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Pesto Meatball Subs ~ The Secret Recipe Club

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I always look so forward to this! “This”, being the reveal day for my Secret Recipe Club recipe that I made for my secretly assigned fellow foodie blogger! Everyone in the club is assigned a different blogger each month, secretly, and we choose one of their recipes to make and review for them! Like a “Secret Santa” exchange, only it’s bloggers, food and recipes! 😀  So much fun!! 😀




This month I had the heartwarming pleasure of being assigned to Amy’s blog, Amy’s Cooking Adventures, and had a blast snooping through her recipes! What a wonderful collection of recipes she’s shared for everyone!

She’s just an absolute sweetheart from the icy “tundra” of the upper midwest, an area I’m all too familiar with in the wintertime! When we say “cold”, we mean your toes freeze on the way to the mailbox and you wade your way back through three feet of snow with instantaneously formed frozen stalactites hanging down from your nose. And this is on a sunny, winter’s day!

But where Amy lives, is also one of the most beautiful parts of the United States! Year-round! Amy and her hubby, who is the love of her life and best friend, have two boys that will literally melt your heart, and one sweet angel daughter that just wasn’t ready to come down to Earth yet. So the angels are watching over her until it’s her time. For now, Sarah Catherine’s memory rests safely in the hearts of Amy and her family.

Not only does Amy cook, but she’s also a fabulous baker! She even has a second blog, Amy’s Confectionery Adventures, that I think you will also enjoy very much! She is also a Zumba instructor, has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Reading, and loves to sew, scrapbook and ride her bike when the weather is nice!

This time, I decided to let my hubby have a little fun, too, and let him decide what recipe to make. Any guesses on which “food aisle” he made a beeline for? Yep. Straight to the “meat department”. And I thought that that was a great choice since we’ve been eating lot of salads lately! He quickly swooped down onto her Pesto Meatball Sub recipe, and I swear, his eyeballs zoomed out cartoon-style – – “aaaooOOOOoogaaah“!!! Both of our mouths watered, so meatball subs it is! 😀 But she also had a lot of other ones that had us drooling! You simply must see her beautiful Strawberry Cucumber Salad! (I’m not going to spoil the surprise, you’ll just have to see for yourself! 😉 ) I also loved her recipes for Pizza Stuffed Buns , Ultimate Steak Salads , Sweet & Sticky Baked Chicken , and holy chocolate…you should check out her Salted Caramel Brownies! Oh, my GOODness!! 😀

But my hubby’s heart was set on some nice beefy, meaty, cheesy subs! And I couldn’t wait to make them!


The lean ground beef with the basil pesto, plus salt, pepper, bread crumbs and an egg!
Minimal ingredients, maximum flavor! 


pesto meatballs 1


I had 4 hoagie rolls in the freezer, so I ended up making 12 nice-sized meatballs. (Three for each roll). They’re simple and quick to make, and the pesto is divine in them! I chose to bake mine first, (just so that I didn’t have to chase them around the pan and you get to leave the fat behind on the baking sheet), then transferred them to my frying pan to finish them in the pasta sauce! The entire house filled with mouthwatering aromas while they were baking and simmering away! 😀


pesto meatballs rolled



Tip: Add a little coarse ground pepper on top! 😉 You’re welcome.


pesto meatball close


I actually prefer to bake my meatballs! Easy-peasy! 
And you get to leave the fat behind, not in the frying pan!


pesto meatballs baked



Remove with a sharp spatula, gently scrape away
the fat off the edges, and drain on paper towel! 


pesto meatballs draining


The only thing that I added, simply because I had them on hand, were some fresh mushrooms to the sauce. If I had had a pepper or two, I would’ve tossed that in there as well, but my peppers aren’t fully ripe yet. Soon, though! 😀 But the subs didn’t even need them anyways! They were absolutely delicious just as they were! 😀


Ready to simmer with mushrooms and pasta sauce!
(Yes, there is one missing….I know nothing.) 


pesto meatballs in sauce



The reduced sauce is now thick, rich and smelling heavenly!!


pesto meatballs reduced sc



The only real liberty I took was to make some garlic butter
to toast the hoagie roll with. SO GOOD!


garlic butter & hoagie roll



Top garlic bread with meatballs and a nice scoop of sauce!


pesto meatballs on hoagie roll


Make sure you use a nice brand of shredded mozzarella, too. We especially enjoy Sargento’s shredded mozzarella and provolone blend, but that’s just our own personal favorite because it has great flavor and it just melts so nicely! But use whatever brand you like best.


