Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs


Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs are zesty homemade meatballs topped with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. This crowd-pleasing recipe is freezer-friendly, too!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Last week a bunch of other food bloggers and I attended a webinar hosted by none other than The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, to talk about food trends in 2013. Ree’s choice for biggest breakout star in the upcoming year?


I know! Not entirely groundbreaking, as she admitted herself, but I couldn’t agree with her prediction more, as me and meatballs are kinda like this. From Sneaky Meatballs, to Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs, and Buffalo Chicken Meatballs (heck even accidental “dessert” meatballs) I’ve been on board with this trend since, like, yesterday.

Maybe it’s because meatballs are so versatile. Pick any meat you like, throw in any spices you like, maybe stuff a cheese cube or 7 into the center, then bake. That’s it! They’re also super comforting, and you can never go wrong with comfort food.

Picture a giant plate of spaghetti topped with three big Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, engulfed in a big ladleful of hot marinara sauce. Crispy garlic bread on the side. Doesn’t that sound like something your Mom or Grandma would make you? Or your resident Iowa food blogger, perhaps? That’s what I served Ben and me for dinner last night, then I used the leftover meatballs to make these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Subs for lunch today. These are fantastic!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Shredded zucchini, parmesan cheese, garlic, and dried basil give life to 99% lean ground chicken breast, which are mixed, rolled, and baked until golden brown. The baked meatballs are nestled into a crusty roll, topped with marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella cheese, then broiled until hot and melty.

Um, I could eat these subs all day long. The bread stays crusty on the outside, but gets chewy on the inside, and the parmesan cheese in the meatballs give them so much flavor. These Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Subs are so yummy – you have to give them a try!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Start out by making the meatballs. I stole the moist-meatball-making secret from my Sneaky Meatballs Subs and first shredded up 1 small zucchini. You could use a box grater or food processor fitted with the grating disc for this. The zucchini gives the nearly fat-free chicken tons of moisture so they’re not dry and crumbly – plus it provides a little vitamin boost, FTW!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Next grate in or chop up 2 garlic cloves.

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

If you’re using a food processor, switch to the non-sharp S blade now. BTW, Ben got me my Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor several years ago, and it’s definitely my kitchen’s MVP. A sizable investment, but worth every penny!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Next add 1lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

And some flavorings and spices. That’s 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese (I used the small grater side of my box grater to get the shreds), and 1 egg. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Followed by 1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and dried basil. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Pulse until the mixture comes together, or remove ya rings and get at it with your hands!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Roll the mixture into 16 meatballs, then bake for 16-18 minutes at 400 degrees. After they’re done baking you can cool them down and freeze or refrigerate for later, or get after those subs!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Ben originally suggested that I use day-old Jimmy John’s bread for the subs, since it’s so delish and only $.50, but then we found these adorable mini hoagie rolls at Whole Foods and all was tragically lost.

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Cut the rolls in half then dig out a bit of the insides to leave more room for the meatballs, then nestle in 3 or 4 baked meatballs. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Top with 2-3 Tablespoons marinara sauce, then 1oz sliced mozzarella cheese. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Place the subs under the broiler until the cheese is melted, and bread is toasty, then enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

Serves 4


Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs are zesty homemade meatballs topped with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. This crowd-pleasing recipe is freezer-friendly, too!


  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Hoagie rolls or hot dog buns
  • 4oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce, warmed


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees then spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. Combine all ingredients except rolls, cheese, and marinara sauce into a large bowl then mix with hands until just combined. Separate into 4 equal-sized portions, then roll four meatballs out of each portion and place onto prepared baking sheet. Mixture will be sticky.
  2. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through, then turn oven to broil and place oven rack to the second highest spot. Split rolls then place 3-4 meatballs inside, top with 2-3 Tablespoons marinara sauce, and 1oz sliced mozzarella. Broil until rolls are toasted and cheese is melted.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

From beginning to end, these subs are showstoppers. The entire meal can be prepped ahead of time too (bake meatballs, slice cheese…loosen marinara sauce jar…) making them an easy dinner to whip up right from the fridge or freezer. Hope you love ’em!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

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  1. I better take note and get to makin’ some meatballs pronto! Minus the meat…ha! Did you have any predictions for what the next big food trend will be?

  2. Andrea 02.26.2013

    I actually made your buffalo chicken meatballs (minus the stuffed feta) into mini subs on with pepper jack cheese and they were excellent!

