Chances are, if you’ve been to New Orleans, you’ve tried a muffuletta — in a city known for good food, this classic over-stuffed sandwich is a true standout! Piled high with lots of showy layers of meats, cheese and tangy toppings, the flavor of a Muffuletta gets even better the longer it sits. That’s a win-win when you’re planning a picnic in the park, a tailgating party or even just a sandwich-for-dinner spread. Even better: It’s easy to customize with your favorite deli meats, cheeses and more. Ready to try one yourself? Keep reading for foolproof recipes and to see why the muffuletta is guaranteed to be your new sandwich go-to.
What is a muffuletta?
The muffuletta (pronounced moof-fuh-LEHT-tah) starts with a large, round loaf of bread (also known as a boule), sometimes with the soft bread pulled out from the center. It is then stuffed with deli meats, cheese, olive tapenade, roasted peppers or marinated veggies and other ingredients. Once filled, the sandwich is tightly wrapped and chilled for several hours until the flavors soak into the soft bread, then it’s cut into wedges for serving. Depending on the size of the bread, one muffuletta can serve several people, making ideal for feeding a crowd. (For more make-and-take recipes, click through for 17 delicious picnic recipes and this mouthwatering meatball sub recipe.)
The history of the muffuletta
The muffuletta traces its origins back to the early 1900s. It was created by Italian immigrant, Lupo Salvatore, owner of Central Grocery on Decatur Street in New Orleans. It’s said that he created the sandwich as a lunch option for other Italian immigrants who worked in the area. They’d order bread, cured meats and cheese separately for their lunch. Lupo suggested it would be easier if he simply stuffed all the ingredients into a sandwich using muffuletta bread, a soft, flat round variety of an Italian loaf. Thus the muffuletta sandwich was born and was instantly a hit! Since then, Central Grocery, ‘Home of The Original Muffuletta’, has become a New Orleans destination.
How to make a muffuletta
While the original muffuletta sandwich starts with muffuletta bread, cold cuts, provolone and chopped olive tapenade, you can easily customize it with any round loaf and your favorite fillings. Here are 6 recipes you’re sure to love:
1. Classic Muffuletta
We added sun-dried tomato pesto for even more irresistible flavors.
- 1 (24 oz.) jar giardiniera
- ½ cup pitted green olives, chopped
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ cup sun-dried tomato pesto
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 Tbs. wine vinaigrette
- 1 (1 lb.) round loaf crusty bread, split
- 8 oz. sliced salami
- 4 oz. sliced ham
- 4 oz. sliced provolone
- Drain and chop giardiniera; mix with olives. Seed and chop tomatoes. In bowl, mix tomatoes, pesto, parsley and vinaigrette. Spread olive mixture over bottom bread. Top with half of salami, ham and cheese; repeat. Spread with pesto mixture. Add bread top; wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place sandwich on large plate; invert small plate over. Place heavy can, flat side down, on top of sandwich to weigh it down. Chill at least 3 hrs. Unwrap; slice.
2. Tuscan Muffuletta
This muffuletta combines roasted peppers, marinated artichokes and bottled dressing for a zingy pop
- 10-oz. round loaf bread
- 3 roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
- 6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
- 6 oz. sliced salami
- ⅓ cup halved pitted kalamata olives
- 6 slices Swiss cheese
- 3 cups baby spinach
- Slice ¾” from top of bread. Scoop out bread from bottom piece, leaving ¾”-thick shell; reserve 1 cup scooped out bread. In food processor, pulse 2 peppers, 1 cup scooped bread and dressing until blended.
- Drain artichokes; quarter if whole. Slice remaining pepper. Layer bread bottom with ⅓ of salami, artichokes, olives, sliced pepper, cheese, remaining salami and spinach. Top with pepper mixture and bread top. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hrs.
3. Mixed Veggie Muffuletta
We grilled slices of zucchini and eggplant to give this vegetarian version a kiss of smoky deliciousness.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 lb. zucchini, trimmed, halved crosswise, sliced lengthwise into ¼”-thick slices
- 1 (12 oz.) eggplant, trimmed, halved crosswise, sliced lengthwise into ¼”-thick slices
- 1 (1 lb.) round loaf crusty bread
- ¼ cup sundried tomato pesto
- 4 oz. sliced sharp cheddar
- 1 cup drained roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- 3 cups baby spinach, 1½ oz.
- Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat cooking. In bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Coat zucchini and eggplant slices with cooking spray. Transfer vegetables directly to grill grate. Cook, flipping once, until just tender, 3-4 min. per side.
- In separate bowls, toss eggplant and zucchini each with 2 Tbs. dressing. Using long serrated knife, horizontally slice off top third of bread. Pull out soft interior bread from bottom portion, leaving ½” border (discard or save pulled bread for another use such as making breadcrumbs; store saved bread or crumbs in sealed container in refrigerator).
- Spread cut side of bread with pesto. Place cheese in bottom of bread. Top with eggplant, half of zucchini then peppers; drizzle with remaining dressing. Top with remaining zucchini then spinach and bread top. Wrap loaf tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Chill at least 2 hrs. or overnight. Cut into 8 wedges.
4. Mini Muffulettas
We subbed in long rolls for the round loaf to create these individual muffuletta delights.
- 1½ cups jarred drained pitted Spanish olives
- ½ cup jarred drained mild giardiniera (pickled vegetables)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbs. minced scallion
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
- 4 (7” long) rolls, about 4 oz. each, halved lengthwise
- 8 oz. deli-sliced provolone cheese
- 4 oz. deli-sliced baked ham
- 4 oz. deli-sliced pepperoni
- 4 leaves green leaf lettuce
- 4 oz. deli-sliced low-sodium turkey breast
- In food processor, combine olives, giardiniera and olive oil; cover. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to bowl; stir in scallion and parsley.
- Arrange all roll halves on cutting board, cut sides up; dividing evenly, spread olive mixture over cut sides of roll halves. Top 4 roll bottoms with half of cheese, then ham, pepperoni, lettuce, remaining half of cheese, turkey and roll tops cut sides down.
- Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap, or if desired, parchment paper tied with twine; chill at least 1 hr. Cut each sandwich in half before serving.
5. Tex-Mex Muffuletta
Green chilis, salsa and pepper Jack cheese transform this muffuletta into a South-of-the-Border sensation.
- 1 (8”) round loaf crusty Italian bread, about 18 oz.
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, 4 oz.
- 2/3 cup bottled oil-and-vinegar salad dressing
- 1 Tbs. grated lime zest
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 8 oz. deli-sliced salami, preferably Genoa
- 8 oz. deli-sliced chicken breast
- 1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry
- 4 oz. hot pepper-Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
- 1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained
- 1 cup salsa from a jar
- Cut off top ¼” of bread; reserve. Pull soft bread from bottom of loaf, leaving ½”-thick shell. Place lettuce on bread bottom.
- In bowl, combine dressing, zest and chili powder; drizzle 2 Tbs. mixture over lettuce. Layer salami, chicken, peppers, cheese, chilies and salsa over lettuce; drizzle with remaining dressing mixture. Cover with bread top; wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hrs.
6. Smoked Turkey Muffuletta
Convenient jarred eggplant caponata and artichokes make this mile-high treat a breeze to layer up.
- 1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 (1 lb.) round loaf crusty bread
- 8 oz. deli-sliced smoked roast turkey
- 4 oz. deli-sliced ham
- 4 oz. deli-sliced provolone
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup jarred eggplant caponata
- Drain artichoke hearts, reserving 1 Tbs. marinade. In food processor, pulse artichoke hearts and reserved 1 Tbs. marinade until coarsely chopped.
- Slice off top of bread; hollow out bread bottom. Line bottom with half of turkey and half of ham. Top with half of artichoke mixture, half of cheese, a few basil leaves and ½ cup caponata. Repeat layering.
- Add bread top; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Invert small plate over sandwich and place heavy can, flat side down, on top. Chill 3 hrs. Unwrap and slice.
Got a craving for even more Southern cooking? Check out these stories:
BOGO Never Felt So Good
Whether you're looking to sleep better, have less anxiety, get pain relief or simply unwind the mind, these award-winning CBD Gummies from Sky Wellness do just the trick! Available in a variety of flavors, don't miss this special BOGO offer. Learn more at SkyWellness.com.