What to Serve With Meatball Subs? Easy-to-Make Side Dish Ideas

Introduction to Meatball Subs

Meatball subs, an American culinary icon, trace their roots back to the early 20th century. This was a time when Italian immigrants began blending their culinary traditions with American ingredients. Consequently, the meatball sub emerged, combining Italian meatballs with American bread. Quickly, it gained immense popularity for its hearty and flavorful nature.

Today, these subs are renowned for their versatility and status as comfort food. Typically, they consist of juicy meatballs, smothered in marinara sauce, nestled in a soft yet crusty sub roll, and often topped with melted cheese. This simple yet delicious sandwich is a favorite in delis and homes alike, known for satisfying hunger with its rich flavors.

Importantly, the right side dishes play a crucial role in complementing meatball subs. They not only enhance the flavors but also add variety in texture and nutrition. Whether it’s a creamy dish like mac and cheese or a lighter option such as a green salad, the ideal sides transform the meatball sub from a simple sandwich into a complete, satisfying meal.

Classic Side Dishes

Nothing beats the classics when it comes to side dishes. These traditional options are not only delicious but also add a comforting touch to your meal.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese, a beloved American comfort food, pairs excellently with meatball subs. Its creamy, cheesy essence contrasts beautifully with the tangy, meaty subs. The rich cheese sauce and tender pasta offer a comforting side, loved by many. This classic dish adds a creamy texture and a touch of nostalgia to the meal, making it a perfect companion for the hearty sub.

Potato Salad

Potato salad, another classic, complements meatball subs well. Its creamy texture and mild flavors balance the savory meatballs. Made with boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, and vegetables like onions and celery, it offers a refreshing taste. This side is versatile, with variations including herbs, bacon, or pickles, allowing customization to suit different tastes.

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad is an excellent, lighter side for meatball subs. The sweetness and juiciness of the fruits contrast with the savory meatballs. A mix of berries, melons, grapes, and citrus creates a vibrant, nutritious side. Fruit salad adds freshness, vitamins, and color, enhancing the meal both visually and nutritionally.

Green Salad

A green salad is an ideal way to add a healthy element to your meal. The crisp greens, combined with toppings like tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, offer a refreshing balance. Easy to prepare and customizable, it includes different lettuces, vegetables, nuts, or cheese. A green salad brings a palate-cleansing quality, ensuring a satisfying and wholesome dining experience.

For more on classic side dishes, check out Epicurious for a variety of meatball recipes that can pair well with these sides.

Creative and Unique Sides

If you’re looking to add a twist to your meal, these creative sides are sure to impress.

Air Fryer Bacon Onion Rings

Air Fryer Bacon Onion Rings offer a delightful twist to traditional onion rings. In this version, onions are wrapped in bacon and air-fried to crispy perfection. This method not only reduces the oiliness but also adds a smoky flavor from the bacon. These onion rings are a crunchy, savory treat that pairs wonderfully with the softness of meatball subs. Moreover, the air fryer technique makes them a healthier option, adding a modern touch to your meal. They are sure to be a crowd-pleaser, bringing both texture and a unique flavor profile to the table.

Grandma’s Coleslaw and Jalapeno Coleslaw

Grandma’s Coleslaw and Jalapeno Coleslaw are two variations that add a refreshing crunch to any meatball sub meal. The traditional coleslaw, with its creamy dressing and crisp cabbage, offers a classic taste. Meanwhile, the Jalapeno Coleslaw introduces a spicy kick, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat. Both versions provide a cool and tangy contrast to the warm and hearty subs. Additionally, coleslaw is a versatile side that can be easily adjusted to personal taste preferences, making it a reliable and enjoyable addition to your meatball sub dining experience.

Homemade Taco Bell Nacho Fries Air Fryer

Homemade Taco Bell Nacho Fries, made in an air fryer, are a fun and flavorful side dish. These fries are seasoned with a blend of spices reminiscent of Taco Bell’s famous flavor, then air-fried to achieve a crispy exterior and soft interior. Topped with cheese sauce, they become an irresistible combination of spicy, cheesy, and crunchy. Serve these alongside meatball subs introduces a playful and bold element to your meal. The air fryer method also ensures these fries are a lighter alternative to their deep-fried counterparts, making them a guilt-free indulgence.

