Recipe: Devin Alexander's Subway's Meatball Marinara

Americans love fast food, but unfortunately, it's one of the reasons that as a nation we are getting fatter and fatter. To satisfy the fast food cravings of those who are trying to lose weight, Los Angeles food writer, chef and caterer Devin Alexander compiled her healthy alternatives to fast food favorites in her new book, "Fast Food Fix:75+ Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites."

Read the recipe below.

Subway: Meatball Marinara

Save: 206 calories, 14 g fat, 8 g sat.fat

If you're a true meatball lover, the key thing Subway's sandwich does is make you crave more of their yummy, yummy meatballs. Each 6-inch sandwich contains only 4 tiny (1¼-inch, 3/4-ounce) meatballs. Being an East Coaster -- raised Italian, I take issue with that. We like meat. In fact, we expect meat. So I made my meatballs a bit bigger, while reducing the fat by more than 50 percent.

Another objection I have is that Subway puts American cheese on a Meatball Marinara sandwich. Do they even know what American cheese is in Italy? Though I've kept the recipe true to Subway, I always add mozzarella to mine, and I invite you to do the same. Plus, I've found some amazingly tasty low-fat mozzarella cheeses. If you disagree with me (I'm sure many of you will), feel free to stick with American. I promise not to take it personally.

* Subway said customers could choose from Swiss, cheddar, provolone, Pepper Jack or mozzarella for their meatball sub.


olive oil spray

1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon fat-free milk

2½ ounces 96 percent lean ground beef

1 tablespoon egg substitute

½ teaspoon dried parsley leaves

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup Subway Marinara Sauce (see below)

1 submarine sandwich roll (about 6" long)

1 slice (½-ounce) 2 percent milk white American cheese, halved diagonally

Subway Marinara Sauce

olive oil spray

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Lightly mist a large nonstick skillet with oil spray. Set over medium heat. In the skillet, combine the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften but not brown. Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomatoes, water, sugar, oregano and oil. Stir to blend well. Refrigerate up to 1 week until ready to use.

Makes 2 cups, enough for 4 sandwiches

Each serving: 57 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, trace sat. fat, 2 g fiber

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly mist a small nonstick baking dish with oil spray. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the milk. Allow the milk to soak into the bread crumbs. Add the beef, egg substitute, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. With hands, mix to blend well. Divide the beef mixture into four equal portions. With palms, roll each portion into a ball. Place, not touching, in the reserved baking dish. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. Check by inserting a sharp knife into the center of 1 meatball. Meanwhile, place the sauce in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated. Add the meatballs.

Cut partially through the roll lengthwise (so that it opens wide enough to hold the sandwich ingredients). Place the roll on a plate. Place the cheese slices evenly along the length of the roll. Spoon on the meatballs and the remaining sauce. Close the sandwich, allowing the cheese to melt.

Makes 1 sandwich

404 calories, 28 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 8 g fiber

Original Subway 6" Meatball Marinara: 610 calories, 24 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 11 g sat. fat, 7 g fiber Even better, there is a lot of bread on this sandwich. Instead of using a 6" roll, buy a whole wheat or whole grain hot dog bun. The meatballs will fit perfectly.

The revised version will have 382 calories, 26 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, and 8 g fiber. You save 228 calories, 15 g fat, and 8 g sat. fat.

Drive-Through: Long day? Use a low-fat jarred marinara sauce instead of making it homemade. Subway's marinara is very sweet. Try to find a delicious marinara with a subtle but sweet flavor.

If you're really in a hurry, buy low-fat turkey meatballs. Just be sure that they are actually low in fat. Many prepared turkey meatballs derive 50 percent (or more) of their calories from fat.

Before You Start If you're cooking more than one sandwich at a time, you can multiply the ingredients in the meatballs easily.