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Vertical view of the bread with sauce, meatballs and melted cheese with a pan in the background - square

Open Faced Meatball Sub

This meatball sub with marinara sauce takes longer but it's worth the time. The meatballs get so soft and yummy being cooked so long!
Course Sandwich
Cuisine Italian
Keyword meatball sub
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 subs
Calories 450kcal


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste (equivalent to 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes 2 cans
  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cans water using the paste can
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1 ½ pounds beef grass fed
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard I used Gulden's
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese


  • 4 pieces of mozzarella cheese cut in half
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 6 rolls


  • Heat a heavy large saucepan or dutch oven on medium heat, add olive oil and once that heats up, add onion, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes
  • Add cans of crushed tomato and tomato paste along with the water. Stir until mixed and add 1 bay leaf


  • Place beef in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and mustard
  • Mix beef and ingredients together with hands and form the beef into small meatballs
  • Place all the meatballs into the red sauce
  • Lower heat to a simmer and let cook for 5 - 6 hours


  • Turn your oven on to broil (high)
  • Line a jellyroll pan with foil, cut the roll in half and place the bread on the pan
  • Place a piece of mozzarella cheese on each half of the bread, so one piece each
  • Place in broiler and toast the bread and melt the cheese, it should take between 1 - 2 minutes
  • Put two meatballs on each slice of bread and cut the meatballs in half. Cover the meatballs and bread with gravy (red sauce)
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top
  • Place two more pieces of mozzarella cheese on the meatballs and gravy
  • Broil for 1 minute until cheese is melted
  • Plate sub
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy


If you want to speed up the process, you can either bake the meatballs for 30 minutes at 350 F, or sauté them for up to 10 minutes. That means you will cook the marinara sauce for 30 minutes.
But I like the slow cook method.
Also, I didn't account for the calories in the whole batch of gravy. This is for individual subs.


Serving: 1sub | Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 1924mg | Potassium: 1775mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 1535IU | Vitamin C: 38.9mg | Calcium: 226mg | Iron: 19.9mg