Learn how to make an amazing vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich ... it's just as good as any you'd get in New Orleans!
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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 especially, the food. 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 (or muffuletta, as some people call it) ... preferably from Central Grocery. It's normally stuffed with meat, but if you ask, they'll make a meatless muffaletta for you.
Vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich
Since I can't visit New Orleans whenever I get a craving, I came up with my own version.
This mouthwatering vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich has just as much flavor as the NOLA version. It's even better though, because you can make it whenever you want!
What is a Muffaletta made of?
This vegetable muffuletta is so delicious, but it's not the typical meat-filled sandwich you'd find in New Orleans! Usually, a muffuletta is made from layers of meats and cheese, plus olive salad, on a round loaf of bread.
I've replace the meat found in traditional versions of this sandwich with a combination of sauteed portabella mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and roasted peppers. Of course, the most distinctive part of this classic New Orleans sandwich is the piquant muffaletta olive salad. If you are an olive lover, you won't be able to get enough of this delicious olive spread. Just don't eat it all before you assemble the sandwich!
This vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich is big enough to serve a crowd, making it ideal for parties. If you're only serving a few people, you'll be happy to know that leftovers keep really well, too.
And it's the perfect picnic food. Just bring plenty of napkins, because this is one messy sandwich!
How to Make a Vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich
There's a lot of stuff in this veggie muffaletta, so you might be thinking that it's difficult to make. Most of the ingredients in this vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich are premade though, so it comes together quickly and easily.
For this vegetarian muffuletta sandwich recipe, I wanted to include something hearty to replace the meat that's usually found in these tasty sandwiches. Portabella mushrooms were the perfect choice.
You'll saute the mushrooms quickly in a hot pan.
Making the Olive Salad
While the mushrooms are cooking, work on the olive spread. My homemade muffuletta olive salad is made from:
- giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)
- green and black olives
- a mix of zesty seasonings
And it is simply amazing! Even my husband—who doesn't like any of that stuff—devoured this sandwich.
To make this yummy olive salad, simply chop up your ingredients and mix everything together. It couldn't be easier!
Selecting the Bread
For the muffaletta bread, you'll want to look for a sturdy round loaf ... something that will stand up to all that filling. The sesame bread I found was perfect!
If you live in the south, you may be able to find a loaf of muffuletta bread.
Otherwise, a good bakery should have something that will work for you. If you can't find a round loaf, try a loaf of Italian bread instead.
Assembling the Sandwich
Once your mushrooms and olive salad are ready, it's time to start assembling.
This is the ultimate layered sandwich! You're going to start with half of the olive spread and go from there, adding the mushrooms, roasted peppers, artichokes, and provolone cheese along the way.
And by the way, if you want to make a vegan muffaletta sandwich, just skip the cheese (or use vegan cheese). With all of these flavorful ingredients, it will still taste amazing.
I don't know about you, but just looking at all these colorful muffaletta ingredients has me feeling very hungry!
This is a sandwich that benefits from a little sitting, but if you can't resist a bite, dig in. Otherwise, you can make this sandwich hours before serving (perfect for parties). Just wrap the sandwich, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving.
In New Orleans, they'd cut this vegetable muffaletta sandwich in quarters and serve it. That's a big serving though, so I'm going to say this sandwich will serve six to eight people. And trust me, no one's going to go hungry!
I like to serve this muffuletta sandwich cut into wedges.
This is a messy sandwich, which makes it fun to eat.
Even if you have a little wedge, grab a big plate. You don't want to waste any of that delicious filling.
Now that you know how easy it is, make this tasty vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich anytime you get a New Orleans-inspired craving. It will not disappoint!
Vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich
For Sauteed Mushrooms:
- 2 large portabella mushrooms, sliced ½-inch thick
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
For Olive Salad:
- 1 cup giardiniera
- 1 cup green olives
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 (1-pound) round loaf of bread
- 8 ounces sliced provolone cheese (skip for a vegan muffaletta)
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, or use a mix of colors
- 1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms to oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on both sides.
- Season mushrooms to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
Prepare olive salad:
- While the mushrooms are cooking, start the olive salad. Coarsely chop giardiniera and place in a medium bowl.
- Smash olives with the side of a chef's knife, remove pits, and roughly chop. Add to giardiniera.
- Add capers, garlic, spices, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to giardiniera. Mix well, then set aside.
- Cut bread in half. If your loaf is very thick, remove some bread from inside the loaf, leaving about a 1-inch shell.
- Brush bottom of bread with some of the dressing from the olive salad, then cover with half of the olive salad.
- Top olive salad with half of the provolone cheese.
- Cover cheese with all the roasted peppers, then top with all the artichoke hearts.
- Add the rest of the provolone cheese.
- Cover portabellas with remaining olive salad. Brush bread top with any leftover dressing, then place on sandwich, gently pressing down on loaf.
- Cut muffaletta into wedges and serve immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!
Love this Vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich and Want More?
If you enjoyed this veggie muffuletta, here are a few other vegetarian sandwich recipes you're sure to love:
- Brie and Apple Sandwich
- Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese
- Garlicky Mushroom and Refried Bean Tortas
- Mushroom Swiss Veggie Burgers
- Broccoli Rabe and Provolone Grilled Cheese
And before you plan your next trip to the Big Easy, make sure to check out my New Orleans travel guides. I've got tons of tips and ideas to help make your vacation extra fun!
What is your favorite travel destination?