Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meatball and Pepper Heroes

Ok, so I'll confess... these aren't the most photogenic works of culinary art. In fact, they're hardly even polite to eat, since much of the saucy goodness will inevitably wind up on your face and your hands. But don't let the mess and bad pictures fool you, friends - these meatball subs are spectacular. Just make sure you invest in some heavy-duty napkins before you dig in. :)

I've been on the hunt for a good meatball recipe for quite some time, and I was not disappointed by this one at all! True to Ellie Krieger form, this recipe is packed with flavor and healthful goodness in just the right proportions. I was hesitant to try it at first since it included shredded carrot in the meatballs themselves, but I was surprised to find that this addition easily replaced some of the usual breading you'd include and was hardly even noticeable. For those of you with children or otherwise picky eaters in the house, this could be a really good trick to sneaking them more veggies! Ellie's recipe included a homemade sauce that sounded too smoky for my taste, so I simply substituted some jarred marinara that I happened to have in the cupboard, with much success. The sandwich recipe is easily adaptable for anyone's tastes, but I was mostly excited to find such a healthy, flavorful way to make meatballs... and you can bet I'll be using it in the future for other meatball-worthy recipes.

Meatball and Pepper Heroes
adapted from The Food You Crave
makes 6 servings, 415-500 calories each

For the Meatballs
cooking spray
1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
1 slice whole-wheat bread, crusts removed and pulsed into crumbs in a food processor
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Other Ingredients
1 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced into thin strips
1/2 medium red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 roughly 4-inch sub sandwich rolls
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. To make the meatballs: Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Form into 1-2 inch balls and place on the baking sheet (should yield about 18). Broil until browned and almost entirely cooked through, about 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the marinara in a small saucepan. Once the meatballs are browned, place in the warm marinara and simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and salt and cook until the peppers are soft and the onions golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Preheat your broiler. If not already sliced, cut the sandwich rolls in half, being careful not to cut all the way through, so the two halves stay connected. Scoop the soft center out of the bread and discard.
5. Place 3 of the meatballs and some of the sauce on one side of each sandwich roll. Top with the pepper mixture. Moisten the other side of each sandwich with more of the sauce and sprinkle all over with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. These meatballs sound awesome. I bet they would be great over spaghetti too :)

  2. Sometimes the least photogenic food is the TASTIEST! But for what it's worth, I think they look incredibly delicious. I think I want these for!

  3. Don`t worry about the photo, the sub looks amazing!! I think I would have gone for the marinara sauce as well. My son saw the pic and now he wants me to make meatball subs!

  4. This looks so yummy! I need to go freezer diving for some hamburger! I left a blog award for you over on my blog :)

  5. Thank you so much Dee! That means a lot! :)

  6. Aaarrrrghhhh. I'm using Hubby's computer so I can't bookmark this and I REALLY want to. I love your review of the meatballs especially. The carrot inclusion sounds perfect. I'm going to make these, even though Hubby's going to wonder what the weird bookmark is. :)


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