Once voted the most delicious sandwich in America, the true muffuletta (named for its unique sesame-topped bun) doesn’t often venture beyond its bayou home of New Orleans. The classic version of this sandwich is anything but vegan-friendly: a practical wall of cheese upon meat, and repeat. For our first post we decided to tackle a vegan rendition of the muffuletta. The result is not exactly “authentic,” but fear not – this sandwich (“the Bluffuletta”) is the Real Deal.
The Bluffuletta features a pile of sweet roasted vegetables and our own garlicky take on the muffuletta’s famous olive salad spread. This recipe makes two full sandwiches, but can easily serve four people if the sandwiches are split in half.
If, like most of the world, you don’t have quick and easy access to an authentic New Orleans muffuletta (sesame bun), just substitute for any large foccaccia or ciabatta-style bun, or make your own. We used a simple pizza dough rolled out into 6-inch circles about an inch thick, sprayed with water and topped with sesame seeds before baking at 400 degrees F until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Whatever bread you decide to use, make sure it’s big, in the true Louisiana tradition.
Olive salad: 1 c. mixed black and green olives, pitted and chopped 1/4 c. Italian parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. capers
1/2 c. artichoke hearts (in water or oil), chopped
1/4 c. pepperoncini (pickled hot peppers), chopped
1/3 c. olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
Dried oregano, kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let rest at least an hour. The salad can be stored for up to a week, refrigerated, and the flavors will only improve with time.
2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 orange or red pepper, halved lengthwise
3 large plum tomatoes, sliced
2 portabella caps (or one large portabello cap)
Olive oil to coat
Toss all vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at high heat (400 degrees F) for 30 minutes or so (use your discretion), until the vegetables are soft and golden-brown or partially-blackened.
Mushroom Marinade (optional):
For best results, try marinating the portabellas for 30 minutes or longer.
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. sugar
Assembling the Sandwich:
Regardless of the buns you’re using, split them in half and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Then stick them under the broiler until golden-brown (about 2-3 minutes). You’re now ready to assemble The Bluffuletta.
Slather the first half with olive salad, top with roasted pepper and portabella slices; the other half with mashed roasted tomatoes and eggplant. Assemble halves and let rest for ten minutes (classic muffuletta-style) while the flavors combine. Slice in half and share with a friend (unless you’re feeling ambitious).