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A Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich #MakeThatSandwich

by Jeanette on July 30, 2014 · 6 Comments
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Today, I’ve got a Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich for you, lightened up so you can enjoy the full flavors of a Muffuletta without the guilt.

Have you ever heard of a Muffuletta? It’s a popular sandwich that originated in New Orleans among Italian immigrants. Think of it as a giant sandwich, traditionally made using a large, round flattened loaf of bread with a texture similar to focaccia, except lighter. Sometimes Muffuletta is misspelled Muffaletta, but no matter, we’re talking about the same sandwich here.

Muffaletta on gluten-free Foccacia © Jeanette's Healthy Living

I first saw this sandwich being made on Emeril Lagasse’s show a number of years ago. Muffuletta is a giant layered sandwich, including a marinated olive salad, various Italian cured meats (ham, salami, mortadella, cappocola), and cheese (mozzarella, provolone cheese, fontina). The marinated olive salad is a main part of the filling, a pickled salad of sorts, made with olives, giardiniera (a pickled salad of cauliflower, carrots and celery), oregano and garlic, and covered in olive oil to marinate before using.

Muffaletta Olive Salad © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Recently, Merzzetta challenged me to make a sandwich using at least two of their products to kickoff their $25,000 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich Contest. So, I came up with this Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich to inspire you all to create your own sandwich to enter in the contest.

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I love a challenge and you might say I’m a bit of an over achiever sometimes. I actually incorporated five of Merzetta’s specialty food products in this Muffuletta sandwich – garlic stuffed olives, giardiniera, roasted bell peppers, garlic spread and red hot chili pepper spread.

All the products I used were gluten-free, vegetarian, low-calorie, low-carb and low-fat, and are available nationwide. What I liked most about using these ingredients in this sandwich was that they added lots of flavor without the fat. That’s one of the tricks to healthier sandwich making – low-fat condiments like pickles, garlic spread and red hot chili pepper spread can stand in for traditionally higher fat ingredients (e.g., mayonnaise or lots of olive oil in the case of a traditional Muffuletta) while adding bulk with fewer calories (e.g., not only does the olive salad with pickled vegetables add lots of flavor, but it also adds bulk to the sandwich so you can get away with less meat in this Muffuletta).

A traditional Muffuletta is packed with deli meats and oil-laden olive salad, so it can be loaded with fat and calories. I’ve lightened up this sandwich and made it healthier without sacrificing on flavor with a couple of tricks:

    • First, instead of using lots of olive oil to marinade the olive salad (I’ve seen recipes that use more than a cup of olive oil), use just a splash of extra virgin olive oil – in my lightened up recipe, extra virgin olive oil acts as a flavor agent – there’s no need to dredge the entire olive salad in oil.
    • Second, bulk up the traditional olive salad with fresh chopped tomatoes and roasted red peppers – I think the bright red colors make this sandwich even more appealing, while adding some juiciness.
    • Third, use less sandwich meat than is traditionally used (including using lean turkey in place of fattier meats) and cleaner versions (antibiotic-free, chemical-free)
    • Fourth, bump up the flavor with some Savory Garlic Spread and Red Hot Chili Pepper Spread. These spreads are low in fat and calories but pack a big punch
    • Fifth, add a layer of shredded romaine lettuce if you like. While not traditional, it adds bulk and nutrition

To assemble the Muffuletta, I put a healthy amount of the olive salad with olives, garlic, roasted peppers and tomatoes on one half of a loaf of bread (gluten-free foccacia bread pictured below).

Muffaletta Olive Salad on Foccacia

 Next, I layered on some salami, ham and turkey (I used antibiotic-free, hormone-free meats).

Turkey on Muffaletta Sandwich

Next, I spread on some Red Hot Chili Pepper Spread and Savory Garlic Spread.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Paste on Muffaletta

 Then, I melted some cheese on top.

Melted Cheese on Muffaletta

 This Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich is packed with flavor and color from a mixture of pickles, olives, roasted peppers, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, full flavored spreads and a touch of extra virgin olive oil.

Muffaletta on gluten-free Foccacia

I’ve made this Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich several times already this summer, including for our 4th of July picnic, It’s a crowd pleaser and perfect for a party. Here, I used Roman Bread that I found at the farmer’s market.

Muffaletta on Roman Bread © Jeanette's Healthy Living

 And here, I used a loaf of whole grain sourdough bread.

Muffaletta on Sourdough Bread

You might call this a healthier Muffuletta Sandwich “clean” version of the Subway Italian sub sandwich. That’s one of the biggest advantages of making your own sandwiches – you can use higher quality, cleaner and healthier ingredients.

Now, it’s your turn. Put on your thinking caps and get creative with your sandwich making. Enter your own original sandwich recipe using a minimum of two Merzzetta or Napa Valley Bistro products for a chance to win $25,000. Two runner-ups will receive $1000.

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5 from 1 reviews
A Healthier Muffuletta Sandwich
If desired, leave out the ham and double the turkey.
Serves: 4
Olive Salad
  • 1 cup giardiniera, finely chopped
  • 1 cup garlic stuffed green olives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Muffuletta Sandwich
  • 1 loaf gluten-free focaccia bread or bread of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Savory Garlic Spread
  • 1-2 tablespoons Red Hot Chili Pepper Spread, to taste
  • 4 slices antibiotic-free chemical-free sliced turkey
  • 4 slices antibiotic-free chemical-free sliced ham
  • 6-8 slices antibiotic-free uncured salami, depending on size
  • 1 cup shredded or sliced organic mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese or your favorite cheese
  • shredded romaine lettuce
  1. Combine ingredients for Olive Salad in a medium bowl. Let marinade for an hour, if possible; otherwise, you can use it right away.
  2. Cut bread in half horizontally. Spread Savory Garlic Spread on one half and Red Hot Chili Pepper Spread on the other half. Lay turkey on top of one half. Top with a layer of ham, then salami. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of each bread half. Toast sandwich half with cheese until cheese melts. Top with shredded lettuce and put sandwich together.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mezzetta. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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  1. What a beauty this sandwich is, Jeanette! That olive salad sounds so flavorful – yum!

  2. Oh my deliciousness! This is one of my favorite sandwiches! I love your healthier version :)

  3. I adore muffuletta sandwiches. This is so exciting to enjoy a healthier version of this delicious sandwich. The gluten free bread looks fabulous! Yum, Hugs, Terra

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