  3. Brenda 02.26.2013

    Oh. My. Goodness. I love meatballs, and this looks like a healthy but flavorful substitution for my normal hamburger meatballs. My goal is to start eating more white meat, but I want it to taste as good as red meat. These sound like just the ticket!


  4. Karla Turney 02.26.2013

    “food bloogers” lol
    Never tried chicken meatballs, but I may try sneaking zucchini into turkey meatballs.
    Also interested in what constitutes a dessert meatball…

  5. katydidsoaps 02.26.2013

    Heh heh “bloogers”

    These look amazingly delicious. It doesn’t help that I’m super hungry right now either

  6. Zucchini adds so much moisture to burgers and meatballs – I’d never NOT add it to those dishes now that I know this trick.

    PS – you must be psychic. I’ve been craving me some meatballs…bad.

  7. i feel like i shouldn’t even admit this, but i’ve never made meatballs before…i know. and these would be right up the mister’s alley too. i think this should be my first try! (p.s. how fun was it to talk with ree? i would have lost my mind!)

  8. Your Sneaky Meatballs are one of my favorite recipes! I love that meatballs are the 2013 food trend – how fun. I’m going to have to try out these chicken parmesan meatballs – it looks delish!

  9. debtgirl 02.26.2013

    I made your Parm Garlic Chicken and Potato Wedges today! I told you I was going to. It turned out wonderful. check it out IGE. ]

    you are on a roll wiht the parm this week! Love it.

  10. Ellen 02.26.2013

    If you get to NYC, check out It’s a place I love to go when I’m in the big city. Great food. No reservations. Get there midwest early for dinner (6pm) and mid-week, I haven’t had to wait. Any later and the queue starts. Check out the menu online for a bit of humor. Ice cream sandwiches, also delicious.

    I’m new to your site. :-)

  11. […] 3) humpday craving: meatball subs. […]

  12. That’s it… screw my lame attempt at being organized and planning my meals in advance. I must makes these today! My daughter is going to flip out. I just won’t tell her about the zucchini until she’s devoured it all.

  13. Alisha 02.27.2013

    Meatballs for the trend?! Interesting…but I like it! Loved your buffalo meatballs- they were a major hit at my superbowl party!

  14. Those meatballs sound really tasty and those sandwiches look great!

  15. Lizzie 02.27.2013

    Looks great! I can’t wait to try these subs. I love my food processor too :) I DON’T love cleaning it, though.

  16. These look super, Kristin! I’ve never made meatballs with chicken before, but can only imagine how good they are – I need to try this!

  17. Lauren 02.27.2013

    So cool about the webinar! And I agree, mini meatballs could just take over the mini cupcake trend this year! Love the recipe. :)

  18. Chris 02.27.2013

    Um…were you in my head this weekend? We’re having these today…except with my meatballs, but I like the zucchini in yours. I’ll have to make those in a few weeks.



  19. Biz 02.27.2013

    I love balls. All kinds of balls! Can you believe that my Italian husband only likes them sliced thin on a pizza? WTF?!

    Luckily I cook for my SIL each week – definitely see these on our menu!

  20. You’re so sneaky adding zucchini in there! ;)

  21. Tasha @ Homemade 03.02.2013

    Great pictures. The sandwich looks so juicy.

  22. Brain Dead 03.06.2013

    […] made IGE’s Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs last night. They were very tasty. Ben’s having some of the meatballs for lunch today. […]

  23. […] Made chicken parmesan meatball subs for dinner last night, except I used ground turkey.  YUM!  I must admit, though, when I put the […]

  24. Brianna 03.08.2013

    Do you think these would work with carrots instead of zucchini? I have TONS of carrots in the fridge and am trying to think of creative ways to use them!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.10.2013

      I definitely don’t think it would hurt! I might steam the shredded carrots for a few minutes to soften slightly before adding to the mix!

  25. Kathy 03.24.2013

    Made these this week after seeing them on Pinterest. They were so good! Loved the idea of adding the Zucchini. I made a double batch with 1 pound of ground Chicken breast and 1 pound of Lean Ground chicken.

    So glad that I found your site, looking forward to making more recipes. Thanks!

  26. […] Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Meatballs on top of zucchini noodles and marinara sauce. (I bought a zucchini spiralizer and I’m dying […]

  27. […] Chicken Parmesan Meatball Sub – Iowa Girl […]

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