Shrimp Potato Corn Chowder

Shrimp Potato Corn Chowder is a hearty and comforting side that complements the richness of meatball subs. This chowder combines succulent shrimp, creamy potatoes, and sweet corn in a savory broth, creating a symphony of flavors and textures. It’s a warm and filling option, ideal for colder days or when you crave something more substantial. The addition of shrimp adds a luxurious touch, elevating the entire meal. This chowder not only satisfies the palate but also adds a sophisticated twist to the traditional meatball sub meal, ensuring a memorable and satisfying dining experience.

Discover more innovative recipes like these at Serious Eats, especially their section on air fryer recipes.

Healthy and Light Options

Balancing your meal with healthy sides is always a great idea. These options are not only nutritious but also delicious.

Classic Caesar Salad

A Classic Caesar Salad is a timeless choice that pairs excellently with meatball subs. This salad combines crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, and a creamy Caesar dressing, topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Its fresh and tangy flavors provide a light yet satisfying contrast to the rich and savory subs. Additionally, the garlic and anchovy notes in the dressing complement the meaty taste of the subs. This salad not only adds a refreshing element to your meal but also offers a balance of textures, making it a healthy and delightful side option.

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is a nutritious and flavorful side dish. The kale, known for its health benefits, is tossed with a zesty lemon vinaigrette, which adds a bright and tangy flavor. You can enhance this salad with additions like dried cranberries, nuts, and Parmesan cheese, creating a rich blend of textures and tastes. This salad is not only a healthy addition to your meal but also a vibrant and palate-pleasing choice. Its lightness and freshness offer a perfect counterbalance to the hearty meatball subs, ensuring a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Cucumber Salad with Feta

Cucumber Salad with Feta is a refreshing and easy-to-make side that complements meatball subs beautifully. This salad features crisp cucumbers, tangy feta cheese, and a light dressing of olive oil and vinegar. The addition of herbs like dill or mint can elevate the flavors further. This salad’s cool and crisp texture contrasts nicely with the warm and soft subs, providing a refreshing bite. It’s a simple yet flavorful dish that adds a healthy and light dimension to your meal, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a balanced and delicious dining experience.

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans are a delicious and healthy side dish. This recipe involves sautéing fresh green beans with garlic and then sprinkling them with grated Parmesan cheese. The result is a side that’s flavorful, with a nice balance of savory garlic and nutty Parmesan. These green beans offer a crunchy texture, which is a pleasant contrast to the softness of meatball subs. Not only are they easy to prepare, but they also bring a pop of color and a dose of healthy greens to your plate. This side is perfect for adding a wholesome and tasty element to your meal.

Comforting and Hearty Choices

For those seeking heartier options, these sides are sure to satisfy.

The Ultimate Volcano Potato

The Ultimate Volcano Potato is a show-stopping side dish that pairs wonderfully with meatball subs. This dish involves baking a large potato until tender, then stuffing it with a mix of cheese, bacon, and spices, and finally, baking it again until the cheese is bubbly and golden. The result is a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth experience with every bite. The rich and creamy texture of the potato, combined with the savory fillings, complements the meaty subs perfectly. It’s a hearty and indulgent choice, ideal for those seeking a comforting and satisfying addition to their meal.

Creole Smoked Potato Salad

Creole Smoked Potato Salad is a flavorful twist on the traditional potato salad. It incorporates Creole seasoning and smoked paprika, giving it a unique and spicy flavor profile. Mixed with the classic ingredients of potato salad, such as mayonnaise, mustard, and onions, this dish offers a delightful combination of creamy and smoky tastes. It’s a robust side that stands up well to the flavors of meatball subs, adding a touch of Southern flair to the meal. This potato salad is not just a side dish; it’s a conversation starter, bringing a burst of flavor and warmth to your table.

