories, 22 g of fat, nearly 10 g saturated fat, 56 g carbohydrates, 11 g sugar and 25 g protein, we improved in every area. More protein, less sugar and fat and all the satisfying flavor of the original. That’s a meatball upgrade we can get on board with. Enjoy!

Also Read:

Barbecue Meatballs Recipe  

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw

Tiny Turkey Meatball and Chickpea Soup 

recipe and photos by Dana Shultz

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