Vegetarian Muffuletta Recipe
A traditional muffuletta (or muffaletta) is usually piled with capicola, salami, and mortadella, but arguably the most important ingredient is the olive salad. Packed with tons of briny olive salad, our vegetarian version of the sandwich is short on meat but not on flavor.
Game plan: The olive salad can be made up to 4 hours in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.
For the olive salad:
- 1 cup pitted mixed olives such as Picholine, Cerignola, or Niçoise, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 garlic clove, minced
For the sandwich:
- 2 roasted red peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped marinated artichoke hearts
- 3/4 cup stemmed and sliced pepperoncini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta, sliced in half horizontally, insides removed, and toasted
- 4 thin slices provolone cheese (about 4 ounces)
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Season with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
For the sandwich:
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and put red peppers, artichokes, and pepperoncini in the strainer. Press lightly on the vegetables to extract any liquid; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place mushrooms in the pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until mushrooms are golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until mushrooms are soft and golden brown on the other side, about 4 minutes more. Drizzle vinegar over mushrooms and cook until vinegar has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Lay the bottom half of the bread on a clean work surface and evenly distribute all of the reserved olive salad. Spread mushrooms evenly over olive salad and top with cheese slices. Press lightly on the reserved red peppers, artichokes, and pepperoncini in the strainer to extract any additional liquid, then distribute evenly over the cheese. Cover with top half of the bread and press down firmly to compact the sandwich. Slice into 4 to 6 sections and serve.