I made this up one day out of things I had on hand, and it turned out to be one of my favorite sandwiches ever. Sauteed zucchini pieces are coated with a zesty marinara sauce and topped with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese. These baked sandwiches are a great vegetarian version of the Italian grinder. They can also be made ahead of time, and heated just before serving.



Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified

Marinara Sauce:



  • To make marinara sauce, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat (see Cook's Note). Add garlic, basil and red pepper flakes; cook and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Stir in sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour in tomatoes with their juices and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree until smooth in food processor or blender.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the zucchini in butter until browned and slightly tender. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

  • Spoon a generous amount of the zucchini mixture into each sandwich roll. Cover zucchini with about 1/4 cup marinara sauce per roll. Top with a handful of shredded mozzarella. Close the rolls, and wrap individually in aluminum foil.

  • Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until bread is heated through, rolls are soft, and cheese is melted.

Cook's Note:

You can use about 1 cup of marinara sauce out of the jar if you don't feel like making this one. With premade sauce, these sandwiches are ready in about half an hour.

Nutrition Facts

339 calories; 15.1 g total fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 729 mg sodium. 37.3 g carbohydrates; 16.9 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (422)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
Yum! Be sure to put 1/2 the cheese on the roll 1st (under the zucchini mixture) then the rest of the cheese on top of the zucchini mixture. It prevents the bread from getting soggy. Wonderful recipe! It got the picky SO to eat a veggie that isn't our favorite! I think this would be a hit with most kids too. Read More

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
With all of the 5 star reviews I truly hate to be the naysayer- I truly WANTED to love these. I hated them. My husband refused to even eat them. I'm a good cook and that has never EVER happened before. They were terrible. The mouthfeel was awful the taste not much better. My husband tried dumping extra sauce and cheese on them and eating them with a fork but still just couldn't make himself eat them. I ate them but just because I didn't want to waste food. Would definitely not make again huge disappointment. Read More
560 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 384
  • 4 star values: 127
  • 3 star values: 35
  • 2 star values: 9
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
Yum! Be sure to put 1/2 the cheese on the roll 1st (under the zucchini mixture) then the rest of the cheese on top of the zucchini mixture. It prevents the bread from getting soggy. Wonderful recipe! It got the picky SO to eat a veggie that isn't our favorite! I think this would be a hit with most kids too. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Here's what I did sauteed the zucchini (I quartered my 3/4 inch thick circle slices) in olive oil and sprinkled with seasoning salt. I then used pizza sauce instead of marinara since we had it on hand. After heating this all up I just tossed in the shredded mozzarella and cooked it all together then put it on my toasted hoagie rolls. I added an extra sprinkle of mozzarella because I love cheese. It was so delicious! If you toast the rolls first then just melt the cheese in with your zucchini it will not make your rolls soggy and it is also quicker to throw together. This is one of my new favorite recipes! It is so versatile! The next day I had some extra yellow summer squash and used it in place of the zucchini and had an equally delicious grinder. I'm sure you could use eggplant too and maybe even add some olives and feta cheese. The possibilities are endless but the base recipe it great as is! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fabulous is right!!!! I just finished eating these for dinner and had to run upstairs immediately to give them the 5 stars they deserve. I used olive oil instead of butter and added a red pepper cut into bite size pieces and a chopped onion plus some garlic powder and italian seasonings. YUMMY. Meat-eating boyfriend loved too! Thanks for a great healthy recipe!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
These were really great. I added onion and mushrooms to the zucchini. To avoid soggy bread I used sliced provolone cheese instead of shredded and lined the bread with cheese so that the sauce wouldn't soak into the bread. It worked great. Next time I'm going to try adding some vegetarian Italian sausage crumbles to these. Yum! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Absolutely fantastic and so quick and easy. I used just zucchini and it was perfect. My husband modified his by chopping leftover chicken from the night before and following the general recipe after that and he said his was woderful too. I would recommending using more zuchinni. I used 3 medium ones and it really wasn't enough four three let alone for sandwiches. Also I would put the cheese in the middle of the sandwich as you will loose some to the tinfoil otherwise. Finally you may want to toast your rolls a little before filling them. We found the inside gets pretty soggy from all the sauce otherwise. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
yum! I toasted my bread in the oven as it pre-heated and the grinder turned out nice and crisp. Next time I think I'll add mushrooms and black olives. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fabulous times 100. A Most Perfect way to prepare zucchini. WOW!! DELISH!!AWESOME AND GREAT ARE JUST A FEW DESCRIPTIVES. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE SANDWICHES. I TOOK ADVICE OF OTHERS AND ADDED SOME ONION AND GREEN PEPPER PUT ON A HERO ROLL AND USED MARINARA SAUCE FROM A JAR. WOW WILL MAKE MANY MANY MANY MORE TIMES. Didn't mean to shout but wanted you to know that this is a True 5 Star recipe if you follow the directions. MMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMM gOOD!!!!Thank You!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This recipe was simple and delicious. I used olive oil instead of butter to make it a bit healthier. I also used mozarella slices (what I had) and put the slice on the bun then added zucchini filling resulting in nice melted cheese. Will definitely make again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I agree cut the zucchini pieces small! I used a sausage spaghetti sauce so satisfied my need for a bit of meat. Also used slices of fresh mozarella and ciabatta rolls cooked in the toaster oven without foil. I really enjoyed them but maybe I went a little overboard on the red pepper - they were spicy! Read More