Bell Pepper Meatball Subs


Bell Pepper Meatball Subs are a delightful and nutritious twist on a classic sub sandwich. Featuring juicy meatballs nestled in tender bell pepper halves and topped with melted mozzarella cheese, this recipe combines fresh vegetables with savory meat for a satisfying meal. Perfect for a quick dinner or a hearty lunch, these subs offer a balanced mix of flavors and textures that will please any palate.

Overview of the Recipe

This recipe involves making flavorful beef meatballs, cooking them in marinara sauce, and then baking them in bell pepper halves topped with cheese. The final step is to serve this delicious mixture in sub rolls. It’s a straightforward recipe that requires about 45 minutes from start to finish, making it ideal for busy weeknights.

History and Origin

The meatball sub, a staple in American cuisine, traces its origins back to Italian-American communities in the early 20th century. Traditional meatballs were often served with pasta, but the sub variation emerged as a convenient and portable meal option. The addition of bell peppers not only enhances the nutritional value but also adds a fresh, crisp element to the dish, modernizing the classic recipe.


  • 500g minced beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 bell peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 sub rolls


  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Prepare the Meatball Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the minced beef, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, minced garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Form the Meatballs: Shape the mixture into small meatballs, about the size of a golf ball.
  4. Cook the Meatballs: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook them until they are browned on all sides, which should take about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Simmer in Marinara Sauce: Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs in the skillet. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked through.
  6. Prepare the Bell Peppers: Place the halved and deseeded bell peppers on a baking sheet.
  7. Fill the Bell Peppers: Spoon the meatballs and sauce into each bell pepper half, distributing evenly.
  8. Add the Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the meatballs in the bell peppers.
  9. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bell peppers are tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  10. Assemble the Subs: Serve the bell pepper meatball mixture in the sub rolls. Optionally, you can toast the sub rolls in the oven for a few minutes before adding the filling for extra crispiness.

Serving Suggestions

Bell Pepper Meatball Subs are best enjoyed warm, straight from the oven. Serve them with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a complete meal. They can also be paired with oven-baked fries or sweet potato wedges for a heartier option.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

For a balanced meal, pair these subs with a fresh green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. A side of roasted vegetables or a simple pasta salad would also complement the flavors well. For beverages, consider serving with iced tea, sparkling water with lemon, or a refreshing lemonade.

Variations of the Recipe

  1. Turkey Meatball Subs: Substitute minced beef with ground turkey for a lighter version.
  2. Vegetarian Meatball Subs: Use plant-based meat substitutes or lentil-based meatballs for a vegetarian option.
  3. Spicy Meatball Subs: Add some red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños to the meatball mixture for a spicy kick.
  4. Cheese Variations: Experiment with different cheeses like provolone, cheddar, or a spicy pepper jack.

Health Benefits

Bell peppers are rich in vitamins A and C, making them a healthy addition to this recipe. Beef provides essential proteins and iron, while using mozzarella cheese adds calcium to your diet. This dish offers a balanced mix of protein, vegetables, and grains, contributing to overall nutritional well-being.


  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
  • Freezing: The meatballs can be made in advance and frozen. Simply cook the meatballs, let them cool, and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Thaw and proceed with the recipe as directed.


Can I use a different type of meat? Yes, you can substitute beef with ground turkey, chicken, or a plant-based meat substitute.

How do I make the meatballs stick together better? Ensure you mix the ingredients thoroughly and don’t skip the egg and breadcrumbs, as they act as binders.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Yes, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and sub rolls to make the recipe gluten-free.

What can I use instead of marinara sauce? You can use any tomato-based sauce, such as arrabbiata or homemade tomato sauce.


Bell Pepper Meatball Subs are a delicious and versatile meal that combines the savory goodness of meatballs with the fresh, crisp flavor of bell peppers. This recipe is easy to make, nutritious, and can be adapted to suit various dietary preferences. Whether you’re making dinner for the family or meal-prepping for the week, these subs are sure to be a hit. Enjoy the blend of flavors and the satisfaction of a wholesome, home-cooked meal.

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