Classic Pasta Salad and Greek Pasta Salad

Classic Pasta Salad and Greek Pasta Salad are versatile and flavorful options for pairing with meatball subs. The Classic Pasta Salad combines cooked pasta with a variety of vegetables and a light dressing, offering a refreshing and satisfying side. On the other hand, the Greek Pasta Salad includes ingredients like feta cheese, olives, and cucumbers, dressed in a Greek vinaigrette, providing a Mediterranean twist. Both salads offer a delightful mix of textures and flavors, with the pasta providing a comforting base complemented by the fresh and tangy ingredients. They are perfect for adding a hearty yet refreshing element to your meal.

Easy Chunky Corn Chowder

Easy Chunky Corn Chowder is a comforting and hearty side dish that pairs excellently with meatball subs. This chowder features sweet corn, potatoes, and onions in a creamy broth, often enhanced with bits of bacon or ham for added flavor. The chunky texture and rich taste of the chowder make it a satisfying addition to the meal, especially on cooler days. It’s a simple yet delicious dish that brings warmth and comfort to your dining experience. The sweetness of the corn complements the savory subs, making this chowder a perfect choice for those seeking a cozy and fulfilling side.

FAQs About What to Serve With Meatball Subs?

What are some quick and easy sides to Serve With Meatball Subs?

For those short on time or seeking simplicity, there are several quick and easy side dishes that pair beautifully with meatball subs. A few options include:

  • Steamed Vegetables: Quick to prepare, steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or green beans offer a healthy and colorful addition to your meal.
  • Chips and Dip: A classic and effortless choice, chips served with your favorite dip, such as salsa or guacamole, can add a crunchy texture to the meal.
  • Garlic Bread: Easy to make, garlic bread provides a warm and flavorful complement to the meatball subs.
  • Simple Tossed Salad: A basic salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light dressing can be prepared in minutes, adding freshness and balance to the meal.

These options are not only easy to prepare but also add a variety of flavors and textures that enhance the overall dining experience.

How can I balance a heavy meal like meatball subs?

Balancing a heavy meal like meatball subs involves incorporating lighter and healthier sides. Consider these options:

  • Salads: A fresh green salad or a tangy fruit salad can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the subs.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasting vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, or zucchini offers a light yet flavorful side.
  • Whole Grain Options: Incorporating whole grains, such as quinoa or brown rice salad, can add nutritional value without heaviness.
  • Soup: A light vegetable or broth-based soup can be a comforting yet not overly filling addition.

These sides help to lighten the overall meal, making it more balanced and digestible.

Are there vegetarian options that pair well with meatball subs?

Yes, there are several vegetarian sides that go well with meatball subs, such as:

  • Caprese Salad: A simple combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic glaze offers a fresh and light side.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Bell peppers stuffed with a mix of rice, vegetables, and cheese can be a hearty and flavorful vegetarian option.
  • Pasta Salad: A cold pasta salad with a variety of vegetables and a light dressing is a satisfying and easy-to-make side.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers, grilled to perfection, add a smoky flavor and a healthy touch to the meal.

These vegetarian sides not only complement the subs but also provide a variety of flavors and textures, making the meal enjoyable for everyone.

Conclusion: What to Serve with Meatball Subs

Choosing the right sides for meatball subs can elevate your meal. Classic options like mac and cheese or potato salad offer comfort. They complement the subs’ rich flavors well. For a unique twist, try Air Fryer Bacon Onion Rings or Homemade Taco Bell Nacho Fries. These creative sides add a modern flair to your meal.

If you prefer healthier choices, consider a classic Caesar salad or a cucumber salad with feta. These light options balance the heartiness of meatball subs. They bring freshness to your dining experience. The key is to pair your meatball subs with sides that enhance the meal’s overall enjoyment.

Whether it’s a family dinner or a special occasion, the right sides make meatball subs a crowd-pleaser. From comforting classics to innovative twists, there’s a side dish for every taste. Remember, the perfect accompaniment to meatball subs can turn a simple meal into an extraordinary experience. Choose sides that complement the flavors and textures of your meatball subs for a truly satisfying meal.

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