Meatball Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Peppers

A great meatball sandwich has two important elements: well-seasoned meatballs and a richly-flavored sauce. This recipe delivers on both counts! We like to bake our meatballs because it saves a little prep time and cuts down on fat. Our mushroom and pepper sauce is a chunky blend of onions, garlic, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers and diced tomatoes. Not only does it add a lot of flavor, it brings a healthy dose of vegetables to this classic sub shop favorite.

Meatball Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Peppers

Meatball Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Peppers

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Baked meatballs and a chunky sauce made with mushrooms, onions, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes make our homemade version of this sandwich shop favorite into a deliciously hearty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, or turkey or chicken
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 six-inch hoagie rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the mushroom-pepper sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil and coat it with nonstick spray.
  • Place the ground meat, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine well and form into 1-1/4 inch diameter meatballs (you should have about 16).
  • Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes, then turn them and continue baking until cooked through and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes longer.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
  • While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until any liquid they’ve given off has evaporated and they begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes longer.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add the peppers and continue cooking until they’re slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  • Continue cooking, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken, then reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan.
  • Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Add the meatballs and turn to coat with sauce.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls lengthwise, spread flat and add 3 to 4 meatballs to each.
  • Top each with a portion of sauce and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
  • Put a fresh piece of foil on your baking pan, arrange the sandwiches in a single layer and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Recipe Variation:

A pound of store-bought Italian sausage (hot or sweet), can be substituted for the meatballs. Use kitchen shears to cut the links into 1-inch pieces, bake as directed for the meatballs and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
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