Sweet and Spicy Meatball Sub with Pickled Veggies

Sweet and Spicy Meatball Subs

Meatballs are one of my favorite foods and I am always trying to come up with new ideas for them. For this one, I wanted the sauce to be sort of sticky sweet like an orange chicken sauce. As a contrast to that sauce, I needed something bright and refreshing, so I made pickled cauliflower with jalapenos and carrots to put on top of the subs. I made them in the park for some friends and we all enjoyed! This recipe is on the most recent episode of Grilling@, which you can check out below!

Beef, turkey, cumin, and garlic to start. The beef is going to give these the fat content and juiciness we are looking for, and the turkey is going to allow them to absorb more flavor.

More spices than I normally put into meatballs but it aligned with the flavor profile I was going for.

Roll em up!

Build the sauce right in the pan to get the sticky glaze we are looking for.

Then just load up the rolls!

Top with the pickled veggies before serving.

The deep flavors of the meatballs go really well with the bright pickles! The jalapenos were just spicy enough to add a kick without burning too bad.

Sweet and Spicy Meatball Sub with Pickled Veggies

Meatball subs with a sauce inspired by orange chicken, and topped with a spicy pickled veggie mixture.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
pickleing2 hours
Servings: 5 subs



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 2 inches ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sambol
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed

Pickled Veggies

  • 1/2 head cauliflower broken into small florets
  • 2 Jalapenos sliced thin some seeds removed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspooon salt
  • 1.5 cups vinegar
  • sub rolls


  • Make the veggies first. Add everything to a jar, add in the vinegar, and top off with water. Chill overnight.
  • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Stir well to combine. Form meatballs. Cook in a hot pan to brown.
  • Add the sauce ingredients in with the meatballs and stir well to combine. Allow to simmer 10 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
  • Put the meatballs into the bread and top with veggies to serve.

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