Muffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich)

Muffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich)

When traveling with friends and family, experience has taught me to have the group sign off on a “book of rules” before making travel arrangements. We must agree that no offense be taken for those of us who want to “do our own thing”.

My “own thing” often involves myopic food quests which may be annoying to fellow travel companions. My last trip to New Orleans involved such an adventure.

I was told by locals that the Central Grocery’s muffaletta was the best muffaletta in New Orleans. I organized an entire vacation day to insure I was in that district of town at the lunch hour.

I arrived around 1:15 only to find they were sold out. I could have purchased a muffaletta sandwich at dozens of other area locations, but I was certain this particular muffaletta was the Holy Grail.

To my family’s irritation, the next day I skipped plans to visit the New Orlean’s aquarium with them to insure I’d get the coveted sandwich. I purchased the sandwich and it was enormous and delicious. Problem was, it wasn’t the transcendental experience I had anticipated–no doubt because I had to eat it alone.

The olive spread is what makes the sandwich special, but the round, seeded Italian bread is an important piece of the pie. I couldn’t find anything like the bread that Central Grocery used in Ann Arbor, but I did find a large Italian round freshly baked bread that was delicious .

Recipe: Muffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich)


  • 1 large (8-inch) round bread loaf
  • 1 1/2 cups Cajun or Creole olive salad*
  • 8 ounces cured Italian ham thinly sliced (such as mortadella, cappocolla or other salamis or hams)
  • 8 ounces Italian cheeses, thinly sliced such as mozzarella, provolone or fontina


  1. Slice the bread in half horizontally, and remove 1/2-inch of doughy inside bread to make room for the fillings.
  2. Spread 1/2 of the olive salad and its oil on the cut edges of the bottom piece of bread. Layer meat and cheese on top of the olive salad. Spread remaining 1/2 of olive salad on top of meats. Place top of bread, cut side down, over bottom half to make a sandwich.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate, weighted down (bricks, a heavy pan or cans work well), 2-6 hours before slicing into wedges.

* If olive salad not available, make your own:

Active Time: 15 minutes (using purchased olive salad)

Refrigeration Time: 2-6 hours

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Olive Salad


  • 3/4 cup pitted black Mediterranean olives
  • 3/4 cup pitted large green olives
  • 3/4 cup Giardineira (or substitute with pepperoncini or olives)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


  1. In a food processor, pulse ingredients together until coarsely chopped. This is a chopped salad and should not be puréed.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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