Vegan Meatball Italian Sub

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This delightfully messy Vegan Meatball Sandwich is great for dinner, parties, and game-day food. It’s such a versatile meatless marinara sandwich, even kids love it!

Vegan Meatball Sandwich on brown paper

Vegan comfort food has never tasted so good! The meatballs in this healthy Italian hoagie are made with wholesome ingredients like whole oats, onions, tomatoes, walnuts, warm spices, and more.

If you like healthy, comfort vegan food like this recipe, we have plenty more on this website like crockpot bean chili and one-pot vegan chili mac.

You’ll love this vegan meatball sandwich because it’s…

  • Insanely satisfying
  • Fresh
  • Herby
  • Saucy
  • Crowd-pleasing
  • Wholesome

Layered with loads of flavor, this vegan meatball hoagie will make a believer out of even the biggest skeptic. It’s the meatless meatballs that make all the difference.

vegan meatballs in cast iron pan with fork on white background

How to make a vegan meatball sub

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Making this amazing vegan sandwich takes just a little bit of effort, and it’s well worth the time. The savory smokey flavor will delight your taste buds!

Making vegan meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.

Begin by cooking the bulgur according to the package directions. It cooks on the stove or in a rice cooker in about 15 minutes. I really like to batch cook bulgur in my rice cooker and freeze it for use in recipes like this, spaghetti, vegetable lasagna, and healthy vegan nachos.

cooked bulgur in pan on wooden table

Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they’ve subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.

Dice the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and walnuts. One tip here is that a blender or food processor makes it easy to make bread crumbs. It’s also great for chopping the walnuts.

diced vegetables on cutting board

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (including the fully cooked bulgur). Mix with a spoon or do like I do and, use your hands to mix thoroughly.

oats, breadcrumbs, bulgur, and veggies in stainless bowl

Form into balls and place on a baking sheet. If the mixture seems too wet, add a few more oats. If it seems too dry, add a little bit of the juice drained from tomatoes or water. These should hold together to form balls pretty well.

vegan meatballs on a baking sheet

Bake at 350°F for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

vegan meatball on fork

Assembling a vegan meatball sub

Stacking the layers of flavorful meatballs, veggies, and marinara is my favorite part of making this vegan sandwich.

I use a sourdough oil-free sub roll from a local Amish bakery near me. For those of you who like to bake your own bread, I found this oil-free Simple Sourdough Bread recipe from Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

Start assembling the sandwich by stacking your favorite veggies as the first layer. I used fresh spinach leaves, tomato, and purple onion slices.

Next, pile on the freshly baked vegan meatballs. I also added a few slices of my Easy Cashew Mozzarella Cheese, but that is completely optional.

cashew cheese block with shreds around it on wooden board
My Easy Cashew Mozzarella Cheese makes a great addition to this sandwich.

Healthy oil-free marinara

Lastly, smother the sandwich ingredients with your favorite marinara sauce.

Believe it or not, the Aldi discount grocery store has a marinara brand that is Dr. John McDougall compliant, with no oil. It’s called Simply Nature and is organic. Here in North Carolina, it sells for about $2 for 25 oz.

Make sure to read the labels, because some variations do contain oil or animal products. Aldi stores often carry different products, so do a quick check of the ingredient list. 

Another great oil-free marinara is the DeLallo Fat-Free Brand. It can be ordered on Amazon and delivered straight to your door. I actually love this particular brand.

If you would rather, you can make your own healthy oil-free marinara sauce.

Now, this vegan meatball sandwich is ready to serve for dinner, a party, or game-day food with friends. Believe me, everyone is going to love it!

Meatfree italian sub with marinara on brown paper

Other great Italian recipes

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Vegan Meatball Sandwich on brown paper
4.50 from 8 votes

Vegan Meat Ball Italian Sub

This delightfully messy vegan meatball sandwich is great for dinner, parties, and game-day food. It’s such a versatile meatless marinara sandwich, even kids love it!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

Meatballs

  • 2 cups cooked bulgur
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (equals 2-3 slices of bread)
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes (with juice drained and reserved)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sticks celery diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 3/4 cup carrot diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sea salt to your taste

Sandwich

Instructions

Meatball Instructions

  • Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350. Parchment paper makes clean up so much easier with this recipe.
  • Cook bulgur according to package directions. It cooks on the stovetop or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes.
  • Dice all veggies–onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and walnuts.
  • Mix all ingredients in a very large bowl. You can use a spoon, but I prefer to use my hands to thoroughly blend ingredients.
  • Form into balls and place on a baking sheet. If the mixture seems too wet, add a few more oats. If it seems too dry, add a little bit of the juice drained from tomatoes or water. These should hold together to form balls pretty well.
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 25-30 minutes.
  • To make these meatballs even firmer, cook a day ahead and refrigerate. When they are reheated, the texture is very firm and the flavors have had time to marry and are fabulous.

Sandwich Assembly Instructions

  • Start by stacking your favorite sandwich veggies as the first layer. I use fresh spinach leaves, tomato, and purple onion slices.
  • Next, pile on the freshly baked vegan meatballs. I also added a few slices of my Easy Cashew Mozzarella Cheese, but that is completely optional.
  • Lastly, smother the sandwich ingredients with your favorite marinara sauce. Options are included in the article above.
  • Now, this vegan meatball sandwich is ready to serve for dinner, a party, or game day food with friends. Believe me, everyone is going to love it!

Video

Notes

Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they've subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 10.2g | Fat: 5.3g | Fiber: 11g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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4 Comments

  1. Made the meatballs and enjoyed them a lot. Had a wonderful meatball sandwich. Then had pasta and meatballs for another meal.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Looks good. I am getting ready to make. However, there are a couple of discrepancies. Your notes say… Dice the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, carrots.
    The list of ingredients says onion, celery, green peppers….no garlic or carrots.
    Please advise. Thanks

    1. Hi Lucille- Good catch on that! Yes, I do use 3/4 cup diced or grated carrots and 2 cloves of minced garlic in these meatballs. Either or both of them could be left out if preferred. I’ve updated the recipe card now with that information. Thanks so much for letting me know. Much appreciated!

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