Health meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Meatball Boats

Meatball Boats: A Delicious and Fun Meal for All


Meatball Boats are a delightful and hearty meal that combines the best of Italian flavors with a fun and unique presentation. Perfect for a family dinner or a casual get-together with friends, these boats are loaded with juicy meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and gooey melted cheese, all nestled in a crusty Italian roll. Follow this detailed guide to create these delicious Meatball Boats, and get ready to impress your guests with this crowd-pleasing dish.



To make Meatball Boats, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 crusty Italian sandwich rolls
  • 12 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Step 1: Prepare the Meatballs

  1. Mix the Meatball Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, a pinch of kosher salt, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Form the Meatballs: Using your hands or a cookie scoop, form the mixture into meatballs about the size of a golf ball. You should get around 12-16 meatballs.

Step 2: Cook the Meatballs

  1. Heat the Olive Oil: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the Meatballs: Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. They don’t need to be fully cooked through at this point as they will finish cooking in the sauce.

Step 3: Simmer the Meatballs in Sauce

  1. Add the Marinara Sauce: Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the meatballs.
  2. Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for about 20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked through.

Step 4: Prepare the Rolls

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Hollow Out the Rolls: Cut a V-shaped wedge out of the top of each sandwich roll, removing some of the bread to create a boat shape.
  3. Toast the Rolls: Place the rolls on a baking sheet and toast them in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until they are slightly crispy.

Step 5: Assemble the Meatball Boats

  1. Add the Cheese: Place 2-3 slices of provolone cheese in the bottom of each toasted roll.
  2. Add the Meatballs: Spoon the meatballs and marinara sauce into the rolls, dividing them evenly among the rolls.
  3. Top with More Cheese: Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese over the top of the meatballs in each roll.

Step 6: Bake the Meatball Boats

  1. Bake: Return the assembled meatball boats to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  2. Garnish and Serve: Remove from the oven and garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

Cook’s Notes

  • Ground Beef: For a lighter option, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef.
  • Breadcrumbs: Use seasoned breadcrumbs for added flavor.
  • Sauce: Use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce or make your own from scratch.


Spicy Meatball Boats

  • Add Heat: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meatball mixture for a spicy kick.

Italian Sausage Meatball Boats

  • Use Sausage: Substitute half of the ground beef with Italian sausage for a different flavor profile.

Low Carb/Keto Version

  • Zucchini Boats: Use hollowed-out zucchini halves instead of bread rolls for a low-carb option. Bake the zucchini boats for about 10 minutes before adding the meatballs and cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make the meatballs ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover meatball boats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Yes, feel free to use your favorite cheese. Mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan are traditional choices, but you can experiment with others like cheddar or gouda.

What can I serve with Meatball Boats?

These boats are a meal on their own, but they pair well with a simple side salad, roasted vegetables, or garlic bread.

Meatball Boats are a delicious and fun way to enjoy classic Italian flavors in a unique presentation. With juicy meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and melted cheese all nestled in a crusty Italian roll, this dish is sure to be a hit with family and friends. Whether you’re making them for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, these Meatball Boats are easy to prepare and full of flavor. Try this recipe today and enjoy the comforting taste of homemade meatballs in a delightful new way.