A Great Meatball Sub To Serve In Your Italian Deli

If you run an Italian deli, you are probably always searching for new dishes to add to your menu. What about a meatball sub? While not classic deli fare, it is a good departure from cold deli subs, and it definitely has Italian flair. Here's how to make a set of four meatball subs your guests will love.


  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup white onion, chopped finely
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcesteshire sauce
  • 4 large, white sub rolls
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the meatballs, start by combining the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Use your hands to mix the meat and the other ingredients until they are evenly distributed. Do not over-mix the meat.

Divide the meat into 16 even portions, and shape each into a meatball. Use your hands to squeeze the meatballs, ensuring they are packed tightly together. 

Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and give it a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray. When the pan is warm, place the meatballs in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then roll the meatballs over. After another three minutes have passed, roll the meatballs again. After they have cooked for 9 - 10 minutes in total, remove them from the pan and place them on plates to cool slightly.

Slice the sub rolls in half. Brush each half with some of the olive oil. Place the rolls under the broiler, cut-side up, making sure they are about 4 inches from the heat. Broil just until the rolls are evenly browned. Remove the rolls from the oven, and place four meatballs on each roll. Top the meatballs with 1/4 cup sauce (per sub) and then 1/4 cup of the cheese. 

Place the sandwiches back under the broiler, and broil for about 3 minutes, or just until the cheese is brown and melted. Serve immediately, and watch as your deli guests dig in.

If you do not want to make four meatball subs at once, you can make the meatballs in advance and just store the extras in the fridge. When you are ready to make a sub, just microwave four of the meatballs for about 1 minute to warm them up. Place them on a roll with some sauce and cheese, broil, and serve to your hungry customers. 

Visit a deli, like Scittino's Italian Market Place, for more ideas.