Sneaky Meatball Subs are a fun and flavorful dinner. These healthy meatballs are freezer-friendly, too!
I’ve never been much of a sneak. Besides the whole moral dilemma, I’m just no good at it!
Too square to sneak out of the house in high school.
Too guilt-ridden after getting my nose pierced in college to wait even 24 hours before calling home to confess.
Too giggly to try and lie about really anything. I can’t help it!
What happens when sneaky behavior can be used for good instead of evil, like with the stealthy addition of healthy vegetables into a yummy meatball sub?! I saw we sly dogs go for it!
Whether you’re looking to “sneak” some extra veggies into your children’s, spouse’s, or your OWN diet, the addition of grated zucchini into 100% ground turkey meatballs not only gives this fun and flavorful dinner a vitamin boost, but also keeps the meatballs ultra moist and juicy.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you’re going to expose our sneaky secret but either way, nobody will be turning down homemade meatballs snuggled in a toasty bun, topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese!
Start the Sneaky Meatball Subs by making the turkey meatballs laced with zucchini and seasonings.
Attach the grating blade to a food processor then send 1 small zucchini, 1/4 small onion, and 4 garlic cloves down the chute.
If you don’t have a food processor – no worries – just use a box cheese grater, flat grater, or if you can’t get your hands on any of those items, chop everything up small.
Remove the zucchini mixture to a bowl, pull out the grating blade and switch to a non-sharp S-blade, then add the zucchini back to the processing bowl.
Now add 1lb ground turkey to the mix. I went with 100% ground turkey vs 100% ground turkey breast as regular ground turkey is a bit higher in fat, which makes the meatballs moist and juicy.
To the turkey, add 1 egg white, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce,
and 1/2 teaspoon each Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Finally, add 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs then pulse the ingredients together until well combined and scoop into a large bowl. Alternatively, use your hands to mix everything up.
Roll the mixture into 15 balls using about 2 Tablespoons worth of the turkey mixture per ball.
Place the meatballs onto a non-stick sprayed wire rack (don’t forget this step or your balls will stick to the rack – GAH! ) on top of a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center.
While the meatballs cool ever so slightly slice up 1oz portions of mozzarella cheese.
Place 3 meatballs into the center of a hot dog or hoagie bun,
top with your favorite marinara sauce,
then lay the mozzarella cheese on top.
Broil until the sauce is warm, and the cheese is golden brown & gooey!
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/4 small onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup crushed gluten-free Rice Chex or panko bread crumbs
- 5 gluten-free or regular hoagie or hot dog buns
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 5oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- Grate the zucchini, onion and garlic in a food processor with the grating blade attached, then remove the contents to a separate bowl. Alternatively you could use a box grater for the zucchini and onion, and finely mince the garlic, or chop by hand. Attach a non-sharp S-blade to the food processor then return the zucchini mixture to the processing bowl.
- Add the ground turkey, egg white, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Rice Chex or bread crumbs to the food processor then pulse to combine. Alternatively, use your hands to mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees then place a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet, and spray generously with non-stick spray. Shape turkey mixture into 15 meatballs, using ~2 Tablespoons of the mixture per meatball. Place onto the wire rack and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until no longer pink the center.
- Turn the oven to broil, then open up the buns and place three cooked meatballs in the center. Spoon marinara sauce on top of the meatballs, then top with 1oz mozzarella cheese per sub. Broil until the sauce is warm, and cheese is golden brown.
- To freeze and reheat leftover meatballs: Cool cooked meatballs completely then place the baking sheet into the freezer until meatballs are frozen solid, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. To reheat, microwave for 4-5 minutes, or place onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
I tell you what – you can sneak vegetables into my meals any day of the week if they come out tasting like these meatballs, which made the subs taste so decadent and comforting. I could have put back 10!
The zucchini practically melted into the ground turkey, and I couldn’t pick out its texture for anything. Nor the onions, which is what always gets Ben. He HATES crunchy onions. Grated is the way to go!
What’s even more beautiful about this recipe, is that the leftover meatballs freeze beautifully.
To freeze the leftover meatballs let them cool on the baking sheet, then pop the baking sheet into the freezer to let the meatballs freeze solid. Place the frozen meatballs into freezer bags or containers. To reheat, just crack the lid and microwave for 4-5 minutes, or bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees on a sheet pan.