Subway style roast beef sandwich

Easy Roast Beef Subway Inspired Submarine Sandwich.

Cooks in Difficulty Easy 0 comments

This Subway-inspired roast beef sandwich made by this former sandwich artist will surely be a hit for lunch. The classic sub is made healthier with spinach and no mayonnaise. The soft, fresh sub rolls are baked locally and are topped with classic sandwich ingredients to make an easy picnic food or satisfying lunch for your work day. Best of all, it comes together in a few minutes, making it easy peasy. What could be better than a filling sandwich for a quick and easy lunch?

My first job as a teen many years ago was as a sandwich artist at a local sub shop. A few years after that, I got another job working two different subways—part-time hours meant double, sometimes triple, jobs to get by, especially back then when minimum wages were so low—a measly $7.25, but I digress. This tasty submarine sandwich can be made with a variety of toppings, making it a super way to jazz up lunchtime. 

This sandwich has been made using the same skills learned as a sandwich artist. The key to a healthy sandwich is ensuring proportions don’t get out of control. This roast beef will be a good choice for an everyday satisfying sandwich. 

If you love a good roast beef sandwich, try our hot roast beef sandwiches made from leftover roast beef. 

recipe card image of roast beef sub sandwich

Why you will love this easy sandwich recipe.

Balanced Flavors. The roast beef, onions, spinach, Swiss cheese, and sweet onion vinaigrette create a perfect blend of savory, sweet, and tangy flavors.

Convenient and Portable. This sub is easy to pack and carry, making it a hassle-free lunch option.

Quick and Easy to Prepare. This roast beef sub is simple to assemble with readily available ingredients, saving time in the morning and making it ideal for busy schedules.

Let’s make this sandwich on its soft hoagie roll.

When making a sub sandwich, the first thing you need to do is cut the bread bun. It’s important to note some things to properly prepare the sandwich. Using a bread knife is essential to have a nice, even cut. The buns are longer and relatively soft inside, so you must be careful not to rip at the bread while cutting. Instead, let that serrated edge work for you with a sawing action. Gently place your free hand on top of the bun to steady it as you cut through the center of the bun. 

It’s interesting to note that years ago when I first worked at Mr. Sub, we used this cutting method, but then, at my next job for Subway, they cut a U-shaped notch out of the bread. They must have realized their folly in that method because while it did create a nice trench for the ingredients to sit in, it didn’t provide much in the way of a top to the sub. So they have gone back to cutting it down through the center. 

Once you have the bun cut, add the other ingredients. First we want to add our baby spinach. Once it has been washed and dried, you can add more of this than would be typical in the restaurant because it’s a wholesome ingredient with lots of vitamins, making your lunch not only tasty but also better for you. 

This isn’t just a slap-happy sandwich there are some tips to follow. The first trick for a prettier sub is to cut two squares of your cheese on a diagonal so they are now lovely triangles. Lay them overlapping on top of the meat end to end again, with the point sides facing the same direction. This is how they make pretty picture subs for the subway commercials with even amounts facing outward towards the camera. But we also achieve something else when we lay the cheese and meat down this way. We are making it so that each and every bite is full of the rich beef flavor and creaminess of the cheese. 

Continuing to mimic the Subway standard, you want to fold over the meat. In so doing, it gives a fuller appearance by creating air spaces. It also provides an excellent mouthfeel when you bite into the sandwich. Everything was an exact measured science when I worked for the restaurant chain. We had weigh scales to weigh and proportion every single protein. We don’t need to do this, but it made me aware of calorie counting in sandwich making. 

The proportioning of ingredients keeps the sandwich more in line with dietary requirements for your personal consumption. Often, we see sandwiches online where they have stacked so much deli meats into them that they are bursting at the seams. The truth is making those overly meaty sandwiches at home for the family would be immensely expensive, and it would be better to eat all that deli meat regularly. So, for our purposes, we are using four to five good-sized slices of roast beef for this sandwich and folding them over. We layer them as we move across the bottom bun to completely cover it. 

Add some onion now if you wish. Of course, you can add other veggie ingredients and toppings as you see fit, but we are making a basic roast beef sandwich here. 

​Lastly, we add sweet onion vinaigrette. Because the sub-buns have a softer interior, we don’t want to make them soggy, so go sparingly. Remember, the vinaigrette is for flavor and to give it a bit of moisture, not to drown the ingredients.

Pop the top bun on, and you can cut it in half to wrap it for work or leave it whole, depending on your preference. This is a good sandwich that is best made the day of, but if you are making it ahead, say for a family picnic, then leave the sweet onion dressing off until the day of. Add it to this delicious sub before eating or packing for the beach. 

the roast beef sub cut in half on white plate


Sub Bun: Soft, fresh sub buns provide the perfect base, holding all the ingredients together and ensuring each bite is deliciously consistent.

