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Lunch Recipes

Meatball Parmesan Hero Recipe: Cheesy + Crispy

Some people call it a sub or grinder, but New Yorkers know this satisfying sandwich is a meatball parmesan hero.  There’s nothing better than Italian meatballs coated in tomato sauce with melted parmesan on crusty bread. And we have the perfect meatball parmesan hero recipe. Want that pull-apart-cheese effect? Swap in mozzarella slices and use the parmesan for garnish!

What’s better than Italian meatballs? Stuffing them in a crispy roll and covering them with warm marinara and gooey cheese. For flavorful meatballs, add breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs like parsley and basil to the mixture before shaping. Be careful not to over mix the meatball mixture. Instead, gently combine the ingredients until just mixed. And for a crispy exterior, consider browning them in a skillet before simmering in the marinara sauce. This added step caramelizes the exterior for a crispy bite.

Related: The Secret to Making The Perfect Meatball Subs — While Cutting Prep-time In Half!

And to elevate your sandwich game, toast the hero roll before assembling to add a delicious crunch to every bite. For a vegetarian twist, swap the meatballs for lentil or mushroom-based meatballs and follow the same cooking method. And don’t forget about the toppings! In addition to melted parmesan cheese, you can also drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze. Or go a bit spicy with some sliced jalapeños or chili flakes. Whether enjoyed for lunch or dinner, this meatball parmesan hero recipe is a timeless classic that never disappoints. It pairs great with a simple green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette or a bowl of creamy tomato soup for dipping.

For more flavorful meatball recipes, check out Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs, Asian Turkey Meatballs and Air Fryer Meatballs.


6 servings

Total Time

Prep Time

Cook Time


  • 1½ lbs. meatloaf mix
  • ½ cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, split, cut into 6 sections
  • 6 slices mozzarella


In bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs and 1⁄4 tsp. salt. Shape into 18 balls. Spread 1⁄2 cup sauce in bottom of slow cooker; add meatballs and top with remaining sauce. Cover; cook on low 3 hrs. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill bread with meatballs, sauce and cheese. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Heat until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted, about 5 min.


  • Calories: 540
  • Fat: 21 gram
  • Saturated Fat: 9 gram
  • Protein: 38 gram
  • Carbohydrate: 45 gram
  • Cholesterol: 155 mg
  • Sugar: 9 gram
  • Sodium: 1090 mg


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