Meatball Boats

by Sara Lilian



My family loves meatball subs – it was the first sandwich my son would eat. My daughter, however, cannot stand the messiness of regular meatball subs. This recipe makes everyone happy, and it is delicious, easy, and dinner is ready in no time.

I adjust the quantity of cheese for each person which is easy to do, and nice that each person gets what they like. Sometimes I cook green pepper and onion to add when I spoon on the marinara. My husband loves the addition of peppers and onions.
Another wonderful thing about these meatballs is that you can double the recipe and freeze the extra. This is helpful for when you need a quick meal but forgot to plan for dinner!

I really love that these are boats. On weekends when we have guests over to watch football, these are much easier to eat than a sandwich. I found smaller rolls that are perfect when making a snacking spread. Mini Meatball Boats are always a huge hit with our guests – pizza doesn’t cut it once everyone has had these boats!



1 lb. ground beef
1 large egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cup marinara sauce
4 crusty Italian sandwich rolls
12 slices provolone
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef with egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, and parsley.
Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Form into 12 evenly sized meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil.
Cook meatballs until seared on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add marinara sauce, gently stir, and cover with a lid.
Turn the heat down to simmer until meatballs are no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes more. Internal temperature of the meatballs should be 160°F.

Prepare the Bread Boats
Cut a long rectangle through the top of the bread loaf and hollow the top of your hoagie roll out to make a boat.

Lay three slices of provolone over the roll to cover the hollowed-out area and bake for 5 minutes, until melted. Then place four meatballs on top of the cheese in a row.

Spoon marinara over the meatballs. Sprinkle the mozzarella equally over the meatballs. Then sprinkle the parmesan.

Place in the oven and bake 6-8 minutes more. Broil if desired.


• Bread: Italian or French sandwich rolls are great because they have a nice crusty exterior and do not get soggy. Check you local bakery or the bakery section of your grocery and I am sure you will find a great roll for these meatball boats.

• Garnish with chopped fresh basil for a bit of color and great flavor!

• Use half ground beef and half Italian Sausage for a deeper flavor meatball.

• For a party platter, use rolls that are smaller (about half the length of a regular bun). You can even make the meatballs smaller to be proportionate with the smaller “boat.”

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