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Rich Meatball Grinders

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12 ciabatta rolls, split
26 ounce jar pasta sauce
1 (16 ounce) box frozen precooked meatballs
9 ounce container basil pesto
12 pieces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

Rich Meatball Grinders

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Technically, Meatball Grinders are sandwiches filled with tender meatballs served on a hoagie bun. But I don’t like hoagie buns; I think they get too soggy and don’t last while you eat the sandwich. That is one of my pet peeves; bread that disintegrates while you still have filling left.

So I make my meatball grinders with ciabatta rolls. Those rolls are airy and light, chewy and tender, and the perfect consistency to hold a juicy filling. And this filling is juicy! Two kinds of pasta sauces add richness and flavor you won’t find in an ordinary meatball sandwich.

You can, of course, make your own meatballs for this recipe, but it’s so much easier to use purchased, precooked, frozen meatballs. I myself prefer No Name Wild Rice Meatballs, and have many, many boxes in my freezer, but you can use any type you prefer.

Enjoy this wonderfully easy sandwich for a quick supper; all you need to serve with it are some fresh veggies and a glass of cold milk. There will be pasta sauce leftover; serve it on the side for dunking!



Remove some of the soft interior of the ciabatta rolls to make room for the meatballs. You can save the crumbs to make breadcrumbs. Toast the rolls in a toaster oven until light brown.


Meanwhile, combine the pasta sauce and meatballs in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the meatballs reach 160°F and are tender, stirring frequently.


Stir the pesto sauce into the meatball mixture until combined. Turn off the heat.


Pile the meatballs and some of the sauce on the bottoms of the toasted ciabatta rolls. Top each with some of the cheese.


Put the meatball-filled roll bottoms in the toaster oven (or in a regular oven at 400°F) and toast or bake for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove the roll bottoms from the toaster oven and top with the roll top. Dig in!


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 50 books (49 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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