Ultimate Vegan Meatball Sub w/ Vegan ‘Parmesan’

Photo by Jaime Hall

This week’s vegan meatball sub, smothered in a fresh, 30-minute marinara, and topped with a homemade vegan ‘Parmesan’ will give any meatball sub a run for its money.

Simmering blended tomatoes with local garlic and wild oregano gives our sauce exactly what it needs for that authentic flavor. Baked inside a deep “Barrio” baguette and topped with a vegan ‘Parmesan’, this sub aims to please.

Why you might ask, would anyone make meatless meatballs? The answer lies in our slight responsibility to leave our earth in the same or improved condition as we did when we arrived.

If you missed the UA Downtown Lecture Series at the Fox Theatre this past Fall, it was all about food. Week one featured speaker Diana Liverman, who gave an in-depth look at how humans are changing the environment at a global scale. She explored how everyday food choices shape our world and more specifically pointed out that we’re currently living in a world where animal agriculture competes for land and water.


Raising cattle for meat and dairy is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous-oxide emissions. Eating less meat and dairy is one way to fight global warming and promote a more sustainable future.

When craving a hearty, homemade sub or sandwich, but don’t have time to create your very own, Food For Ascension and Renee’s Organic Oven, both, can whip one up for dine in or to-go. Both feature homemade organic bread with gluten-free options available.

Many thanks to Barrio Bread, Small Planet Bakery,Old Pueblo Mushrooms Growers, Desert Tortoise Botanicals, Breckenfeld Family Growers and Garden’s Best Farm for providing all our local ingredients this week.

Meatless Meatballs

  • 1 cup lentils*
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil*
  • 1/2 onion*
  • 1/2 zucchini*
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms
  • 1 carrot*
  • 1 celery stalk*
  • 6 cloves garlic*
  • 1 tbsp wild oregano
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs*(I used day old onion rolls courtesy of Small Planet Bakery)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal*
  • 2 tbsp aminos*(I used coconut aminos)
  • 1 tbsp flax ground seed*
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper*
  • 1/2 tsp paprika*
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Barrio Baguette*(Courtesy of Barrio Bread)
  1. Bring lentils to a boil with a pinch of salt, lower temp and cover for 25 minutes or until tender and all water is absorbed.
  2. Add 2 tbsp water to flax and allow to sit for 10 minutes until it becomes gel-like.
  3. Rough chop the vegetables and sautee in 1 tsp olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Blend cooled lentils with sauteed vegetables along with all other ingredients except oatmeal and breadcrumbs.
  5. Once blended, add oatmeal and breadcrumbs, stir well and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes allowing flavors to blend and the texture to thicken.
  6. Scoop spoonfuls of meatballs and shape to desired size onto lightly oiled sheet and bake at 400º for 10 minutes on each side until brown.
  7. Slice baguette bread in half, longways and scoop out the middle part of the bread (or not) to make room for your meatballs and marinara filling.
  8. Bake at 400º for 3 minutes. Add your meatballs and a generous amount of marinara sauce.
  9. Sprinkle with wild oregano and Parmesan. Enjoy 😉

30-Minute Marinara

  • 5 tomatoes*
  • 5 garlic cloves*
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste*
  • 1/2 onion*
  • 1 tbsp wild oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Blend all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve

Vegan ‘Parmesan’ Cheese

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews*
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
  • 3 garlic cloves or 1 tsp dry garlic powder*
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest*
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor a few times for 20 seconds or until finely crumbled. Lay out on a sheet and bake at 250 for 10 minutes. Easy to store in refrigerator.

*Indicates organically grown

Jaime Hall is a Tucson based vegan, GMO-Free speaker, and healthy lifestyle advocate. Keep up with her at gmo-freetucson.org.