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!
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.
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).
We 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.
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.
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!
Mouthwatering Meatless Meatball Sub
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add a pickle on the side or inside the sub if you prefer.
- Serve with a side of your favorite chips!