If you’ve never had a New Orleans Muffuletta then now is the time to try. Homemade olive tapenade, provolone cheese, Italian cold cuts then topped with lettuce on a round Sicilian style bread or focaccia.
This sandwich has big flavor and is an easy recipe. Some eat it cold, some like it hot. You’ll love it either way! It makes a great addition to a Mardi Gras menu.
The Muffuletta Sandwich originated in New Orleans at Central Grocery.
You can read more about this in this article.
What is a New Orleans Muffuletta?
The New Orleans Muffuletta was created at Central Grocery in New Orleans by Sicilian farmers. It consists of Italian cold cuts, olive tapenade, provolone cheese that is placed inside of a round Italian bread.
The bread is usually covered in sesame seeds but there are other variations.
The Italian cold cuts used are most commonly any combination of the following:
The two most common cheeses used on a Muffuletta are:
The olive salad is a blend of olives, peppers, spices, vinegar and oil.
- Food Processor – You will need to blend the olive tapenade with a food processor
- Bread Knife – Unless your bread is pre cut then you will need a bread knife to slice it
- Round Bread Loaf – You can find this at most local grocers. I used an olive and cheese focaccia round
- Provolone Cheese – I prefer provolone sliced fresh at the deli
- Mortadella – This is essentially the Italian version of Bologna and belongs on every New Orleans Muffuletta
- Spicy Capicola – I like a little kick so I use spicy. Use regular capicola if you don’t like spicy
- Sopressata – Sopressata is similar to salami
- Kalamata Olives – Kalamata olives have a nice flavor to them
- Pimento Stuffed Green Olives – Olives add a good amount of salt to the tapenade
- Roasted Red Pepper – This adds a bit of sweet flavor to the tapenade
- Peppadew Peppers – These add a really yummy flavor. A little bit of spice, sweet and vinegar
- Garlic – Just a hint of garlic here
- Olive Oil – The oil helps blend the olive spread together
- Red Wine Vinegar – This adds a great flavor to the spread
- Lemon Juice – Lemon will add a little brightness to the tapenade
- Kosher Salt – Just a pinch in with the olives
- Oregano – Oregano adds to the Italian flavors in the New Orleans Muffuletta
- Black Pepper – I prefer coarse ground black pepper
Tips for the best New Orleans Muffuletta
- Let the sandwich sit for an about an hour after making it to let the flavors meld
- You can enjoy this sandwich room temperature or warm
- To eat this New Orleans Muffuletta warm, leave the lettuce off and wrap the sandwich in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the wrapped Muffuletta inside a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Cut it and serve it warm
- The olive tapenade can be made up to 7 days ahead of time
- This makes a fun dish for Mardi Gras
- If you can’t find Sopressata then sub hard salami for it
How to make a New Orleans Muffuletta
This New Orleans Muffuletta is an easy sandwich to make. Start with the olive tapenade. Place all of the tapenade ingredients into the blender then pulse until blended but still a little chunky.
Slice the round loaf of bread in half. You can dig a little of the bread out of the center if you don’t like that much bread. Spread the olive tapenade over each side of the bread.
Layer the Muffuletta with provolone cheese, capicola, mortadella and sopressata. Top with lettuce then place the top of the bread back on the sandwich.
Cut the sandwich into four pieces and serve!
New Orleans Muffuletta
- 1 food processor
- 1 bread knife
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- ½ cup green olives
- ½ cup peppadew peppers
- ½ cup roasted red peppers store bought or homemade
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 loaf round bread 8"-10" sesame seed of focaccia
- ½ lb provolone cheese
- ½ lb mortadella with pistachios thinly sliced
- ½ lb spicy capicola thinly sliced
- ½½ lb sopressata thinly sliced
- 3 leaves leaf lettuce large leaves of romaine work fine too
Making the Olive Tapenade
- Place all tapenade ingredients in the food processor then blend until you have small chunks
Making the New Orleans Muffuletta
- Cut the round loaf of bread in half
- Spread each side of the bread with the olive tapenade
- Layer the provolone, mortadella, spicy capicola, and sopressata on the bottom of the bread
- Top with lettuce then the top half of the bread
- Cut into four pieces and serve