One of my favorite travel destinations is New Orleans. Have you ever been?
I love pretty much everything about that city—from the architecture to the people—but the food is especially a favorite. In fact, just writing this has me dreaming about a plate of warm beignets and a cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde!
Another food I can’t pass up while visiting is the muffaletta, preferably from Central Grocery. It’s normally stuffed with meat, but if you ask, they’ll make a meatless version for you.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any immediate plans to visit New Orleans. So I came up with my own vegetarian muffaletta sandwich, and it did not disappoint!
This vegetarian muffaletta is so delicious! I’ve replace the meat found in traditional versions of this sandwich with a combination of sauteed portabella mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and roasted peppers. Yum!
Of course, the most distinctive part of most muffalettas is the piquant olive salad. If you are an olive lover, you won’t be able to get enough of this delicious salad. It’s made from some of my favorite ingredients—giardiniera, green and black olives, capers, and other seasonings—and is simply amazing! Even my husband, who doesn’t like any of that stuff, devoured this sandwich.
Most of the ingredients in this vegetarian muffaletta sandwich are already prepared, so it comes together quickly. It’s also the perfect picnic food and will feed a crowd … just bring plenty of napkins!
- 2 large portabella mushrooms
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup giardiniera
- 1 cup green olives
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp. capers
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 (1-lb.) round loaf of bread
- 8 oz. sliced provolone cheese
- 1 cup roasted red peppers (or use a mix of colors)
- 1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
- Wipe portabella mushrooms with a dry paper towel to remove dirt.
- Remove stems from mushrooms and slice 1/2-inch thick.
- Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add mushroom to oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on both sides.
- Season mushrooms to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Coarsely chop giardiniera and place in a medium bowl.
- Smash green olives with the side of a chef's knife, then roughly chop. Add to giardiniera.
- Pit kalamata olives, then smash with the side of your knife and roughly chop. Add to giardiniera.
- Add capers, garlic, spices, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to giardiniera.
- Mix olive salad well. Set aside.
- Cut bread in half. If your loaf is very thick, remove some of bread from inside the loaf, leaving about a 1-inch shell.
- Cover bottom of bread with half of the olive salad. Make sure to add some of the olive and vinegar dressing.
- Top olive salad with half of the provolone cheese.
- Cover cheese with roasted peppers, then top peppers with the artichoke hearts.
- Add the rest of the provolone cheese.
- Top cheese with the portabella mushrooms.
- Cover portabellas with remaining olive salad and brush bread top with any leftover dressing.
- Top sandwich with bread top. Gently press down on sandwich.
- Cut muffaletta into wedges and serve immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!
When selecting bread, choose a sturdy, round loaf that's topped with sesame seeds, if possible. A wider, flatter loaf (about 8-inches or so) is better than a narrower, tall loaf, if you have an option. Can't find a large, round loaf? Try substituting a regular Italian loaf, ciabatta, or even focaccia. Just make sure that the bread you use will stand up to the hearty filling!
I’m linking up with I Heart Naptime.