To me, the meatball sub is the embodiment of a perfect sandwich. What’s not to love? You’ve got savory and juicy meatballs coated with sweet marinara sauce and topped with provolone and mozzarella cheese.
And then, all of that goodness is sandwiched in a toasted garlic submarine bun. One bite of this scrumptious and hearty sub gives me eternal bliss.
But you know what gives me even more joy when devouring a meatball sub? Eating it with the perfect side dish to round out the meal.
Here’s a tip when picking a meatball pairing: choose dishes with mild flavors. The meatball sub is already so rich, so you’ll want something light and refreshing to balance things out.
If you’re still unsure, let me help you out! Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with meatball subs.
1. Creamy Coleslaw
Coleslaw always makes a good pairing with any sandwich, and a meatball sub is no exception. The refreshing salad offers mild flavors that contrast the heaviness of the sub.
Plus, it’s a breeze to make, too – just shred some cabbage and carrots and coat it with your choice of dressing. You can go with the classic mayonnaise dressing, but a tangy vinegar-based one works just as well. If you still want a creamy slaw minus the calories, use low-fat mayo or Greek yogurt instead.
2. Pasta Salad
Here’s another light and refreshing side that pairs well with meatball subs: pasta salad. What I love about this dish is its versatility. You can customize it to suit your preferences, as long as you stick to one basic formula: al dente pasta + veggies + protein + fats + herbs and spices + salad dressing.
So, whether it’s tortellini with red peppers, zucchini, and Italian dressing, or bow tie pasta with tomatoes, ham, and pesto, or fusilli with broccoli, cucumber, and vinaigrette, you really can’t go wrong.
3. Chips and Salsa
Give our American-Italian dish a Mexican flair by eating it with some chips and salsa! The crispness of the chips offers a wonderful contrast to the tenderness of the sub, making them an excellent pair.
Also, think about it – you’ve already got some marinara sauce prepared, so why not just use that as your salsa? Sure, marinara may be a little thicker than salsa, but the flavor profiles are very similar. If you’ve got some of that mozzarella cheese left, even better!
To prepare this crunchy side, just open a bag of tortilla chips, pour over the marinara, and sprinkle the mozzarella. Microwave for a few minutes or until the cheese melts, and you’re all set.
4. Baked Potato Wedges
Okay, I know I’m breaking my rule here of serving light dishes with a meatball sub. But we all know that potatoes are the epitome of side dishes! I like baked potato wedges for meatball subs best. Since this is an indulgent and hearty combination, you’ll want to save this combination for days where it’s okay to splurge.
Here’s how to make golden, crisp, and tender potato wedges:
Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, cut the halves again lengthwise, and then cut those again lengthwise. This should give you 8 equally sized wedges.
Coat the potatoes in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper.
Transfer the potatoes into a baking tray with the skin sides down. Top it with Parmesan cheese and bake for 18 minutes at 390 degrees. Flip the wedges over and then bake for another 17 minutes. Top with more Parmesan cheese and they’re done!
Now, going back to light sides for a meatball sub, here’s another one: salad. Not only is it easy to make and nutritious, but it also gives a nice crunch that complements the sub well.
Just like pasta salad, you can customize this dish to suit your taste. No matter what leafy greens, veggies, protein, and dressing you pick, it will work well with your meatball sub. My favorite is spinach with apples or pears, walnuts or pecans, and a simple balsamic dressing.
This section is for sweet-tooths like me who can’t end their meals without dessert. With something as heavy as a meatball sub, though, you’ll want to go light on the dessert (or not). Here are some fantastic options:
A meatball sub is already heavy in calories, so how about just a simple fruit to end your meal? Give your palate something refreshing such as a few slices of apples, pears, watermelon, honeydew, oranges, mangoes, or peaches.
Or, if you have several fruits lying around, why not make a fruit bowl? Slice up some of your favorite fruits, place them in a bowl, and drizzle them with some honey or Greek yogurt.
You can also transform your fruit into a simple shortcake. Here’s how: layer some ladyfingers (or biscuits, or cookies, the options are endless), your favorite fruit (strawberries, mangoes, peaches, whatever you have), and whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least two hours and serve!
Okay, I know brownies are sinful, but it’s an excellent way to end any meal, meatball sub included. It’s rich, decadent, and downright amazing. Plus, it’s super easy to make.
Brownies are such a forgiving dish, even non-bakers can pull them off easily.
10. Chocolate Cake
It’s another sinful dessert, I know, but you can never go wrong with ending a meal with chocolate! So go ahead, indulge yourself, and have a slice.