Roast Beef: Tender, thinly sliced roast beef adds rich, savory flavor and a hearty, satisfying protein element to the sandwich.

Red Onion: Fresh, crisp onions add a sharp bite and crunch, balancing the richness of the roast beef with a touch of zing.

Swiss Cheese: Creamy and slightly nutty, Swiss cheese melts perfectly, complementing the beef and adding a smooth, mild flavor.

Baby Spinach: Fresh baby spinach brings a burst of color and a subtle, earthy taste. It’s a great way to boost your diet’s vitamins and minerals.

Sweet Onion Dressing: The tangy sweetness of the sweet onion dressing ties everything together, enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients and adding a delightful finish.

Substitutions and Add-Ins For This Easy Roast Beef Sub:

Sub Bun: If you find it hard to locate good hoagie rolls in your local grocery store, replace them with a whole wheat roll or a ciabatta bun for a different texture.

Roast Beef: Swap with sliced turkey or grilled chicken for a lighter, leaner protein option.

Red Onion: Use sweet onion for a milder, sweeter flavor, or try shallots for a more delicate taste.

Swiss Cheese: For a different flavor profile, replace it with cheddar or provolone cheese. If you prefer, you can even use a tasty American cheese on this sandwich. 

Baby Spinach: Substitute with arugula for a peppery kick or romaine lettuce for a crunchier texture. The restaurant chains generally use iceberg lettuce sliced very thin as it’s a more economical choice. 

Sweet Onion Dressing: Try balsamic vinaigrette or honey mustard for a sweet and tangy complement to the sandwich. If you prefer, a simple spread of Dijon mustard will also make a tasty sandwich. 

Other traditional toppings for sub sandwiches include green bell peppers, black olives, dill pickles, cucumber, tomato slices, and jalapenos. Don’t let that limit you when building a great sandwich. In fact, other great toppings for a roast beef sandwich may include bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. In fact, sandwiches are the perfect canvas for many great combinations, which is why Subway is a success. 

the edge of the roast beef sub sitting on white plate meat portruding from cut edge

Expert Tips, Serving, And Storing Suggestions For These Roast Beef Subs:

Tip #1: Use Bread Knife: Cut the bun with a sawing action while resting your free hand on the bun. Let the knife’s serrated edge do the work.

Tip #2: Layer Strategically: Place the heavier ingredients, like roast beef and cheese, at the bottom and the lighter, more delicate items, like spinach and onions, on top. This layering technique ensures the sandwich holds together well and each bite is balanced. 

Tip #3: Use Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients: Fresh ingredients significantly affect flavor and texture. Opt for fresh deli roast beef, crisp vegetables, and quality cheeses and dressings. 

This roast beef sandwich recipe is perfect for lunch or a light dinner, whether at home, at work, or enjoying a picnic. Serve the cold sandwich with potato chips, a pickle spear, or a fresh salad for a complete meal. For the best flavor, serve the sandwich freshly made, but it can also be prepared in advance and wrapped tightly to keep it fresh until you’re ready to eat.

To keep uneaten portions of your roast beef sandwich fresh:

  1. Wrap the sub sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
  2. Consume within 24 hours for the best quality.
  3. If you anticipate storing it for longer, keep the sweet onion dressing separate and add it just before eating to maintain optimal texture and flavor.

Did you make this delicious roast beef sub? We’d love to hear about your experience! Leave us a rating and comment below to let us know how it turned out. Your feedback helps us improve and inspires others to try this tasty recipe, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

recipe card image of roast beef sub sandwich

Subway Inspired Roast Beef Submarine Sandwich

Amber Bondar
This Subway inspired roast beef sub sandwich was created by a former sandwich artist. Discover tricks to making a delicious cold sandwich and enjoy this beef with swiss cheese and spinach sub for work, school or summer picnic!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course lunch
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 1


  • Bread Knife
  • Cutting board
  • knife


  • 5 Slices Deli Roast Beef
  • ½ Cup Baby Spinach Leaves Or More/Less
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Onion Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2 Slices Swiss Cheese Cut Into Triangles
  • ¼ Sweet Onion Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Sub Bun Hoagie Roll (Six Inches)


  • Using a bread knife cut the sub bun in half.
  • Add the washed and dried spinach to the bottom bun.
  • Lay the cut Swiss cheese on top arrange point edges out.
  • Fold over and lay touching each other the roast beef slices.
  • Sprinkle with sliced onion. *Optional
  • Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sweet onion vinaigrette on the top of the bun and on top of the sandwich bottom.
  • Replace top bun onto the bottom sandwich. Cut or leave whole to enjoy.
Keyword Breakfast sandwich, lunch recipe, sub, submarine sandwich

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