I love a good meatball sub.
There was a time in high school that my friends and I were all obsessed with Subway. I know—what a weird thing to be obsessed with. We were also way into Dairy Queen. Chicken strip baskets, for the win! But in our defense, we lived in the smallest town ever. Which meant none of these types of eateries were readily available. Subway and Dairy Queen were totally big city, fancypants food to us. Literally, the only restaurant in my hometown is Hannah’s Country Kitchen (who sponsored my tee-ball team in Kindergarten). They also sell deep-fried chicken strips and potato wedges at the Mom & Pop grocery store down by the caution light. That’s it. You can see how a trip to Subway suddenly seemed so gourmet. Whenever we went to “the big city” to go shopping, we’d always hit up Subway for lunch. It was a big deal. Definitely a special occasion meal.
I remember always wanting to get a meatball sub. Always. But then I’d see my friends order their turkey on wheat or veggie delite subs and think, “Oh. Meatball subs aren’t cool.”
Peer pressure is such a weird thing. Especially when it comes to food and eating. I’m not sure what made a dry, lackluster turkey on wheat sub more cool than a delicious, cheesy, gooey meatball sub, but in my 15-year-old brain, meatball=social suicide.
Needless to say, I never got the meatball sub.
Thankfully, with the wisdom of 29 years and 98 days under my belt, I can safely say I’ve stopped giving two monkey butts about what people think about my food choices. If it is wrong to want to eat a sandwich as delicious as a meatball sub, I don’t want to be right.
That being said, I am always looking for ways to healthify my not-so-healthy food favorites. So for my version of a meatball sub, I subbed in flavorful, high-protein, high-fiber chickpea balls. There is nothing wrong with high quality, responsibly-raised beef in my book, but by replacing the beef in your typical meatballs with chickpeas, I can save on calories, fat, cholesterol and up the vitamin and mineral antes. Win!
The combo of chickpeas, herbs and cheese bake up crunchy on the outside and soft and meaty on the inside. When mixed with sautéed green peppers and onions and slathered in your favorite marinara sauce, they make a perfect filling for a vegetarian “meat” ball sub. Yum! Enjoy!