Turkey Meatball Sub

Turkey Meatball SubAll this running is making me hungry. Like I need a turkey meatball sub for lunch kind of hungry!

It doesn’t help that yesterday afternoon my friend Kate from Kailua dropped off fresh, rosemary rolls from Agnes Portuguese Bakery. She is a new friend, but it’s like she’s known me forever. Thank you Kate!

Maybe it’s Oahu that’s making me so hungry. There are so many amazing places to eat here and apparently I intend on finding all of them. I’m like Giada in Weekend Getaways…only much less glamorous and I’m dragging along two kids instead of a stylish tote bag. Touche.

When I was young I would familiarize myself with a new place by finding a record store, a coffee shop and probably a piercing parlor. Now I seem to be on a endless scavenger hunt to find the best places to eat and grocery shop in Oahu. If I know where the prime malasadas and shave ice are, then everything else will just fall into place. Right?

Luckily for me the new Honolulu Magazine is all about must try hole in the wall restaurants. The scavenger hunt continues!

But for now lets talk about meatball subs. I like to use ground turkey, but if you prefer ground beef or chicken be my guest. You will need good bread, nothing too hard or bready. The rosemary rolls from Agnes’ were perfect. When toasted they held up to the meatballs and sauce without getting soggy, but they were soft enough to bite right through. If a turkey sandwich just isn’t going to be satisfying enough, might I suggest you take it up a notch.

Turkey Meatball Sub on a Rosemary Roll


For the Meatballs:

1 pack lean ground turkey

1 egg

2 T finely diced onion

2 T finely diced tomato

1 t minced garlic

1/4 C panko bread crumbs

1 heaping T chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 t salt

cracked pepper

1/4 C red wine

1 jar of homemade or store-bought marinara sauce

For the Sub:

4 Good Quality Hoagie Rolls


Sliced Vine-ripened Tomatoes

Fresh Mozzarella Slices

Fresh Basil torn or chiffonade

Parmesan Cheese

How to:

Let’s start by making meatballs. Put your ground turkey in a bowl and add all the ingredients listed from the egg to the cracked pepper.

Ground Turkey and Meatball ingredients

By the way, I feel weird about taking pictures of raw meat.

Then get your hands dirty by mixing all the ingredients together. I like to use “the claw” technique. The claw is something I read about once, it is a hand mixing theory that should result in a meatball that is not packed so tight that it is tough and not packed too loose so it falls apart in the pan. I think it works.

Be ready, as soon as you get your hands dirty, your phone is guaranteed to ring.

Once you got all the ingredients worked in you can start forming balls. If your mixture feels too wet you can add more panko.

I got 15 meatballs out of 1 pack of turkey.

Turkey Meatballs ready to be cooked

I like to brown my meatballs in a pan. So get a pan hot and add some olive oil. The trick here is to not overcrowd your pan. Just resign to it right now that you will have to do this in two batches. If you overcrowd you will end up boiling your meatballs or they will fall apart and stick to the bottom which is no good.

You don’t have to cook them all the way through, just get a nice caramelization on them.


Browned turkey meatballsAdd the red wine to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the caramelized bits. Add the marinara and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the meatballs back to the pan, cover, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Turkey Meatballs in Marinara

Turn on your broiler. Open your rolls lengthwise, careful not to cut all the way through. Butter or olive oil the inside of the bread. Put the bread on a sheet pan and into the oven. Don’t walk away. Just stand there until you get a light toast.

Add the tomatoes and mozzarella and put the bread back in the oven until the cheese is melted. Watch very carefully!

Add 3 meatballs to each sub and top with basil and parmesan.

If you are married to a condiment man, put some mustard and chili flakes on the table. Otherwise, eat up. You deserve this!

Turkey Meatball Sub, Yummy

About Maui Flour Child

Aloha, I'm Maui Flour Child. I love cooking for my family & friends using fresh, local ingredients. Live life with aloha in your heart and flour in your hair! -Angela


  1. I can’t wait to try these!! So happy you found a use for the buns and even happier to have hung out with you a bit 🙂

  2. Monica Bustamante says:

    This looks phenominal! OMG i want it so bad right now

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