My husband loves meatball sub sandwiches. He has been putting in very long days at school, and so I thought that I would try to surprise him with some homemade meatball sub sandwiches when he got home. We use ground turkey a lot, have copious amounts of string cheese in our house, a huge basil plant begging to be used, and some turkey pepperoni left over from last weeks pizza making endeavors. All this culminated into the idea for turkey pepperoni pizza meatball sub sandwiches.
These turned out to be incredibly moist meatballs filled with melty cheese, pepperoni pieces and wonderful bursts of fresh basil flavor. I know my picture doesn't to it justice, bu frankly, we didn't want to wait long enough for me to style a decent picture before we ate.
It is your choice as to whether you add the meatballs to the crock pot after they are baked so they can absorb the tomato sauce a bit, or just put the baked meatballs straight onto a roll out of the oven and smothered in some sauce. I opted to throw them in with the sauce, and I am very happy with decision. They were a big hit, and even my 1 year old boy devoured them.
TURKEY PEPPERONI PIZZA MEATBALL SUBS
Makes approximate 8, 4 meatball servings
Crock Pot Tomato Sauce:
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons dried diced onion (or 2/3 cup diced fresh onion)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic (or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey, if needed, for sweetness
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
- 4 string cheese sticks, diced (like Sargento Reduced fat mozzarella sticks) or 3 oz. mozzarella diced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic (or 2 cloves, minced)
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 28 slices Hormel turkey pepperoni slices
- 8, four to six inch long sandwich rolls
- mozzarella or cheddar cheese slices
- In a 4-6 qt. crock pot combine tomatoes, water, onion, oregano, basil, garlic, and red pepper on high, for 3-4 hours.
- Season with salt to taste, and if the tomatoes are acidic, add a drizzle of honey to balance out the acid.
- Turn to low while preparing the meatballs.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the diced cheese, eggs, oregano, both basils, pepper, salt, garlic, onion, worcestershire sauce, and diced pepperoni.
- Add the ground turkey and oats and mix until just combined, do not over mix.
- Using a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, or a heaping tablespoon, drop them on to the baking sheet.
- Once all the meatball mix is scooped, go back and gently roll each into a ball. Do not over handle or compress them too much.
- Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are baked through.
- Once they are baked, they can either be placed into the sauce in the crock pot and allowed to bake on low for 1-2 hours (this is what I did) and then placed on the rolls with some cheese, or you can forgo putting the meatballs in the sauce, and place the baked meatballs on the rolls, right out of the oven, and pour sauce over the top, and then top with cheese. I like them cooked in the crock pot for a few hours so they mingle with the sauce and are wonderfully moist and juicy.