THE WASHINGTON POST – At first glance, you’d think a muffuletta, that famous New Orleans sandwich piled with cold cuts and a spicy olive salad, simply isn’t for vegetarians. At least not in its most traditional form.
And yet, even in the place that invented the sandwich, Central Grocery, you can order one without the meat. For those of us whose favourite parts of a muffuletta are the olive salad and the soft sesame bread that gives the sandwich its name, it makes perfect sense.
Without the bread?
Not the same thing, obviously. But this salad from Southern vegetarian authors Amy Lawrence and Justin Fox Burks spoons the same sharp flavours – from marinated olives, vegetables and cheese – onto a bed of romaine lettuce. It’s from their Low-Carb Vegetarian Cookbook, and when I made it for a small, socially distanced dinner party on my backyard terrace recently, it got devoured.
I know Burks and Lawrence wouldn’t mind, because they’re two of the friendliest people in the business, but I added plenty of carbs back to the meal by serving the salad with pizza. The combination was just perfect. If you want to go a step further and make it into a sandwich, with whatever other components you’d like, none of us would fault you for that, either.
Active: 10 minutes | Total: One hour 10 minutes
Make Ahead: The salad, before serving on the romaine, needs to marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
Storage Notes: The marinated vegetables can be refrigerated – separate from the lettuce – for up to four days before serving. Leftovers that include the lettuce will get soggy.
Three cups pitted spicy mixed marinated olives, drained
Two cups small cauliflower florets
Two large celery ribs
One medium carrot, peeled
12 pickled pepperoncini, drained and stemmed
One jar roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
Three medium Roma tomatoes, diced
One and a half cups cubed provolone cheese
Four garlic cloves, minced
One cup extra-virgin olive oil
One cup white vinegar
One tablespoon Creole mustard
Two teaspoons dried Italian seasoning blend
Six cups chopped romaine lettuce
In the bowl of a food processor, using the slicer blade, slice the olives, cauliflower, celery, carrot and pepperoncini. (You can do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor.)
Transfer the sliced vegetables to a three-quart nonreactive container. Add the red peppers, tomatoes, cheese, garlic, oil, vinegar, mustard and Italian seasoning. Toss well to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to four days to let the mixture marinate. (It’s best to make it at least one day before serving so the flavours meld.)
To serve, use a slotted spoon to scoop the marinated vegetables and some of the marinade onto the romaine.
Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.