Do your kids eat differently when they are at other people's houses? After a recent lunchtime playdate at her friend's house, my daughter came home raving about the awesome meatball submarine sandwiches they had. Meatball subs?! A dish I have suggested on numerous occasions, but which has always been met with "No, that sounds gross"? I decided to take advantage of the successful lunch date introduction and get down to making our own turkey meatball subs.
The basis for a delicious turkey meatball sub are two things: turkey meatballs and marinara sauce. Turkey meatballs are a great family-friendly dish, because they are versatile, they are easy to make, and the kids can help make them. The ingredients are simple, and the meatballs can be made in advance, frozen, and then popped in the delicious marinara sauce to warm them through. Add a crusty bun, some melty cheese and you have a quick weeknight dinner, or a busy hockey weekend meal.
These turkey meatball subs are perfect for any busy family - everyone is going to love them.
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano (or dried basil)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 ciabatta buns (or baguette)
1-2 cups grated provolone cheese (depending on how cheesy you want the subs)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 can whole plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Use a plastic spatula to mix the ingredients together. Do not over mix. Stop when the ingredients are all incorporated.
Use hands to shape the meatballs. Use a 1 tbsp measure to scoop meat and roll meatball in hands. Place rolled meatball on parchment paper lined baking sheet. TIP - Wet your hands before rolling the meatballs; the meat will not stick as much to wet hands. If you don't like the idea of touching raw meat, use an ice cream scoop to shape the balls and drop onto the parchment paper, or wear a pair of latex/silicone gloves.
Bake the meatballs in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden. TIP - If you wish to freeze the meatballs, stop now and let meatballs cool. Once cooled place the meatballs, on the baking sheet, inside the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to a resealable plastic bag. When you want to use them, drop the frozen meatballs directly into a pan of simmering marinara sauce and simmer for 20 minutes, until meatballs are warmed through.
Kids Can Help - There are a few ways the kids can help with the turkey meatball sub recipe. Let the kids get their hands messy mixing, scooping and shaping the meatballs. When handling raw meat, be sure to have kids wash hands before and after working with the meat. With adult supervision, kids can use a box grater to prepare the cheese and help top the meatball subs.