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Italian Meatball Subs

This is one of those recipes you always come back to. A flavorful tomato sauce and mildly spiced meatballs make a hearty sandwich filling, or they can be served over pasta. I broil the meatballs first to quickly brown them. —Jean Glacken, Elkton, Maryland
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 4 hours
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 Italian rolls, split
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk; add the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add beef and sausage; mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls. Preheat broiler. Place meatballs in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 4 minutes; turn and broil 3 minutes longer.
  • Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine the tomato sauce and paste, onion, green pepper, wine, water and seasonings; pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve on rolls. Sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 sandwich: 501 calories, 24g fat (8g saturated fat), 137mg cholesterol, 1410mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 29g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • justmbeth
    Jan 15, 2015

    I thought these were ok. I typically will make my family meatball recipe ahead of time or buy frozen, use jarred sauce, heat, and assemble sandwiches, toasting in the oven, for a quick meal. This was not any better than that method. Sauce was just ok.

  • Angel182009
    Jul 3, 2014

    These were delicious and I loved how I could just throw them in the slow cooker. I did make a healthier choice with these and used ground turkey instead of ground beef and I served them along side sweet potato fries. I will definitely be making these again!

  • punkb94
    Jan 19, 2014

    I have a question, Could I roll the meatballs the day before, refrigerate and then broil and place in crock pot next day?

  • brandangelak
    Jul 17, 2013

    The meatballs for this sandwich were so tender and juicy! I was worried they might dry out in the crock pot, but they were moist and had a lot of flavor. The sauce was also delicious. Even my 8-year-old, who hates anything in tomato sauce, went back for more! I served these on whole wheat french rolls, but next time I think I'll serve them either by themselves or over pasta - the bread just wasn't necessary. They are that good!

  • kafaughn
    May 14, 2013

    No comment left

  • ValerieMS
    Jan 19, 2012

    This is an excellent recipe. I did not use any salt because I have high blood pressure, but it did not need it. I added grated low-fat mozzarella to the sandwiches. Next time I plan to put the mozzarella on the buns and broil them for a minute or so before adding the meatballs.

  • annmariemaywiggins
    Dec 13, 2011

    No comment left

  • sd20
    Oct 11, 2011

    Very good and flavorful! This recipe is a keeper and will be making it again. This was easy to put together and I love using the crockpot.

  • joniotto
    Sep 28, 2011

    I've never had much luck with meatballs....they were either too dry or fell apart or were I almost didn't try this recipe, but I'm so glad that I did! These were easy to make up and just took a few minutes to brown under the broiler. I love the fact that you finish cooking them in the crock pot in the sauce - keeping them tender & juicy. I used lean ground beef along with the sausage and they had such a good flavor. I may add a jar of pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce next time just so we will have a little extra for the subs. I also used quick release foil on the broiler pan for a fast clean-up. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • skschwarz
    Feb 8, 2011

    I have a family of picky eaters & this was a HIT! It was also so simple to make. I love that it cooks in the crockpot & is ready when we are ready to eat! It is def one to add to our 'favorites' cookbook!!!