Meatball Boats

Embark on a culinary voyage with Meatball Boats, an innovative twist on a beloved classic. This dish harmoniously blends the heartiness of traditional Italian meatballs with the playful presentation of a sandwich, resulting in a meal that’s both comforting and exciting. Each bite offers a taste of nostalgia, yet with a fresh perspective that invigorates the palate.

In the creation of Meatball Boats, the humble meatball is elevated to the star of the show. Ground beef, seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, is sculpted into perfect spheres, browned to a juicy perfection, and nestled in a toasted, garlic-butter brushed roll. The addition of melted mozzarella cheese and a ladle of rich marinara sauce transforms each roll into a ‘boat’, carrying flavors that sail straight to the heart.

This recipe is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. The process of crafting these Meatball Boats is a delightful journey in itself, perfect for involving family and friends. The end result is not only visually appealing, with its golden brown crust and cheese melted to bubbly perfection but also a symphony of flavors and textures. From the crispness of the roll to the tenderness of the meatball, each element works in harmony, ensuring that every bite is a memorable one.


  • For the Meatballs:
    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • Vegetable oil (for cooking)
  • For the Boats:
    • 4 soft rolls
    • 8 slices mozzarella cheese
    • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • For the Garlic Butter:
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Topping:
    • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Prep the Meatballs:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parsley, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper.
    • Mix well and shape into golf ball-sized meatballs.
  2. Cook the Meatballs:
    • Heat a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
    • Brown the meatballs on all sides and then transfer them to a plate. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Rolls:
    • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
    • Take the soft rolls and cut the tops to create a ‘boat’ shape. Gently press down the inside to create space for the fillings.
    • Combine melted butter, the remaining 3 minced garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons parsley in a bowl.
    • Brush this garlic butter mixture over the rolls.
    • Toast the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble the Boats:
    • Place two slices of mozzarella cheese inside each roll.
    • Add a spoonful of marinara sauce over the cheese.
    • Nestle three meatballs into each roll and top with more marinara sauce.
  5. Bake:
    • Bake the meatball boats in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is perfectly melted and bubbly.
  6. Final Touch:
    • Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese right before serving.

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