Did I mention how much we like cheese?!!


pesto meatballs with cheese



Be thankful they don’t have smell-o-vision yet!
Mercy, it smells good!!!!!


pesto meatball sub done



*Just be sure to watch your rolls and watch after you add the cheese. It only takes seconds under the broiler to go from lightly toasted to blackened lava!!!


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The meatballs were juicy and had very nice flavor! Homemade is always so much better than any restaurant, or especially, those little gray rubber ’70’s “super balls” they call meatballs, in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Just the thought of them makes me shudder.

If I hadn’t already had hoagie rolls on hand, Amy also has quite a few recipes for rolls that I would definitely have loved to have tried! So be sure to check out her section of Breads, too!

Thank you, Amy, for sharing such a fun and delicious recipe! The hubs and I were in 7th heaven! Absolutely fantastic and made for such an enjoyable, summer evening supper!


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*Please be sure to pop by Amy’s blog, Amy’s Cooking Adventures ,
and check out all of her wonderful recipes!


Have a beautiful day all, and enjoy the warm sunshine, Amy!
~ Let’s all go for a bike ride!  ~





Recipe adapted from Amy’s Cooking Adventures.

Pesto Meatball Subs ~ The Secret Recipe Club
Yield: 4-6 sub sandwiches

Pesto Meatball Subs ~ The Secret Recipe Club


  • 1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil, (*for frying pan method)
  • 1 lb. extra-lean (93% or better) ground beef, (or quality ground Italian sausage if you'd like*)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup seasoned Italian-style or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper, plus more on top
  • 24 oz. (3 cups) pasta sauce
  • 4 -6 hoagie rolls, depending on size
  • 6 Tbl. very soft butter, (*optional addition to Amy's recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, (*optional addition to Amy's recipe)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or as much as you'd like, (we enjoy Sargento's mozzarella and provolone blend)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Use your hands (with disposable gloves, if you wish) to thoroughly mix together the beef (or sausage), bread crumbs, egg, pesto, salt, & pepper. Form the meat mixture into 12 large 2", or 24 1"-sized, meatballs.
  • Cook the meatballs in the hot skillet, turning occasionally until the meatballs are browned on all sides (they can be a little underdone in the center, because they're going to cook in the sauce next). *You can also bake these on an ungreased or lightly sprayed baking sheet in the oven at 375º for 20-22 minutes for 12 - 2"-sized meatballs. (They may still be slightly pink in the center, but that's perfect for this).
  • Add the pasta sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking, stirring occasionally so that the sauce doesn't scorch. (The meatballs will be thoroughly cooked after 10 minutes). *The thicker the sauce you start with, the less time it will take.
  • Split open hoagie rolls almost all the way through, and spread insides with garlic butter. Place onto baking sheet and broil until lightly toasted. Watch so that you don't burn them.
  • Top each roll with 3 to 4 meatballs and a scoop of sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and run back under the broiler just until cheese melts.
  • Notes

    *You can also do your own 50% ground beef / 50% italian sausage blend if preferred.
    **I simmered my meatballs in the sauce for a full 20 minutes and it was perfect! (My sauce started off a tad thin, but thickened up nicely).
    ***I also used a fine splatter screen over the top of my pan. Use it if you have one, it really helps to make cleanup easier!


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    Wednesday 12th of August 2015

    Holy moly - that looks insanely good! I love the idea to mix the pesto into the meatballs.


    Thursday 13th of August 2015

    Thanks, Sarah! We LOVE pesto mixed into ground beef, so these were right up our alley! :D

    Patricia @ ButterYum

    Tuesday 11th of August 2015

    Ooooooooooo.... it's been years since I've had a meatball sub. Great choice! Beautiful photos. I'm happy to be new the SRC this month - I'd love it if you'd stop by and check out my post.


    Wednesday 12th of August 2015

    Thanks, Patricia, welcome to the club! (I already commented on your post, I'm Kelly! :) )

    Renee@Renee's Kitchen Adventures

    Monday 10th of August 2015

    Mmmmm...Kelly, this looks amazing!! What a great choice for SRC!


    Tuesday 11th of August 2015

    Thanks, Renee! I really had fun making them! :D


    Monday 10th of August 2015

    Look amazing.


    Tuesday 11th of August 2015

    Thanks, Jean! :D

    The Surprised Gourmet

    Monday 10th of August 2015

    That does look like a tasty sandwich. Thanks for sharing.


    Monday 10th of August 2015

    It was fantastic!! :D Hope you give Amy's recipe a try soon! :D

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