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Muffuletta Sandwiches and Olive Tapenade

Muffuletta Sandwiches and Olive Tapenade Stacked
Muffuletta Sandwiches and Olive Tapenade

The following recipe and photography for this post were provided by local blogger Abby Thome of The Thome Home.

Vivid childhood memories of visiting a family-owned Italian specialty shops drift right back into my kitchen any time I make an Italian-inspired dish. Pastries, fresh pasta and never-ending deli spreads — the incredible smells that hit you in the face the second you open the door.  It is still, to this day, one of my favorite things to do with my kids when we are in town visiting family.  Years ago, I had a Muffuletta Sandwich for the first time. Thick, crusty, fresh baked bread filled to the brim with layers of deli meats, provolone cheese, and the most decadent olive tapenade.  Pressed together for a few hours, to let every layer merry together, creating a sandwich that is not only visually a winner, but a trip to flavor town you will not want to miss!

This recipe requires zero cooking and the only component to this sandwich you will make from scratch is the olive tapenade.  Of course, you can skip this step in general and head to Heinen’s Olive Bar and pick up tapenade that is already made for you.  I will insist to give this a whirl though, making your own is extremely easy, and you can keep it in the fridge all week long to scoop onto sandwiches or crostini.

Olive Tapenade:


  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Heinen’s Pitted Green Olives in can, chopped
  • 1 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt, and Pepper


  1. Mince garlic cloves, chop olives and roasted red peppers.
  2. Add these to a medium-size bowl.
  3. Add red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir to combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.


Now, onto the sandwich! Of course, I couldn’t help myself but to make two versions.  The traditional Muffuletta (seen in the photo below) is packed with layers upon layers of deli meat. I made the classic version, but also went with a vegetarian-friendly version that is one of the most delicious sandwiches I have ever made!

Once you assemble the sandwich you will want to set it in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Take a cast iron pan, or another heavy pot to squish down on top of the sandwich. This will press the entire sandwich together, making it really simple to cut, as it sets the sandwich and all of the layers together.

Muffuletta Sandwich

Muffuletta Sandwich:


  • 1 Loaf of Heinen’s Pugliese – or any large, crusty bread from bakery.  Sliced in 1/2 (the wonderful staff will slice it for you so you can fill the sandwich with ease!)
  • Olive Tapenade (recipe above)
  • 1/2 lb Salami
  • 1/2 lb Ham
  • 1/2 lb Mortadella or bologna will work just fine
  • 1/2 lb Provolone Cheese
  • 4 oz Organic Baby Arugula
  • 1/2 cup Mild Banana Pepper Rings


  1. Assemble this sandwich on a large baking sheet that you can fit into your fridge once assembled!
  2. Take your Pugliese that has been sliced in half (imagine a hamburger bun, you need the loaf of bread to be the perfect vessel to fill!)
  3. Spread 1/4 of the Olive Tapenade on the bottom half of the bread loaf
  4. Layer all three meats, one at a time, all the way up and down on top of the olive tapenade (mortadella, ham and salami)
  5. Next, add the provolone cheese – each layer should cover up the one before
  6. Top this all with a generous helping of Arugula
  7. On the TOP half of the Pugliese loaf, spread another 1/4 of the Olive Tapenade and then add Banana Pepper Rings to the top of the tapenade.
  8. Carefully flip the top of the loaf onto the bottom half.
  9. Place a large piece of foil over the entire sandwich, and then place your cast iron on top.
  10. Set in fridge for 2-4 hours until you are ready to slice and enjoy!

For the Vegetarian Muffuletta Sandwich, you can do it two ways.  Utilizing the same delicious Pugliese Loaf we used in the meat version OR you can use Heinen’s Ciabatta Rolls and create a quick version and turn it into a panini! That is the route we took, and the results were so delicious that the entire platter of sandwiches were devoured.

Vegetarian Muffuletta Sandwich


  • 6 Heinen’s Ciabatta Rolls, sliced in half
  • Olive Tapenade (recipe above)
  • 1/2 lb Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1 Jar Heinen’s Marinated Artichoke Hearts, chopped
  • 6 Slices of Roasted Red Pepper (one for each sandwich)
  • 6 Slices of Provolone Cheese
  • 3oz Organic Baby Arugula


  1. Get your panini press nice and hot, ready to go!
  2. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the Olive Tapenade on the bottom half of each roll
  3. One slice of Pepper Jack Cheese
  4. Two tablespoons of the chopped Artichoke Hearts
  5. One slice of Roasted Red Pepper
  6. One slice of Provolone Cheese
  7. A heaping handful of Arugula
  8. On the top half of the Ciabatta Roll, spread another heaping tablespoon of the Olive Tapenade
  9. Put the top half of the roll onto the rest of the sandwich
  10. Place sandwich into your panini press, and heat until cheese has melted and your sandwich is crispy and ready to eat!

Note: If you do not have a panini press, you can either grill or heat these sandwiches in a large frying pan!

These sandwiches will quickly become a family favorite! With football season right around the corner, these sandwiches will surely be a total touchdown!

Vegetarian Muffuletta Sandwich

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Muffuletta Sandwiches and Tapenade

Heinen's logo in black
By Heinen's Grocery Store
In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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