The Superbowl is coming up, and even if your team doesn’t win, you’ll feel like a winner with these super flavorful meatball subs! We’ve taken the crowd-pleasing meatball sub and switched things up a bit by using Tex Mex flavors instead of Italian flavors.
Tex Mex, you say? Just how did you manage that?
We kept the meaty, saucy, and cheesy part and switched up the flavors. So into the meatballs went Taco Seasoning, sour cream, tortilla chips, and cotija cheese before smothering them in enchilada sauce.
Easy to make ahead of time, they are perfect to serve up to a crowd anytime during the game. The meatballs can be made ahead of time and placed in the slow cooker with the sauce to keep warm until it’s time to eat.
And after trying these meatballs, we bet you’ll be thinking of lots of different ways to use them! Mexican meatballs with spaghetti anyone?
Bread: There are no bread crumbs in this meatball recipe, instead, we’ve added crushed tortilla chips. The chips add a nice toasty corn flavor to these meatballs.
Bolillo rolls are a Mexican version of French Bread. Shaped like a football, these rolls hold a lot of meatballs making them a favorite for meatball lovers! If bolillo rolls aren’t available in your neighborhood, a French roll or even a hot dog bun will work for these sandwiches.
Dairy: This recipe doesn’t skimp on the dairy! Instead of using milk, we’ve substituted sour cream. We love the slight tang it adds to this recipe. Cotija cheese makes a good stand-in for parmesan cheese. Aged cotija cheese has the same hard texture and sharp edge of parmesan cheese, but it has its very own funky flavor that is distinctly Mexican. If Cotija cheese isn’t available in your neighborhood, an aged jack cheese will work just fine.
Enchilada Sauce: Red enchilada sauce adds a rich smoky flavor to this meatball sandwich. While homemade sauce is the most delish and is easy to make (find our recipe here), we understand that sometimes easiest is best! For those nights, may we suggest our Simply Organic Red Enchilada Sauce. It’s not homemade, but its zippy chile flavor and organic ingredients might just make you forget that!
Meat: We used ground beef for this recipe, but any ground meat will work. If you are avoiding red meat, turkey works well. See our vegetarian notes below about using a meat substitute.
Seasonings: SpiceTopia’s Taco Seasoning is a blend of onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper giving these meatballs all the flavor they need with just one spice blend. Don’t forget the salt as the Taco Seasoning is a salt-free blend.
Vegetables: This recipe calls for grated onions. Grating the onions creates a better texture than diced onions. When grating your onion be sure to collect all the onion juice and add it along with the onions to the meat.
This is a pretty straightforward recipe that we are confident you’ll be able to easily create the first time.
A few tips:
When combining the ingredients for the meatballs, be sure that everything is really combined! We find getting into it with your hands is the best way to do that!
An easy way to measure out the meatballs is to use a ⅛ measuring cup.
Brown the meatballs, and then finish cooking them in the enchilada sauce. The browning step gives the meatballs a bit of texture. Cooking them in the sauce allows them to soak up the flavor of the sauce while also releasing flavor into the sauce. It’s a win/win situation!
If your tortilla chips, bread, and enchilada sauce are gluten-free then your subs will be gluten-free. You can find our enchilada sauce recipe with gluten-free adaptation instructions right here.
Using a meat substitute such as Impossible Meat instead of ground meat will make this recipe vegetarian. For more information on using plant-based meats, see this excellent article at "Test Kitchen: How to Cook with Plant-Based Meat"
Tex Mex Meatball Sub Recipe
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated onion
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 ½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
4 cups Red Enchilada Sauce
6 bolillo rolls
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, sour cream, onion, eggs, Taco Seasoning, salt, ⅓ cup cotija cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.
Portion out meat into 2 tablespoon portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Heat a skillet over medium heat for two minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Allow to heat up for one minute. Add a drop of water. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough to move forward. If not, allow it to heat until you hear that water sizzle before moving forward.
While the oil is heating up, place enchilada sauce in a medium pan and allow to heat up over low heat while the meatballs brown.
Add the meatballs and cook for 2 minutes per side. Most likely you will need to do this in batches. The meatballs will not be cooked in this step. That is okay, the meatballs will finish cooking in the next step.
After browning meatballs, add to enchilada sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked all the way through.
While meatballs simmer, prepare rolls. Cut rolls open. Brush inside of rolls with remaining olive oil. Toast under the broiler until rolls just start to brown.
Make your subs. Fill each roll with meatballs, spoon on enchilada sauce, sprinkle with remaining cotija cheese.