A meatball sub, but with my fresh Aussie lamb twist – a Lamb Meatball Sandwich. I bet all you lamb lovers out there (like me!) like the sound of these. Trust me, they taste awesome!
I don’t know if there are many variations on this kind of sandwich/sub out there on the world wide web – I couldn’t find many, but maybe that’s just my poor googling skills. My idea was to make a meatball sub with the traditional bread bun, but instead of beef I wanted to use lamb with a tasty little salad rather than the usual marinara/tomato sauce.
I decided not to mess with the cheese side of things though – after all – it’s cheese – any way you slice it (ha!) it’s good.
The sandwiches in these photos don’t have much sauce on them, this was just so you could see the other ingredients. Purely for demonstration purposes – I use MUCH more sauce when I eat them (I love me some sauce) – see the recipe for my amounts.
And it’s a quick meal – done in just 35 mins. With a little help from a meatball hack I learnt from Jamie Oliver – flavour your meatballs with pesto! Genius! Why didn’t I think of that? His were beef meatballs, but it got me thinking.
All of the ingredients of a traditional basil pesto individually match with lamb extremely well flavour wise, so why not just add pesto to the lamb mince? Like I said – genius – I suppose that’s why he gets paid the big bucks though!
Let me know what you think of my Lamb Meatball Sandwich…
Lamb Meatball Sandwich
Lamb Meatball Sandwich - a fresh take on the traditional meatball sub
- 500 g/1.1lbs lamb mince/ground lamb
- 1 tbsp basil pesto
- 4 long bread rolls split lengthways but leaving a slight join - see notes
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves - loosely packed
- 200 g/7oz cherry/mini tomatoes
- 1/4 small red/spanish onion
- 1/4 cup sour cream I use light
- 2 tbsp buttermilk see notes
- 1/4 tsp powdered garlic
- 8 slices swiss cheese
Add pesto to lamb mince and mix well to combine - I use my hands for this, then shape mince mixture into 20 even sized balls (see notes) and refrigerate
For the salad chop cherry tomatoes into quarters, finely chop the red onion. Combine tomatoes, onion & mint leaves in a small bowl & set aside
For the sauce combine sour cream, buttermilk & powdered garlic in a small bowl & set aside as well
Place a large non-stick frying pan/skillet over medium high heat, then fry meatballs for 7-8 mins turning frequently as they cook, until they are browned all over and cooked through (see notes)
Pre heat the grill/broiler and toast the cut side of the bread rolls slightly
When meatballs are cooked, lay 2 slices of swiss cheese on each bread roll, place 1/4 of salad evenly along roll, then top with 5 meatballs - nestling the meatballs slightly into the salad then repeat for remaining rolls
Place sandwiches under the grill/broiler for 1-2 mins to melt cheese slightly
Top with sauce & serve immediately
If you don't have buttermilk handy you could just use normal milk then add 1-2 tsp of lemon juice to the sauce.
To make sure the meatballs are evenly sized (and so cook evenly) I use a tablespoon measure and scoop up a generous tbsp of mince for each ball. I also leave the mince in the fridge to stay cold until I mix in the pesto, this helps keep the mince cool. I also refrigerate the meatballs while I put together the salad & sauce - the colder they are the better they will stay together while being fried.
You could of course make the balls a few hours ahead and just leave them covered in the fridge until you are ready to fry them.
I find the lamb has enough fat that renders out as the meatballs cook, so there is no need to put oil in the pan.
You will need to be fairly gentle when you turn the meatballs as they fry because there is no binding agent such as an egg in the recipe. I tend to just shake the pan to turn the meatballs - no need to get fancy and toss them like the TV chefs! - just give the pan a bit of a shake until you see the balls rolling around a bit.
I don't cut my rolls all the way through because I want to eat them hot-dog style and I want the salad and sauce to stay in the bun. Once I have sliced them, I open them up and lay them cut side down on the bench and put a slight weight on top of them (even a folded clean tea towel will do) - so that when I want to grill/broil the buns they will stay open.
Be careful when doing your final grill/broil, you don't want to scorch (burn!) the mint - like I did when taking my photos! The good news is you can always do what I did and just take off the burnt leaves - easy!
*Please note that the amount of calories per serve is provided as a guide only, as ingredients and cooking methods can vary greatly*