Merlot Meatball Sandwich


Last weekend, Dennis and I stopped at Subway for a sandwich for lunch. I do enjoy Subway as a healthy and quick lunch when we’re out running errands. I always make sure to order a sandwich that is under their Fresh Fit Choices. Most often, I will choose the Turkey Breast, every now and then, ordering the Black Forest ham. On Sunday, when we were there, the guy behind me ordered the meatball sub. I mentioned to him that his sandwich looked really good. He told me he gets it every time, it’s so good. I’ve looked at that sandwich on their menu so many times and most times when I’m at Subway, there is someone in line, either in front of me, or behind me, that orders the meatball sub, which tells me this is quite a popular menu item for them.

Since I am always watching what I eat, I decided I’d enjoy a meatball sub, but I would make it my way, using lean (the leanest, 93% lean) ground beef and also using low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese. (I do find that whole-fat cheese melts a little quicker, so feel free to use that if you would like.) This would take away some of the guilt of a meatball sandwich for me … I could enjoy a meatball sandwich after all.

For my meatballs, I mixed together a pound of lean ground beef with kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic. Once the meat and seasonings were mixed well, I added bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese and Merlot wine. I love to add wine to my pasta sauce and thought why not fancy up my meatballs for my meatball sandwich? I’m thinking of it as a meatball sandwich I’d feel comfortable serving to my guests … just a little over the top, making it somewhat special. I used a cookie scoop to ensure all meatballs were the same size, also figuring the cookie scoop would give me meatballs that weren’t too big for a sandwich.


I baked the meatballs in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

When I was going through my kitchen cabinet the other day, I came across something I bought at Williams-Sonoma when I was taking cooking classes there. They are grill presses, which can be used to ensure that meat is cooked evenly on a grill or griddle as well as a press for sandwiches, which is what I’ve decided to use mine for today.


I heated a jar of marinara sauce on the stove, which took no time at all. While the marinara sauce was heating, I toasted our rolls in the toaster. I then sprinkled shredded mozzarella cheese on the bottom half of the roll, added three meatballs, some marinara sauce, and then a little more cheese. I closed the sandwich and placed it on my indoor grill pan with the grill press on top.

Once the cheese was melted, I removed the sandwich for serving. Yum! I served our sandwiches with a simple arugula salad dressed in a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and a sprinkling of pepper. I also added a small dish of marinara sauce for dipping on everyone’s plate.


Kylie loved this sandwich enough that she asked me to add it to the cookbook I’m keeping for her. This is always music to my ears, hearing that she’s enjoyed a recipe that I’ve come up with.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Merlot
shredded mozzarella cheese
marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix meat, salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning and garlic. Add bread crumbs and parmesan and mix again. Lastly, add the wine and mix well.
  3. Form meatballs using a cookie scoop and place on a large sheet pan.
  4. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Toast rolls.
  6. Add cheese to bottom half of roll, placing 4 meatballs on top of cheese (with a good amount of sauce) and more cheese to the top. Close the sandwich and grill on a panini press or grill pan. If you don’t have a grill press you can squish your sandwich down using a spatula or place a small skillet on top of the sandwich.


Until next time, Kris



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