Mini Turkey Meatball Sliders

Not Your Mother’s® Slow Cooker Family Favorites

meatball_slidersAnyone who loves meatballs loves meatball sandwiches, and these sliders (the name for these miniature sandwiches) are irresistible. You can make this sandwich using your choice of a baguette or a small roll, but whatever you choose, it must be very fresh or else it will be too chewy. The secret to being able to eat your slider without the meatballs slipping out is to dig out a bit of the soft inside bread to make a little trench for the meatballs to sit in. I like a bit of butter on my slider, but that is optional.

Overview

  • Cooker: Large round or oval
  • Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 6 to 8 hours
  • Makes 10 sandwiches, to serve 5

Sauce

  • One 28-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground dark turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 2 fresh 20-inch-long thin baguettes or 10 small hoagie rolls
  • 1 bunch arugula, stems removed
  • 5 slices provolone, smoked mozzarella, or Monterey Jack cheese, cut in half

Instructions

  1. Coat the inside of the crock with olive oil nonstick cooking spray. Add the marinara, crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, and olive oil. Stir to blend, cover, and cook on HIGH while you prepare the meatballs.
  2. Place the ground turkey in a medium-size bowl, breaking it up a bit with your fingers or a large fork. Add the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands or a large fork. Be careful not to compact the meat, which will make your meatballs tough. If the mixture is very soft, cover and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes for easier handling. Divide the meat mixture in half. On a cutting board, lightly pat one half into a thick rectangle. With a table knife, divide the rectangle into 4 equal portions. Roll 5 meatballs from each portion, for a total of 20 meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining portion of meat, to make 40 meatballs total.
  3. Gently add the meatballs to the crock and spoon some sauce over them. Cover and reset the heat to LOW. Cook for 6 to 8 hours, until the meatballs are firm and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of one registers 160ºF. If making ahead, let the meatballs cool in the sauce and refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
  4. To make the sliders, slice the baguettes into 4-inch sections. Make a horizontal cut to slice each section in half, but don’t cut all the way through. Remove and discard a small bit of bread from the tops and bottoms to create a cradle for the meatballs. Spread the baguettes with a bit of soft butter if you like. Place a few arugula leaves on the bottom of each baguette. Set 4 meatballs on each roll and spoon some sauce on top. Top each sandwich with a piece of cheese and press down the tops of the rolls. Serve warm with plenty of napkins.