The Truth About Subway's Meatball Marinara Sandwich

A meatball sub is a simple yet delectable creation. Consider its doughy bread, protein-packed domes of seasoned meat, and the generous layer of tangy tomato sauce slathered all over the creation. A sprinkle of cheese is all you need to tie it all together. In fact, a meatball sub is so simple that, just a few weeks into a coronavirus-provoked lockdown back in May 2020, Subway decided to give any interested fan the opportunity to become a Sandwich Artist in his or her own home by sharing their recipe (via Bustle).

The mixture outlined in the recipe is actually fairly standard for a meatball. It contains ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, and some seasonings to spice things up. The marinara sauce is likewise basic, containing just a small amount of onion, seasoning, and tomato puree, as well as half a teaspoon of sugar, to sweeten things up. The fast food chain even partnered with Tastemade UK to craft a video meant to take even the most novice of home cooks through the steps with ease.

Getting into the plant-based protein game

This particular sandwich is hailed as delicious by many, but might not be the best option for the calorie-conscious. A footlong Subway Meatball Marinara sandwich with no additional toppings, beyond a sprinkle of Parmesan, clocks in at 840 calories, according to Subway. However, it's a definite win for those on a budget. In Canadian locations, it's one of the few non-breakfast items on the Under $5 Menu (via Subway).

Meanwhile, vegetarian consumers got another option at Subway in recent years, as the fast food chain got into the plant-based protein world by partnering with industry giant Beyond Meat. In 2019, the collaboration resulted in a plant-based alternative to the traditional Meatball Marinara sandwich, referred to as the Beyond Meatball Marinara sandwich. The vegetarian offering still manages to pack in 24 grams of protein into just a 6-inch sandwich (via Beyond Meat). This team-up is quite possibly a smart move for the sandwich chain. According to Allied Market Research, Beyond Meat is one of the leading brands in the vegan meat market, a market that they anticipate will reach $7.5 billion within less than 5 years.