mexican meatball soup

The Best Homemade Meatball Sub Ever

By Jess

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For a time, when I first made the switch over to living a paleo lifestyle, I thought I would never be able to enjoy a sub sandwich ever again. As a former Subway addict, it was a truly frightening thought. Thankfully, as with many other foods I thought I couldn’t enjoy anymore, I was wrong. Not only can I still enjoy a tasty homemade meatball sub, but it’s actually healthier than the types of sandwiches offered by Subway and other chain restaurants, which are actually not as healthy as many people tend to think. So what’s the secret to making the best homemade meatball sub ever? Swap out the sandwich bread and use sweet potatoes stuffed with homemade meatballs with our super secret sauce.

sweet potato meatball sub recipe

I’ve long known that sweet potatoes are an incredibly versatile paleo cooking ingredient, but I honestly never thought I’d use them as a sandwich bread replacement. Not until I came across this recipe, that is. By using sweet potatoes instead of bread, you can make what are quite simply the best homemade meatball subs ever.

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Sandwich

There are three key steps involved in making this meatball sub recipe. The first involves getting your sweet potatoes prepped and ready for use as your ‘bread’. In order to do this, simply pierce each of them with a fork several times and then place them in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes or so.

Paleo Meatballs

With that out of the way, the next key step is to make the meatballs that will be going in your sub. There’s no shortage of ways to make tasty homemade paleo meatballs, but this particular recipe is definitely one of my favorites. You’ll be using lean ground beef, one egg, almond flour, green onions, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and chopped parsley. The garlic and red pepper will each work to add a very distinctive flavor to these meatballs, while also ensuring that they end up being quite healthy as well. Garlic in particular is widely regarded for both its culinary and its therapeutic benefits, including having the ability to help lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension. (1) After mixing everything together, bake your meatballs for 18-20 minutes.

mexican meatball soup

forming the meatballs

The Secret Sauce

As they are baking, you can begin to make the sauce as well. Heat up your olive oil and add in the garlic. After about 30 seconds, you can gradually stir in the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, and other ingredients. While not everyone is a fan of eating foods that belong to the nightshade family, there are many health benefits that you can gain from including tomatoes in your diet. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other beneficial properties that help to lower the ‘bad’ levels of LDL cholesterol in your body and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. (2)

stirring meatball sauce

Once your sauce is finished, you can combine it with your meatballs. The only thing left to do is make a few slits in the top of your sweet potatoes and then open them up with a fork. From here, stuff the potatoes with your sauce and meatballs and then bake them for another 15 minutes or so.

When your meatball subs come out of the oven, sprinkle them with a bit of fresh basil or parsley while they are still warm and enjoy them immediately. As soon as you take your first bite, I’m sure you’ll agree that you won’t be finding anything that tastes nearly as good as these meatball subs at your nearby Subway anytime soon. This recipe is a great example of why I love the paleo diet so much. It’s all about finding new, healthy ways to enjoy your old favorites. Using sweet potato as sandwich bread is genius and you won’t believe how well it works until you try it for yourself.

paleo meatball sweet potato

P.S. – If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy a tasty sandwich while still keeping things 100% paleo friendly, then you should definitely check out these great recipes:
#1 – Paleo Meatball Sandwich with Zucchini “Bread” and Coconut Curry Sauce
#2 – The Best Cauliflower Toast
#3 – Seed and Nut Sandwich Bread


    • For the meatballs
    • 1 pounds lean beef
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • ¼ cup almond flour
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
    • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
    • salt and black pepper to taste
  • For the sauce
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 cups tomato puree
    • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    • salt and black pepper to taste
  • For serving
    • 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil or parsley
    • 4 medium unpeeled sweet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and washed


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato several times with fork and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  3. Bake until tender, about 40 – 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven.
  5. To make the meatballs, in a large mixing bowl place all the ingredients.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  7. Mix to combine.
  8. Form the mixture into 1 inch meatballs and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
  11. In a saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  12. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  13. Stir in the tomato puree and crushed tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper.
  14. Bring sauce to a bubble then reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes
  15. Combine meatballs and sauce.
  16. Make a slits in the tops of sweet potatoes and open them with a fork.
  17. Stuff the sweet potatoes with meatballs and sauce.
  18. Return the sweet potatoes to the baking sheet.
  19. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the potatoes are hot.
  20. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with shredded basil and serve immediately.


Serving Size





Total Time

35 minutes

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes

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