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Mouth-Watering Meatless Meatball Sub!

Meatless meatball sub

Guess what we had for the 4th of July? Call us lazy but we didn’t feel like roasting or barbequing! The idea of making a meatball sandwich came up. Not your garden variety meatball sandwich, we raised the bar a little this time! Truth be told, we cheated because instead of making vegan meatballs from scratch, we ended up using Gardein’s meatballs instead. It gave us more time to focus on making sauces and layers of extra flavors! We love these meatballs!

Gardein's Meatless Meatballs

They are a perfect size, not too dense but enough to fool any meat eater. In terms of ingredients, they do contain some soy and a little wheat gluten. They are very affordable. You get 12 balls per bag and we end up cutting them in half, so a bag lasts a long time! We use them on pasta, pizza, you name it!


One of the keys to making this sandwich really stand out is to start with a good tomato sauce and simmer the meatless meatballs in it until the sauce thickens. You are not making sloppy Joes, so getting it to the right consistency is important.

Meatles meatballs in tomato sauce
meatballs in reduced tomato sauce

We used Classico but any other sauce will do as long as the tomatoes look bright red. It is always good to stay away from tomato sauce that is dark and dull. That is heartburn waiting to happen!

We also made a fresh aioli sauce adding various herbs we have growing in the garden (3 kinds of basil, some schizo leaves, 2 types of mints!) to vegan mayonnaise. We used 2 cloves of garlic (but feel free to only include one if you don’t digest raw garlic).


Herbs in mortar and pestleWe decided to use our mortar this time because we were only making enough for 4 sandwiches. I think that using a mortar as the Thai people do for all of their sauces really increases the amount of flavor you can extract from fresh herbs. It does take a little more time and elbow grease but it is a wonderful experience to see the fiber give in and release its juice. Cleaning a mortar and a pestle after you are done is also a lot easier than a food processor. So there, 2 good reasons to start using your mortar if you have one!

Since there are quite many things in this sandwich, we opted for the same rolls we used for making our Banh mi. They are perfect, just scoop a little of the middle to make more space and you are good to go.

After the last freak heatwave, we had, our arugula kind of bolted so we picked the last small leaves for that peppery touch in the middle.

caramelized onionsWe also slowly cooked some caramelized onions. These are good on so many other things, pizza, pasta… We like to double the recipe because they keep for well over a week refrigerated.



We also made a side of our favorite Asian coleslaw. This is another great way to incorporate more fresh herbs daily. Since mincing fresh herbs can be a little messy if you do it by hand, we have noticed that since we bought a little fresh herb grinder, we use our herbs more often. You can find it in our store.Fresh Herb Grinder

We literally walk into our garden, harvest some leaves, stuff them into the grinder and use it straight into our plate. Talk about instant gratification!

There you have it, the perfect summer lunch!



Meatless meatball sub

Mouthwatering Meatless Meatball Sub

Impress vegans and carnivores with a meatless meatball sub that delivers on flavors, textures, and fullness every time for the perfect lunch.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 137 kcal


  • mortar and pestle or food processor


  • 4 French bread rolls


  • 8-10 Gardein meatless meatballs
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs


  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil, mint
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • 1 bunch arugula leaves
  • 4 pickles
  • 1 bag chips

Caramelized onions

  • 1 large white or yellow onions sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt


Prepare the meatless meatballs

  • Take the Gardein's meatball out of the freezer the night before.
  • Cut each meatball in half and pan-fry them in a little oil until they are done.
  • Pour 2-3 cups of tomato sauce and Italian herbs over the meatballs and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened. This should only take 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
    Meatles meatballs in tomato sauce

Make the aioli

  • In a mortar or a small food processor, add 2 cloves of garlic, 2-3 cups of fresh basil leaves and/or other green herbs, some salt, and pulse until you get a paste.
    Herbs in mortar and pestle
  • Add the vegan mayonnaise and pulse a few times. Add a litt water or olive oil if it is too thick.

Make caramelized onions

  • Over medium heat, cook the sliced onions in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
  • When they start to sweat, add the balsamic vinegar and salt, and quickly stir it. Cover and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
    caramelized onions
  • Set aside to cool down.


  • Cut each bread roll in half making sure to only cut one side so that it holds together when filled.
  • Spread a layer of aioli, then top with the meatballs and some of the tomato sauce.
  • Place a layer of caramelized onions on top of the meatballs.
  • Add several arugula leaves and/or lettuce leaves.
    Vegan Meatball Sub
  • Add a pickle on the side or inside the sub if you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of your favorite chips!


This sandwich goes great with coleslaw or green salad.  


Serving: 1gCalories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1309mgPotassium: 580mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1328IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 2mg
Keyword vegan meat
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