Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches

These Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches are full of flavor and meatless, too

I’ve never been to New Orleans where this sandwich was made famous, but I can understand what all the fuss is about! Whether you make your version of the muffuletta sandwich in the traditional style, loaded with meat – capicola, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, and the like – or you prefer a meatless option like this recipe for Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches, the one thing you can’t leave out is the olive salad.

As soon as I bit into this sandwich I was reminded of some of the sandwiches my dad and uncles ate for lunch. Landscapers work up quite an appetite, and for my dad, a PB & J wouldn’t cut it halfway through the workday. Instead, he would eat sandwiches made using thick slices of home baked bread, piled with a variety of cured meat, cheese, pickled peppers, olives, or just about any other type of vegetable. His sandwiches were hearty, delicious, and similar to a muffuletta sandwich.

This is anything but a dainty sandwich, so it makes sense that this deli-style delight was made popular by Italian immigrant workers in New Orleans. I made this version without the meat, and added lightly fried eggplant slices instead.

Olive Salad for Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches

Seriously stacked, one of the best things about this (messy) sandwich is the olive salad that frames the eggplant and cheese. It’s made using two types of olives and hot-flavored giardiniera, among other goodies. Giardiniera is a mix of chopped, pickled veggies like carrots, peppers, cauliflower, and celery, packed in seasoned oil. The thick sandwich rolls easily soak up the oil and tangy flavors of the salty olive salad.

Be sure to have a bunch of napkins on hand when you set out to enjoy Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches. You’ll need them, but it will be worth it! Consider this recipe to make a great meal on a Meatless Monday!

Recipe for Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwiches

Serves 4

Baked Eggplant Marinara (Vegetarian recipe)

Eggplant1

A passion for purple

It seems people either love eggplant or they don’t. I love it, especially baked eggplant marinara! I love the rich, dark purple color and its smooth, shiny skin. I love the fact that — if you can get them growing where you live — once planted, they’ll likely surprise you with their magic and produce way more than you could imagine. If you have friends or family who grow them they’ll probably pass several on to you to enjoy. Case in point: when I got home from a recent trip to visit my family, I discovered that a few from my Uncle Tom’s garden somehow made their way into my suitcase. (I usually take my time unpacking…good thing I was on the ball this time…can you imagine?!)

Eggplant full dish

Look forward to the leftovers!

Eggplants are versatile for vegetarian meals, and there are so many ways to prepare them. Growing up in an Italian household, I’m used to eating them breaded and baked with a great marinara sauce (the more garlic the better). For my mom, the preferred preparation method is to pan fry them first before baking them. Granted, they’re delicious made that way, but they’re just as tasty if you simply bake them. Plus it’ll make you feel less guilty about enjoying them with fresh cheese!

One of my favorite ways to eat baked eggplant marinara is as a leftover, cold and straight out of the fridge. If you can make it past just plating them and digging in, try serving them on a slice of crunchy Italian bread with a slice of provolone cheese. I’m drooling…

Eggplant serving

Recipe for Baked Eggplant Marinara:

Serves 6 people