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vegan meatball sub_hot for food

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 pkg beefless ground (such as Gardein, approximately 3 to 3 1/2 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!