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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.

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 balls that make all the difference.

vegan meatballs in cast iron pan with fork on white background

How to make a vegan meatball sub

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

Begin by cooking the bulgur according to 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, lasagna, and 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 the 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 that 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 marinara. Check out Will, from Potato Strong’s Marina 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

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Vegan Meatball Sandwich on brown paper

Vegan Meat Ball Italian Sub

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

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!

Ingredients

Meatballs

Sandwich

Instructions

Meatball Instructions

  1. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350. Parchment paper makes clean up so much easier with this recipe.
  2. Cook bulgur according to package directions. It cooks on the stovetop or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes.
  3. Dice all veggies--onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and walnuts.
  4. Mix all ingredients in a very large bowl. You can use a spoon, but I prefer to use my hands to thoroughly blend ingredients.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake at 350°F for approximately 25-30 minutes.
  7. 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

    1. Start by stacking your favorite sandwich veggies as the first layer. I use fresh spinach leaves, tomato, and purple onion slices.
    2. 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.
    3. Lastly, smother the sandwich ingredients with your favorite marinara sauce. Options are included in the article above.
    4. 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!

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.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 5.3gCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 11gProtein: 10.2g

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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