Eggplant Muffaletta

August 5, 2019

Vegan Muffaletta Slice Skewered with Olives

This vegan muffaletta sandwich is packed with spicy marinated eggplant, roasted red pepper slices, and zippy olive salad! A delicious make-ahead vegan sandwich that gets better with time. This one is perfect for picnics!

Vegan Muffaletta Slice Skewered with Olives

Question: how do you guys feel about store-bought vegan cheese? For the longest time, I refused to include it in any of my recipes. When I started blogging, most of what was available wasn’t all that good, and I got it in my head that if I wanted to include cheese in a recipe, I’d include instructions for making it from scratch.

But it’s not very realistic to think everyone can make a batch of homemade vegan cheese on any given night for dinner. (I certainly can’t!) And vegan cheese has improved a lot over the last few years.

So with that said, I’ve included store-bought vegan cheese in this recipe. I hope you all don’t mind! If you’re a total from-scratch kind of cook, feel free to substitute the vegan mozzarella from my Caprese recipe. It would work really well in a muffaletta.

What’s a Muffaletta?

Vegan Muffaletta Slice on a Cutting Board

Maybe I should’ve started by answering this! The muffaletta is a big old sandwich that (as I understand) originated in New Orleans, but is something of an adaptation of an Italian hoagie.

It’s generally made with round bread — muffaletta bread actually. It’s one of those sandwiches that has its very own bread. But we’re using much easier to find Italian boules for this recipe. (Or whatever type of round bread you can get your hands on.)

The muffaletta is stuffed with lots of the same meats and cheeses as you’d find in an Italian hoagie, as well as (the best part, if you ask me) olive salad.

Making the Muffaletta Vegan

Pair of Hands Picking up a Slice of a Vegan Muffaletta

I mentioned above that we’d be using vegan cheese for this. That’s the easy part!

In place of meat I stuffed my muffaletta with marinated eggplant slices and roasted red peppers. The result was crazy good!

How To Make an Eggplant Muffaletta

Vegan Muffaletta Slice on a Plate with Drinking Glass and Cutting Board in the Background

First you’ll need to prepare your eggplant. Slice it into thin slabs, and if needed, salt them.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Give the oil a minute to heat up, and then arrange some of your eggplant slices in the skillet. You’ll probably need to cook them in batches.

Cook the eggplant slices for 4 or 5 minutes on each side, until they become tender and show some browning. Transfer them to a plate when they’re done.

Next, mix up your marinade: soy sauce, red wine vinegar, a touch of maple syrup, liquid smoke garlic, and some spices. Were aiming for a smoky, spicy flavor that’s on par with Italian meats such as salami and capicola. Let the eggplant marinate for 30 minutes or so.

Collage Showing Steps for Making Eggplant For a Vegan Muffaletta: Pan-Fry Eggplant Slabs, Mix Marinade, and Pour Marinade Over Cooked Eggplant

While the eggplant marinates, mix up your olive salad. You might want to make extra, because if you’re anything like me you’ll be snacking away on it!

Bowl Filled with Olive Salad and a Spoon

Now it’s time to assemble the sandwich. Slice your bread in half and scoop out a bit of the interior to make room for your fillings. Start layering: olive salad, cheese, eggplant, more cheese, roasted red peppers, more eggplant, and top it all off with the rest of your olive salad.

Close up the sandwich, wrap it up in plastic, and use something heavy and flat, like a cast-iron skillet or cookbook, to weigh it down. I’d recommend letting your sandwich compress for at least a half hour before slicing and devouring.

Collage Showing Stages of Layering To Make a Vegan Muffaletta

Vegan Muffaletta Tips & FAQ

  • This vegan muffaletta is best eaten within 2 days. Store it in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic.
  • Make ahead-option: the eggplant can be cooked and marinated up to 2 days before assembling the sandwich.
  • How do I know if my eggplant needs to be salted? If your eggplant is very fresh, it probably doesn’t. If it’s been hanging around for a while or shows brown spots when you cut into it, you’ll probably want to salt it to remove any bitterness.
  • Is there a way to cook the eggplant without all that oil? Roasting would probably be your best bet. While I haven’t tried roasting the eggplant for my muffaletta, I think it would work at about 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes on each side.
  • What type of vegan cheese do you recommend for this recipe? I used Daiya’s Provolone Style slices. I’m a big fan of Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda and Field Roast Creamy Original Chao, and I think they’d be delicious in this sandwich as well!
  • Not into store-bought vegan cheese? Use the homemade mozzarella from this recipe.

Vegan Muffaletta Cut into Wedges with Large Slice in the Foreground

Like this recipe? If so, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter. And please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you make it!

Eggplant Muffaletta

This vegan muffaletta sandwich is packed with spicy marinated eggplant, roasted red pepper slices, and zippy olive salad! A delicious make-ahead vegan sandwich that gets better with time. This one is perfect for picnics!

For the Marinated Eggplant

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound eggplant (2 small or 1 medium), (sliced about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 garlic clove, (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes ((or to taste))
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Olive Salad

  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, (halved)
  • 1/2 cup black olives (such as Kalamata), (halved)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2-3 pepperoncini, (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

For the Sandwich

  • 1 small (about 8-inch) round Italian boule ((or another type of round bread, such as focaccia))
  • 4 slices vegan cheese, (preferably provolone or mozzarella flavor)
  • 1 large roasted red pepper, (or about 1/2 cup roasted red pepper slices)
  1. Begin by preparing the eggplant. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the oil and place it over medium heat.

  2. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant slices in an even layer. Add as many as you can fit without crowding the skillet, and cook the remaining slices in a second batch.

  3. Cook the eggplant for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until tender and browned.

  4. Remove the cooked eggplant from the skillet and transfer it to a plate. Let it cool while you prepare the marinade.

  5. Stir the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, and black pepper together in a small bowl.

  6. Arrange the eggplant slices in a shallow dish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the eggplant, and place the dish in the fridge.

  7. Allow the eggplant to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

  8. While the eggplant marinates, stir the ingredients for the olive salad together in a small bowl.

  9. To assemble the sandwich, slice the bread in half, thickness-wise, and scoop out some of the interior.

  10. Layer the fillings on the bottom half of the bread in the following order: half of the olive salad, two slices of cheese, half of the eggplant, two more slices of cheese, roasted red pepper, the remaining eggplant, and the remaining olive salad.

  11. Place the top half of the bread over the fillings to close the sandwich, then wrap the loaf in plastic wrap. Place a heavy flat object, such as a cookbook or skillet, over the sandwich and press it for at least 30 minutes.

  12. Cut into quarters and serve.

The post Eggplant Muffaletta appeared first on Connoisseurus Veg.

Related Posts

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This