Mini Meatball Subs with Provolone and Basil Pesto

Mini Meatball Subs

One of my absolute favorite comfort foods is spaghetti and meatballs. There’s nothing better than twirling your fork around a big bowl of spaghetti and spearing a saucy meatball with your fork. It just oozes “comfort” to me.

So, when I found myself with a few sandwich rolls leftover from these, a couple slices of provolone cheese, ground beef and plenty of basil, I decided to make a fun, comfort-food-inspired weekend lunch for my husband and I.

Mini Meatball Subs with Basil Pesto

Topped with my Easy Basil Pesto, these mini meatball subs were a terrific treat that I’m pocketing as a future idea for when friends come over. They’re easy, delicious and devoured in about two bites – especially by hungry boys!

All it takes are the traditional meatball ingredients – ground beef (if you want to go the traditional Italian route with beef, veal and pork, go right ahead), breadcrumbs, onion, green pepper, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and spices. Roll ‘em into balls, bake and then plop into a pot of simmering pasta sauce. Then, onto the lightly toasted rolls they go. A little more sauce on top (or a lot), gooey Provolone cheese and a pinch of pesto make these meatballs melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Make these for a party, your family and friends, or whenever you need to feed a lot of people! Or, better yet, use this recipe as a reference for leftover spaghetti and meatballs. They’re usually better the next day anyway!

Mini Meatball Subs with Provolone

Mini Meatball Subs with Provolone

Yield: 8 sandwiches


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers or breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 26.5 ounce can pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 dinner rolls, split and lightly toasted
  • + 1 batch Easy Basil Pesto


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Combine ground beef, onion, green pepper, crumbs and egg in a large bowl. Season with Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper; mix well. Form mixture into 8 meatballs. Place meatballs in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake meatballs in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Pour the pasta sauce into a large saucepan; bring to a simmer over low heat. Stir baked meatballs into the simmering sauce. Do not turn oven off. Simmer meatballs sauce for 5 minutes.
  4. Place one meatball, provolone cheese, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a spoonful of sauce between each roll. Place sandwiches in hot oven; bake until cheeses melt, about 7 minutes. Top with 1/4 teaspoon of basil pesto and serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

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Join the Conversation

  1. First, I just have to say.. I am so envious of your picture taking skills! Your pictures are always so stunning and beautiful!!
    With that said… YUM!! I love meatball subs. What a great little weekend treat! Also, loving the idea of the pesto on top.. delicious!

  2. Love the addition of pesto!!!

  3. OMG, how cute are these???! I love everything about them. Hand one over here daaahling, I am hungry for some mini meatball subs!
    *kisses* HH

  4. Those make me so hungry! Bet those meatballs would so good with some pasta.

  5. Fresh basil is one of my favorites…looking forward to trying this!

  6. These are so cute! Such gorgeous photos as well.

  7. I LOVE pesto! This looks amazing.
    Great blog too! I am excited to check it all out!

  8. I’ve been craving meatballs for a while now and these pictures just added fuel to the fire!

  9. What I would give to have those for lunch today! They look fantastic.

  10. These look so good, Georgia! I love your photographs, I cook at night & photograph at night using lights so I envy your ability to use natural light all the time! Thank you for your sweet comments on The Little Kitchen. Your blog is gorgeous, I definitely get a comfy feel from it.

  11. Meatball subs make me think of college because one of my roommates used to make them sometimes! Yours like 15x better than hers though which means they’d be 15x more delicious!

  12. for a carnivore like me these are heaven with bread :)) great looking photos !

  13. This sub looks so rich and delicious! Beautiful photos too:) Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your kind comment:)

  14. how cute are these!

    if you dont mind me asking… who designed your blog?

  15. Everything is always so much cuter when made mini! Your sandwhich is making me drool, and I finished up lunch a mere hour ago!

  16. Hi! I found your blog through Brian’s A Thought For Food. These mini meatball subs look so cute! I love little versions of foods (that way I can eat more haha). And topping with pesto sounds delicious!

  17. Claire – My blog designer was Shay at Dumplin Design Studio. Her info is at the bottom right of the page. I can’t recommend her enough!

  18. Your mini subs are adorable! I love your gorgeous presentation and they sound delicious too!

  19. I’m not sure what my problem is, but I’ve been craving meatballs lately. Just had some the other night, but now I want more! Immediately. :)

    Beautiful photos!

  20. I couldn’t agree more that spaghetti and meatballs are just fabulous… :) Love the blog and thanks for visiting mine!

  21. I love mini meatball subs! I could totally use my ground soy with this recipe. Yum!

  22. Georgia these look wonderful and perfect for my comfort month theory! You blog and photos are lovely by the way.

  23. Your amazing photos are making me miss pesto! I had a basil plant this summer and I loved making homemade pesto on the fly. Only a few more months…

  24. I love meatball subs! Yours look delicious :)

  25. This is perfect – what a tasty, beautiful, colorful sub!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  26. You are one talented photographer my friend! Those are some delicious looking bites you’ve put together. Love them!

  27. Gorgeous snaps! My husband would go crazy for these little babies!

  28. I love the combination of two classic sauces. I’ll sure give this a try.

  29. I so agree, the perfect comfort food taking me back to my mother’s sauce and meatballs! Love the idea of meatball sliders with a topping of pesto. Your photos are always gorgeous!

  30. Oh these look good. I have been craving meatball subs something fierce. The pesto is a wonderful addition.

  31. Goodness these sound lovely! I’m licking my lips!

  32. These are adorable!

  33. How cute are those mini meatball subs!? They look soooo good and I love the addition of the basil pesto on top. YUM!

  34. 5 stars
    Mouthwatering photos! Those meatball subs look delicious. Hubby would be very happy if I were to make these for him. :)

  35. How adorable and delish. Congrats on the top 9 today!

  36. These look so cute! And I seem to be sort of meatball centric lately, so they look delicious!

  37. What a great idea! These would be so great for a party. I love sliders, love meatballs and love meatballs subs so yeah – I’ll be making these.

  38. Great dish. I wud love to have it any time. Congrats on top 9 !

  39. 5 stars
    Love how you top these little subs with that bright green, fresh pesto sauce. Beautiful!

  40. 5 stars
    awsome photos for an oustanding recipe !! great

  41. Why have I never thought to top my meatball sandwiches with pesto?? What a great idea!!!

  42. 5 stars
    So cute, great idea!!

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