Cast Iron

All Vegetable Muffaletta

September 28, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes 8 generous slices
Author Notes

I love muffaletta sandwiches. Never mind that I have never been to New Orleans, the ones I used to eat while in school (restaurant called Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille...that does not receive good reviews presently) at the University of Florida in Gainesville (within the historic district) won me over forever. Salty, rich with cured meats and cheeses with an acidic bite from the olive spread and pickled vegetables, what's not to like? I recently made this tasty vegetable one because when I pack my lunch I don't like bringing any meat/poultry/fish/cheese if I won't have adequate refrigeration at my disposal. I end up eating slices for lunch and dinner for several days while also supplying my mother or brother with lunch as well. - testkitchenette —testkitchenette

Test Kitchen Notes

Making the sandwich took less than an hour, including roasting the vegetables. As a whole, the sandwich was delicious. The flavors were subtler than I expected, so if you prefer stronger flavors, I’d recommend putting more balsamic on and salting each layer of spinach. The olive spread was a bit sharp by itself, but it really enhanced the flavor of the sandwich as a whole. A lot of juice (I think from the peppers) soaked the bottom part of the bread and left it soggy and the sandwich did not hold together well after the first couple of bites, which could probably could be remedied by cutting thick slices, wrapping each in foil, and unwrapping as you eat. - Taiyyaba —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Olive Spread
  • 2 cups kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 15 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil or not)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Muffaletta
  • 1-1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/4" rounds (I don't bother salting or peeling them)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you may need a bit more)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 big handfuls fresh baby spinach, washed and spun dry
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 roasted/orange/yellow peppers, skins rubbed off
  • 1 8-10" round of sourdough or whole grain bread, sliced in half horizontally
  1. Olive Spread
  2. Pulse this all (except olive oil) in your food processor or blender until it is a nice chunky texture (you don’t want baby food!) Add the olive oil at the end. *I get my olives at the olive counter in whatever supermarket I’m in. I always scoop up that thick olive oil sludge and use that for the olive oil portion of the olive spread.
  1. Muffaletta
  2. Toss sliced eggplant in large bowl to coat lightly with olive oil, season with salt/pepper, and roast on an oiled baking sheet for about 25 minutes, flipping once till golden brown.
  3. At the same time, cut your peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. Coat them also with a bit of oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast on the top shelf of the oven until skins are blackened (about 30 min., maybe longer in your oven). Place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and set aside till cool then remove the skin and set aside.
  4. Toss the spinach with the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  5. Cut your loaf of bread in half by cutting from the side of the bread, creating a top and bottom. Scoop some of the bread out of the top and the bottom (keep to make breadcrumbs/croutons/or mop up some kind of sauce). Spread the top and bottom with equal amounts of the olive spread. On the bottom half, put down a layer of eggplant, spinach, peppers, eggplant, and top with last layer of spinach. Put the top the bread on top and press down with your weight. Tuck the spinach leaves in that are sticking out. Wrap in a layer or two of foil. Put on a tray or plate and weight down (I use my small cast iron skillet with a few cans of coconut milk) and put in fridge for at least 6 hrs. or better, overnight.
  6. Cut into slices amd serve. So good. Makes a great to go lunch or party/potluck meal also. I’ve been eating mine for the past few days for lunch and dinner. Champagne goes nicely as does iced green tea!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • wssmom
  • luvcookbooks
  • theicp
  • drbabs

14 Reviews

boulangere June 19, 2011
Love this. Glad to see it around again as picnic fare. Perfect!
wssmom May 7, 2011
Wow, who needs meat?! Looking forward to having this on my "weekend"!
boulangere May 6, 2011
I love muffaletta, and your photo is gorgeous.
luvcookbooks September 30, 2010
no matter where you start out, the whole food world opens up when you move to nyc
grew up in wisconsin with a mom who cooked great food, attended pig roasts (Spanferkel) and the Madison Famers Market on the Square but until I moved to New York I had never had a mango.
testkitchenette September 30, 2010
So a Long Islander I was fairly limited (from my point of view anyway) in food and then as soon as I was allowed to go to the city (13) by myself a food and punk rock playground opened up to me! Overseas traveling helped as well!
theicp September 29, 2010
This sounds great - you won't even miss the meat!
testkitchenette September 29, 2010
Thanks, it's a great lunch box treat. I like to play with different vegetable combinations too!
luvcookbooks September 29, 2010
new orleans seems like the ideal place to grow up, from a food point of view
testkitchenette September 29, 2010
I'd have to agree with you luvcookbooks!
drbabs September 29, 2010
Yes and no. Definitely wonderful food, amazing seafood, great culture. But very limited. I know the scene there is changing a lot, but I never ate sushi, Thai, Indian food, or even bagels and lox till I came to NY.
drbabs September 29, 2010
Love this! I generally make vegetarian lunch, too, for the same reason. I grew up in New Orleans--and love muffalettas, too. pierino's on this site is really authentic--check it out!
testkitchenette September 29, 2010
Thanks drbabs! Lucky you that you grew up in New Orleans! My sister attended Tulane and somehow (kicking self now) I never got there. Thanks for pointing out pierno's recipe, I will be checking it out and making it.
testkitchenette September 28, 2010
Thanks melissav! I attended UF in the early 90's and there was a restaurant in the historic district that made the most amazing muffaletta (having never tasted an authentically sourced NO one). I haven't been back since my days there and can't remember the name of it!
melissav September 28, 2010
Sounds delicious. Where did you get the muffaletta in Gainesville? I'm also a Gator!