Leftover Meatballs Recipe: Meatball Parm with Homemade Rolls and Baked Fries

cool on wire rack

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This whole meal came together because I needed a leftover meatballs recipe. That put in mind of a meatball sub. Once I had the thought in my head there was nothing that was going to stop me from having them for dinner.

I had pretty much everything I needed on hand; we had spaghetti for dinner the night before and the meatballs were leftover from that. I had canned a ton of pizza sauce before we left Montana, and I had cheese in the ‘fridge. It wasn’t mozzarella but it would serve in a pinch. What I didn’t have were rolls. So I set about making some.

I used the Italian bread recipe from my all time favorite bread making cookbook, (affiliate link) Secrets of a Jewish Baker.

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meatball sub

For the rolls:


  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour


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  • 4 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 4 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS salt

For the meatball subs:

  • leftover meatballs – 3 for each sub (if you wanted to go vegetarian try eggplant meatballs)
  • 1 pint of sauce for three subs
  • 3 oz cheese – preferably mozzarella (I had American so you work with what you have)

Make the Sponge:

  • Add the yeast to the the warm and let sit for a few minutes
  • Pour in the bread flour and mix with the paddle just until well combined.
  • Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Make the Dough

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  • Stir the sponge down and add the sugar, olive oil, three cups of the flour and the salt. Mix and add as much of the remaining flour until you get a smooth dough
  • Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes.

risen dough in bowl

  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

cut dough in half

  • Punch down the down and split into two equal portions. I weigh (a kitchen scale is a very valuable tool) them to make sure they are even.
  • Roll into balls. Let rest 10 minutes.
  • Take one ball and separate into six equal portions – as above I weigh them to make sure they are all the same. If you don’t have a kitchen scale just make sure they look as even as possible.

shape rolls

  • Shape each into a small football shape. Set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with water.
  • Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400. Set a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Just before baking add some ice cubes to a cake pan or other oven safe dish. The instructions in the cookbook say to bake with steam* so to accomplish this I put ice cubes in a cake pan and place it on the rack under the baking sheets or on the oven floor. *I always follow this direction. I did a test once and did not and there is a noticeable difference in how the bread comes out.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until light golden brown.

cool on wire rack

  • Cool on a wire rack.

To make the Meatball Subs

  • Heat the sauce on the stovetop
  • Preheat the broiler to HIGH

cut rolls

  • Slice the rolls most of the way open, but don’t cut them all the way in half.
  • Add some sauce to the roll
  • Place three meatballs (or as many as you think will fit and you can accommodate with your leftovers.) on the roll

add cheese

  • Top with cheese

melty cheese

  • Broil until the cheese is melty. (Watch this, it can go from melty to burnt in an instant as evidenced by my brownish cheese.) Serve with extra sauce if desired.

Homemade “Fries” with Paprika and Turmeric

I served the subs with some homemade “fries”. To make them a little more interesting I added some paprika and turmeric before I baked them. 

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thin pieces
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Preheat oven to 400.

add oil and spices

  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, turmeric and salt.
  • Mix the potatoes with your hands or a spatula to distribute the spices.

tasty potatoes

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and just starting to brown and crisp up around the edges.

How Were the Meatball Parm Sandwiches with the Homemade Rolls and “Fries”?

This was a fun and retro meal for both of us. It’s rare that I make a sandwich type dinner but I really should do them more than oh, once every five years. These were tasty, a little bit messy and whole lot of fun.

meatball sub dinner

The “fries” were really good as the potatoes were a little bit sweet and adding the spices just really brought out the potato flavor and added a delightful something extra. It was the first time I tried this and it definitely won’t be the last. A spinach salad rounded out the meal.

It almost felt like a date night meal from way back in the dark ages when we were first going out. And they are certainly fun memories to relive.


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