available now! the debut cookbook from hot for food BUY NOW

vegan meatball sub

vegan meatball sub_hot for food

This monstrosity was a contender in the vegan sandwich challenge! It’s a classic vegan meatball sub that stretches for miles. The hearty meatballs are made with the help of a beefless ground round product, but have some added ingredients like spices, and black beans to make them even more flavorful. That cashew cheese is also made from scratch, and it adds that creamy, cheesy goodness you crave on a big ol’ meatball sub like this one. Of course, you don’t have to make it this big! But if you do, maybe invite a few friends over to tackle this beast. Don’t forget the napkins! 

Watch the competition below, or keep scrolling for the recipe!

If you’re looking for the oyster mushroom po’ boy click here!

vegan meatball sub_hot for food

vegan meatball sub_hot for food

5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe

vegan meatball sub

This monstrous meatball sub is a mighty fine contender in the first unofficial vegan sandwich challenge and will likely feed your entire family!

Course sandwiches
Cuisine American
Keyword meatballs, meatless, sandwiches
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
soaking 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 20 meatballs (4 servings)
Author Lauren Toyota



  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (or coconut sugar/brown sugar)
  • 1 package beefless ground round (such as Gardein, approximately 3 cups)
  • 1 x 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1/2 C vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying meatballs
  • 2 C tomato sauce or pizza sauce

cashew mozzarella

  • 1/2 C raw cashews (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes)
  • 1 C unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper


  • 1 french style baguette
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh parsley or oregano, as garnish


  1. Start with a thawed package of Gardein beefless ground (or similar brand of your choice), so either leave it in the fridge over night (best option) or remove the contents of the package into a large mixing bowl and let it sit on the counter until it's thawed.

  2. Caramelized onions are going to be part of the binder for the beefless ground. To start, thinly slice the onion and sauté in a pan with coconut oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in sea salt and stir to coat the onions. Don't stir them much to allow them to brown and let them cook in the pan for another 10 minutes. Add in a teaspoon of agave nectar to add some more sugar to the pan, and toss again to coat all the onions. Sauté for another 5 to 10 minutes to get them caramelized and golden brown.

  3. Add onions to a food processor along with black beans (drained and rinsed) and blend into a smooth paste. Then add this to a large bowl.

  4. While the pan is hot and over medium heat, add the beefless ground and sauté until browned up and cooked through. Add this to the bowl with onions, and beans and add the vital wheat gluten and spices. Combine the mixture together with your hands or a spatula.

  5. Form 1 1/4" meatballs with your hands and set aside.

  6. Heat the same pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Pan fry the meatballs until brown on the outside, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

  7. Pour tomato sauce over top, lower heat, and cover with a lid for 5 to 6 minutes until heated through. 

  8. To make the cashew mozzarella, drain and rinse the raw cashews from the soaking water.

  9. Add to a high powered blender with the remaining ingredients.

  10. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and heat over low-medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes, whisking constantly, until it bubbles and starts to thicken. Then remove from the heat. 

  11. Assemble the sandwich on a long french style baguette.

  12. Spread some of the tomato sauce from the pan onto the bottom of the baguette, add meatballs, and drizzle cashew mozzarella over top as desired.

  13. Place the sandwiches, open faced, under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has some golden brown colour and is sticky looking.

  14. Garnish with parsley or oregano and serve immediately while still warm!


  • Annie 3 years ago

    I made these meatballs last night and put them over spaghetti… SO GOOD. 10/10 I do recommend

  • Iliana Lawrence 3 years ago

    If I don’t have tapioca flour, can I substitute it with corn starch?

    • Lauren Toyota 3 years ago

      it might not be quite as smooth of a texture because corn starch tends to get gloopy. BUT we haven’t tried that sub ourselves either. I think it could work

  • Diane 3 years ago

    Oh no. This was a disaster. The bean/onion mixture was way too gloopy and never formed the way we needed to. How could we have saved it? Adding more wheat gluten??

  • Alicia 3 years ago

    How can these be stored if you don’t use all at once?

    • Christine Lee 2 years ago

      I would freeze and reheat as you would regular meatballs. In the microwave for a couple minutes, or in the oven at 300 for 10 minutes.

  • The Big LB 3 years ago


    I’m living in Colombia and we don’t have Gardein products (or really much of anything along those lines). Can I substitute TVP do you think? It’s either that or tofu that I have access to.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.