We’re taking a simple bag of Trader Joe’s Italian meatballs and turning it into a delicious meal of homemade meatball subs! This Trader Joe’s meatball recipe is EASY, filling, family-friendly, and made with just 5 ingredients. While I’m using ingredients from Trader Joe’s to make this meatball sub recipe, you don’t have to shop at Trader Joe’s, these ingredients are available at any store!
I am a big fan of meatball subs, but I rarely made them at home – until now! I’m not sure what took so long, they’re so easy to make, especially this version that leans on prepared ingredients from Trader Joe’s (Hi, Trader Joe’s frozen Italian meatballs!) , these easy meatball subs don’t take much effort at all.
What’s in a Meatball Sub?
We’re keeping the ingredients simple in these homemade meatball subs:
- Meatballs – There are a few Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs to choose from! There are Beef, Turkey, Party (Mini) Size, and Meatless varieties of meatballs at most Trader Joe’s, but I typically just stick with my favorite. Out of all of the meatballs at TJ’s, the Trader Joe’s Italian meatballs (beef) is my favorite and the one I usually buy. While I love making my own turkey and quinoa meatballs, the turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s are not my favorite (I think they end up a bit dry and tough!), so I usually stick with the beef ones.
- Best Bread for Meatball Sub: I prefer Italian bread for meatball subs, and instead of serving it sub-style, I like to toast the slices (with garlic butter for extra flavor!) so that they don’t get too soggy with the sauce. Using sliced bread also makes this meatball & marinara sub MUCH easier to eat. Sliced sourdough bread would also be a good option and Trader Joe’s has a pretty good sourdough loaf.
- Meatball Sub Sauce: In my opinion, there’s only one sauce for easy homemade meatball subs…Trader Joe’s marinara! You could use pizza sauce or tomato sauce in a pinch, but marinara is best. If you don’t want your sub to get too soggy, you can also leave it off the sandwich and serve it on the side as a dipping sauce.
- Meatball Sub Toppings: As with most toppings, you can keep it simple, or go all out. In this homemade meatball sub recipe I kept the meatball sub toppings simple. In addition to the basics (Trader Joe’s Italian meatballs, marinara sauce, and cheese) red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, and thinly sliced basil or Italian parsley would add a little extra flavor.
How to Make Meatball Subs:
Ok, if you’re wondering how to make a meatball marinara sub, I’m here to tell you that it’s EASY! Here’s how we make homemade meatball subs:
- Cook Trader Joe’s Italian meatballs. Cook according to package instructions and slice once they are done cooking.
- Toast bread. Spread slice of bread with garlic butter and broil for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Assemble meatball sub recipe. Top toasted garlic toast with marinara sauce, sliced meatballs, and mozzarella cheese. Broil another 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn!
- Garnish. Add additional meatball sub toppings if desired.
What Sides go with Meatball Sandwiches?
I’m all about easy, weeknight dinners, so keeping the sides for meatball subs easy is always key. Here are a few easy dinner side recipes to serve with your homemade meatball subs:
- Raw veggies + dip – Serve a variety of veggies (carrots, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, radishes, etc.) and a ranch dressing, hummus, or Greek yogurt veggie dip.
- Salad greens + dressing – Easiest, 2-minute side. Get a bag of ready-to-eat salad greens and top with a drizzle of dressing.
- Steamed or roasted broccoli – This would also be tasty ON your sandwich.
- French green beans – Make these haricot verts three ways!
- Simple green salad – Our “house” salad…that can be served with ANYTHING! Customize to your liking.
Homemade Meatball Subs Nutrition + Substitutes:
If you want to swap out any of the ingredients or add even more nutrition into these Trader Joe’s Italian style meatball subs, here are a few ideas:
- Sautéed greens – Layer in sautéed greens like broccoli raab, kale, or spinach for a nutritious addition.
- Serve with a veggie side (more ideas above)
- Vegetarian – Use a meatless meatball or a meatless Italian sausage
If you’re interested in homemade meatball sub calories and nutrition facts, you can find them all below the recipe card.
Note: The nutrition facts are just an estimate, as it will depend on what brand and variety of ingredients you use.
More Easy Trader Joe’s Recipes:
If you like this Trader Joe’s meatball marinara sub recipe, you might like some of my other easy trader joe’s recipes:
- EASY TRADER JOE’S eBook – 25 Insanely Fast Recipes, 10 Ingredients or Less – My eBook featuring 25 Trader Joe’s recipes not found on my site, just $9.99!
- 15 Easy Trader Joe’s Recipes – 15 of the most-popular Trader Joe’s recipes.
- 9 Healthy Items from Trader Joe’s You Need to Buy – What are the items that are always in my cart? THESE!
- Top 23 Frozen Foods to buy at Trader Joe’s – Add these to your next shopping list.
- 16 TJ’s Breakfast Items – These quick and balanced breakfasts can be taken on-the-go.
- Trader Joe’s Tikka Masala Lentils – Easiest meal around, perfect for meal prepping, and ready in just 10 minutes. Healthy, vegetarian, and packed with protein.
- Trader Joe’s Carne Asada with Pepper & Corn Salad – This dinner is quick enough for weeknight dinners (aka 20 minutes!) but fun enough for the weekend.
- Trader Joe’s Chicken & Vegetable Curry – Just 5 ingredients and contains all of the components you need in a meal.
If you love TJ’s dinner hacks, you’ll love this one! My homemade Trader Joe’s Italian Meatball Subs recipe is filling, easy, + delicious! Just 5 ingredients.
- 1 lb. Trader Joe’s Italian meat balls
- 8 slices Italian bread or sourdough
- 4 Tbsp. garlic butter
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- red pepper flakes
- Preheat broiler to high heat.
- Cook meatballs according to package instructions and set aside. Slice meatballs once cool enough to touch.
- Spread bread with garlic butter and broil for 2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Top garlic toast with a slather of marinara sauce, some of the sliced meatballs, and shredded cheese.
- Broil for another 1-2 minutes, until cheese has melted. Watch carefully so they don’t burn!
- Topping amounts are up to you! Love sauce, add some extra. Prefer to serve the sauce on the side? Do it!
- You can also make your own garlic butter. Stir together minced garlic (or garlic salt) with softened butter.
Keywords: sandwich, meatballs, trader joes recipes