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Healthy Meatball Subs

A healthier version of the classic meatball sub with hidden veggies in the meatball and swapping turkey that gives the same tasty comfort of the original.

Meatball sandwiches are always a popular dinner choice in my home.

Every time I have one I am reminded of my college days when I would get home too late from class to eat in the cafeteria so I would head to the Subway right next door.

I generally leaned to the meatball sub because I knew it would be tasty and warm me up. Perfect after my long trek across campus in the dark.

I still like the ones at Subway but I know I need a lighter version that will still provide that comfort and warmth but with much better ingredients.

I use the same tricks here that I do in my Sweet and Sour Meatballs, but changing up the spices creates an entirely new flavor. I like to add in finely shredded zucchini, carrots, and finely chopped spinach to the meatball mix along with oatmeal in lieu of breadcrumbs.

Baking the meatballs gives you time to prepare everything else for dinner. The end result is a lighter version of a favorite but just as satisfying.

Make extras and freeze for another meal. They reheat well in the microwave or just thaw in the fridge.

Making a homemade marinara is really quite simple and worth the extra few minutes it takes over opening a jar. I like to use canned tomatoes with just a few extra ingredients to make my own sauce.

Ways to make a non-chunky marinara sauce?

If you prefer a smooth marinara sauce, allow the sauce to cool slightly before pouring the sauce into a blender filling the blender no more than halfway.

Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to puree the sauce till smooth. This is usually my preference because it doesn’t create as many extra dishes but it also will not produce as smooth of a sauce.

What kind of bread is good to use?

Serve these on whole wheat hoagie rolls or open face style on hearty wheat bread.

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey, or hamburger
  • 2 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/2 zucchini, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/2 10 oz. bag frozen spinach, thawed and given an extra chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp basil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • ground pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with hands. Form into small bite sized meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Marinara

  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)

Pour tomatoes into sauce pan. Add spices and heat over medium heat until heated through. If desired, use an immersion blender or regular blender to create a smooth sauce.

Simmer meatballs with sauce for 20-30 minutes to blend flavor. Spoon meatballs into rolls and spoon a little extra sauce over as desired. Top with fresh spinach, bell peppers and a little extra Parmesan cheese.

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