Muffuletta sandwich recipe

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Only olive lovers need apply! This monster-size, New Orleans classic sandwich is drenched in a luscious multi-olive “salad” that thanks to a long steep in the fridge penetrates every succulent inch. The original is a medley of meat products; our version is stuffed to near bursting with roasted eggplant, sweet peppers, and fresh sweet spinach. Take this sturdy sandwich along to your next picnic or the beach, or drop (wrapped very tightly) into a backpack for a long bike ride. The longer it sits in a chilled environment, the better it will taste. It’s really a meal in and of itself but would be really nice with a little sangria and veggie crudités.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes


Roasted Eggplant
  • 1 smallish eggplant (less than 1 pound)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting
Mixed Olive Salad Relish
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves pickled garlic
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed or dried and reconstituted (about 10 tomatoes)
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled thyme
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled basil
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (9- to 10-inch) round vegan peasant-style loaf (1 to 1½ pounds)
  • 2 roasted red or yellow peppers, from a jar or homemade
How to Make It
    Prepare the Eggplant for Roasting
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the eggplant widthwise into ¼-inch slices and rub each slice with kosher salt. Allow to drain in a colander for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the Relish
  3. Place the olives, parsley, pickled garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with the vinegar and dried herbs. With a food processor, chop the mixture in two or three batches, adding some of the oil to the mixture with each batch. Process only enough to chop up the olives and tomatoes; stop often and use a rubber spatula to move the stuff around. The idea is to create not a paste of olives but a chunky mixture. Scrape the relish, along with the remaining oil, into an airtight container.
  4. Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl (you can use the one that once held the olives). Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.
  5. Roast the Eggplant Slices
  6. Rinse the salted slices with cold water, rub with the oil, and lay in a baking sheet (some overlapping is okay). Roast in the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes, flipping once, until the eggplant is browned and tender. Place the hot eggplant slices on top of the spinach and toss to combine (the hot eggplant will slightly wilt the spinach leaves).
  7. Assemble the Sandwich
  8. Insert a thin, sharp knife into the side of the round loaf at a slightly downward angle. Cut the loaf in half, working the knife on the angle to create a shallow bread “bowl.” Remove some of the bread from the bottom and top interior of the loaf to deepen the bowl (save the bread guts for crumbs or use it to nosh on leftover olive relish).
  9. Spread the olive relish very thickly on each side of the loaf, making sure to get lots of the oil and juices onto the bread. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if the relish looks a little dry. Layer the bottom with the eggplant, spinach, roasted red peppers, and more eggplant, then top with the last of the spinach. Replace the top of the loaf and press down very firmly with your body weight on the entire sandwich; don’t be afraid to smush it down. Wrap tightly in foil, then wrap again in plastic wrap or a few resealable plastic bags. Refrigerate, putting a few heavy items on top of the sandwich to help press it down even further (one or two unopened cartons of nondairy milk work nicely). For maximum flavor, allow to sit at least 3 hours or even better overnight. To serve, hold the sandwich firmly and cut in half with a sharp serrated knife, then slice again into four wedges.

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