A muffuletta is is a sandwich that has origins among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana. In fact, a "muffuletta" is a type of round country bread that hails from Sicily. The traditional muffuletta sandwich takes this bread, stuffs it full different meats, cheeses, and veggies, and is flattened to make a sort of giant panini that can be sliced up like a pie. This version eschews the meats and cheese and is all veggie, baby! It's still totally delicious and absolutely satisfying.
Veggie Muffuletta [Vegan]
- 1 round crusty loaf of bread, country style round loaf, or boule
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes or oven roasted tomatoes
- 2 cups pitted kalamata and green olives
- 1 eggplant, sliced thin
- 1 zucchini, sliced thin
- 10 cherry peppers, halved
- 1 Portobello mushroom, sliced thin
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup greens (kale, spinach, or both)
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
- 1 small lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 6 leaves fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To Make the Olive Spread:
- Combine the olives, garlic clove, basil, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the juice from half of the lemon in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a chunky paste. Set aside.
To Make the Eggplant:
- Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt, layer the slices in a colander and allow the eggplant to sweat for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine the champagne vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large casserole dish. Coat the eggplant slices on both sides with the marinade and then layer the slices in the dish to marinate more. Do the same with the zucchini slices, skipping the sweating step. Marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the eggplant, in a single layer, until lightly browned in spots, turning once to brown both sides, about a minute each side. Continue with the rest of the eggplant and zucchini and then cook the onions and mushrooms in the same manner. Set all vegetables aside to cool.
To Prepare the Bread:
- Carefully cut the top off of the loaf, like you are cutting into a pumpkin, leaving more bread on the bottom than on the top. Pull out the soft insides of the bread with your hands to make a well or cavity on the inside. Leave a half-inch thickness of bread all the way around.
To Assemble the Sandwich:
- Spread half of the olive mixture onto the bottom half of the bread loaf cavity in an even layer. Then, follow with a layer of eggplant, then the tomatoes, onions, greens, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, and carrots. Finish with a final layer of eggplant and the rest of the olive mixture.
- Place the top on and wrap the sandwich well with plastic wrap. Weigh the sandwich down with a heavy pot or skillet and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Slice and serve the next day.
Use a mandoline slicer to make thin even slices of veggies.