Monday, April 8, 2013

Olive Tapenade Meatball Subs

So have I told you that both of my sisters AND my sister-in-law are all pregnant right now? Two of them with their first and the other with her second? Yep....I'm actually the only one in my family who's NOT pregnant....nothing like family pressure to get you thinking about baby #4!

Although part of me would love to be "in on the action" of having a new baby, there is something nice about the stability of your youngest being almost 2 (oh my...I can't believe my youngest is almost 2!!). And although I love the idea of people showering me with gifts and homemade meals, I also love the idea of being the one to make the meals this time around!

One of my favorite meals anyone ever brought us when we had a new baby was meatball subs. Turkey meatball subs, to be clear.... (they knew me well)... with marinara sauce and provolone cheese. Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant....but for some reason, they really hit the spot. I have made them several times since, but have never really experimented with ingredients or flavors....until now!

I am in love with Trader Joe's olive tapenade (the one from the refrigerated section, although I've heard the one near the pasta is even better...!) And for some reason, I felt like the container of it was "burning a hole in the fridge" I needed to use it in a dinner recipe, pronto! I am not really sure how this idea came about (probably on a last minute whim), but I must say we really enjoyed the way the flavors combined together inside the sandwich roll. We also loved its simplicity - you can really taste each ingredient - and the way the bread crisped up in the oven to make for a crusty artisan roll type of feel. Delicious!

And guess what!? I created my own "copycat" version of the tapenade just for you (okay, and for me....I can't be buying it as often as I want it - ha!) It actually ended up tasting nearly exactly the same as my favorite from Trader Joe's (even better, if I do say so myself!) Score!! In addition to adding a wonderful flavor to these subs, this tapenade would be awesome on crackers, bread, pita chips, or any of your favorite dippers.

So....sisters of mine....get ready to be showered with love, affection, baby gifts galore.....and, if you're lucky, a home-cooked meal or two. Meatball subs, anyone...?  ;)

Olive Tapenade Meatball Subs
6 brat buns or sandwich rolls
24 meatballs (I used a 24 oz. package of Jennie-O frozen Italian-style turkey meatballs)
3/4 c. olive tapenade
12 slices provolone cheese

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Saute frozen meatballs over medium-high heat 12 minutes.
3. Fill each sandwich roll with 4 meatballs, 1/8 c tapenade & 2 slices cheese.
4. Bake open face 10 minutes.  

Olive Tapenade
2/3 c. black olives
1/3 c. pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. capers
1 tsp. stone ground mustard
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried basil

1. Combine black and green olives in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Remove to a bowl.
2. Combine olive oil, garlic cloves, capers, mustard, and seasonings in a food processor and process until garlic and capers are minced.
3. Pour olive oil mixture over olives and stir until combined.    

Looking for another delicious sandwich recipe? Check out my Pesto Sausage Flatbreads!

Thanks for taking a peek inside my Lemon Tree Dwelling!
I hope you feel right at home :)


  1. These look amazing, I always love your photos and love Trader Joes Tapenade as well! That's so funny that everybody is pregnant in your life - you're right - pressure! But, I think it's sweet and wonderful that you plan to gift them with a home cooked meal. There is nothing better when you first come home to not have to worry about cooking and what new Mama wouldn't be thrilled to get a dish of these? Good sister!

  2. These looks yummy I'm drooling here. :)
    Congrats to both your sisters.

  3. How come I've never had TJ's olive tampenade!!! I want me some of that!!! And you slapped it on a sub...delicious!

  4. Nothing better than a new babe. This looks like a yummy meal, the Tapenade looks delish I also like the looks of the Pesto Sausage Flat bread. So much goodness!

  5. These look amazing Cathy!! I still have dreams of that tapenade! I can't believe you we're able to make your own!

  6. Wow, think of all the cute little baby clothes you get to buy for your family!! I have three neighbors pregnant with their second. And I too have had moments where I thought of baby #4. But there is something so liberating about having kids that can do things on their own! I don't think I miss being ruled by nap time or feeding time. But I DO miss the sweet smell of little babies!!! I think this meatball sub is the tastiest sub I have ever seen, no joking! I love olive tapenade, could eat it straight!

  7. Looks so yummy, Cathy!!! I'm going to have to try this one:)

  8. Cathy, Sounds delicious and easy! I love any tapenade. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I can't wait to try it! Lovely blog.

    Linda at The French Hens Nest

  9. Wow, does this look good. I'm getting so tired of the same-old-same-old. Gotta try this.
    Not this week but NEXT week I am featuring this post on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. So please come to both but be looking for the feature the first Wed. of May!

    Ducks ‘n a Row

  10. These look amazing. If I get pregnant...will you make me some?! Ha! Thank you for sharing at our Pinteresting Party!

  11. I love olive tapenade I bet this tastes amazing! I will have to try your recipe! Thanks for linking up all your lovely ideas @ Inspiration Spotlight. I always love your projects & seeing what your cooking up too! xo see you again soon!


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