Vegetarian Muffulettas

In this meatless take on the classic New Orleans sandwich, garlic-infused roasted vegetables take the place of the traditional Italian cold cuts. You might want to make a double batch of the tangy olive relish—it's also delicious in pasta or bean salad, or served on top of grilled or roasted fish. Related: More Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins


  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant rounds

  • 4 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeds removed

  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps (14 ounce total)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives (from 1 1/4 cups unpitted olives)

  • 1 1/4 cups jarred giardiniera (mixed pickled vegetables), chopped, plus 3 tablespoon brine from jar

  • 2 tablespoons drained capers

  • 4 round seeded crusty rolls, split

  • 8 sharp provolone cheese slices


  1. Stir together oil, garlic, thyme sprigs, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, undisturbed, until garlic is softened and golden brown in spots, about 15 minutes. (To maintain a gentle simmer, position saucepan over stovetop burner so that heat source only partially touches bottom of saucepan.) Remove from heat; let cool 15 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in middle and lower third positions. Brush eggplant rounds, bell pepper halves, and mushroom caps all over with 3/4 cup garlic oil; season vegetables on both sides with salt and black pepper. Divide mixture evenly among 2 wire racks set inside 2 rimmed baking sheets, and arrange in an even layer. Roast until vegetables are tender and browned in spots, about 25 minutes, turning vegetables and rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through cook time.

  3. While vegetables roast, make olive relish: Mash garlic cloves in remaining garlic oil in a small bowl until mostly smooth. Stir in olives, giardiniera, giardiniera brine, and capers.

  4. Spread about 2 tablespoons olive relish over each bottom roll half; top with 1 mushroom cap, 2 eggplant rounds, 2 bell pepper halves, and 2 cheese slices. Spread each with about 3 tablespoons olive relish, and top sandwiches, pressing down. (Reserve remaining relish for another use.) Serve immediately. Or, for the full New Orleans experience, wrap sandwiches individually in parchment paper followed by aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet, and top with another baking sheet topped with a cast-iron skillet, a brick, or other heavy items such as large unopened cans. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature. Unwrap sandwiches, and serve.

    Vegetarian Muffulettas Recipe
    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners
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