Epic Vegan Meatball Subs

The best meatball subs you'll ever try—and yes, they're vegan! The secret is the flavorful simmer sauce, which comes together easily and pairs perfectly with store-bought vegan meatballs.
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Vegan meatball subs with simmer sauce, vegetarian meatballs, and dairy-free cheese.
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I recently fell into the world of veganism. Though I was loving many new plant-based dishes and creations, I found myself wondering when my desires for some old meat-lover favorites would surface and pull me back.

While shopping at Sprouts one day, I came across Gardein’s meatless meatballs and had an ah-ha moment: What if I could re-create one of my all-time favorites but plant-based? That’s how these awesome vegan meatball subs came to be. 

These fabulous vegan meatball subs fast filled a void I assumed I’d live with when I went plant-based. Excited by how delicious these were, I’ve shared them with many friends and family and everyone has loved them. Give them a try, you’ll love ’em too!

Vegan Meatball Subs Recipe


Vegetarian Meatballs

This recipe can be made with most vegan meatballs! We used Gardein classic vegan meatballs which are now widely available at mainstream grocery stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and even Target. These meatballs are quite firm and don’t fall apart after being cooked for a long time.

Ingredients for vegan meatball subs with labels.

Dairy-Free Cheese Shreds

For the cheese, great options are Miyoko’s vegan mozz or Field Roast CHAO cheese slices. But you can use any plant-based cheese you can get your hands on!

Pasta Sauce

Pick your favorite pasta sauce or marinara to use in this recipe! You can go with store bought sauce or homemade pasta sauce or Arrabiata. This will even work with not-so-great sauces, since you’ll be ramping up the flavor with added spices. You can freeze any leftover sauce or save it for pasta, bread dipping, or another batch of meatball subs.

The Perfect Meatball Sub Simmer Sauce

You could certainly grab a jar of sauce, microwave it with vegan meatballs, throw it on a roll, and call it a day. But, dear reader, I promise the little extra TLC involved in making a simple simmer sauce and leveling up basic marinara is well worth the effort.

Simmering the sauce with onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, and spices creates the most incredible blanket of flavor for your veggie meatballs.

Veggie meatball simmering in pasta sauce in a pan.

Take It To A Party!

These vegan meatball subs make for a great dish to take to parties. For a recent football get together, I took a crock pot of my marinara meatballs and some slider rolls and they were a huge hit. They’ve now been served to countless friends and family members—vegan and omnivore alike—all with rave reviews. 

Vegan holding a huge meaty plant-based meatball sub sandwich.

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Vegan Meatball Subs

Author: Greg Hicks | World of Vegan
5 from 7 votes
These vegan meatball subs are easy to make and will satisfy any meat-lover’s cravings for a hearty, savory meal. If you like leftovers or are cooking for more than two, double the recipe!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 1/2 jar pasta sauce, approximately 12 ounces
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • teaspoon dried basil
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 vegan meatballs, 1 package, frozen
  • ½ bell pepper, sliced or chopped, or 1 cup frozen bell pepper slices
  • ¼ cup onion, sliced or diced
  • ¼ jalapeño, diced, optional for additional spice
  • 2 hoagie rolls, deli fresh crusty bread rolls
  • ½ cup vegan cheese shreds, such as grated Miyoko's Mozz


  • In a large saucepan add marinara sauce and spices and mix thoroughly.
  • Then add frozen meatballs, cover over medium heat, and allow to come to a boil (about 15 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low, add bell peppers, onions, and optional jalapeño and allow to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes (or until meatballs are hot all the way through), stirring occasionally.
  • To prepare rolls, slice open and use your fingers to compress the inner roll. Add cheese inside the roll and heat in microwave for 10-15 seconds per roll to soften and melt.
  • Fill each roll with piping hot meatballs and sauce. (If desired, add extra cheese on top and broil briefly to melt.)



  • If you’re cooking for more than two or love leftovers, double the recipe! The leftover meatballs and sauce make a great addition to a pasta marinara for dinner the following night.
  • You can find vegan hoagie rolls at many mainstream grocery stores in their fresh-baked section—but it will take some label reading! I’ve found them at both Safeway and Ralph’s.


Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1806mg | Potassium: 874mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1727IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 5mg
Course — dinner, Lunch
Cuisine — Italian
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.

Vegan meatball subs recipe by Greg Hicks and photos by Michelle Cehn for World of Vegan. Article edited by Amanda Meth. Hungry for more plant-based inspiration from Greg? Follow him on Instagram at @EmpowerVegans

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Omg Subway can not top this! To make it even better its plant-based! 🙂

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    These vegan meatball subs are incredible! Subway at home and cruelty-free!

  3. 5 stars
    Out of this world!! They’re just like the meatball subs that my Italian grandmother used to make when I was growing up. I love them! The tips on how to get the sub itself prepped and how to add the cheese were really helpful. Even my non-vegan husband asked for more! Highly recommended!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, these subs look incredible and so so delicious! All of the photos look really great as well and are making me hungry! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    These meatball subs are so good—I love Gardein! Great for spicing up your lunch routine.

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