Do you know what a muffaletta is? Well it's not vegan, that's for sure! It's a submarine-style sandwich made with a kind of bread that originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It's usually starts with this bread and is layered with an olive salad (key ingredient), deli meats and cheese.
Long before I began eating as a vegan, I made one of these subs and it was excellent! (if you like smoked meats topped with an olive salad that is...) But it's the olive salad that makes the sandwich. It's very different and really tasty!
So, one day while I was cruising the internet I came across a recipe for a muffaletta salad. Reading the recipe brought back memories and I became intrigued with the idea of using the olive salad minus the meat. The base of this salad is from that recipe. I found it on the Food Network website. It's by Guy Fieri. As usual, I wasn't completely sold on the recipe as is. I thought I could improve on the dish, and I did!
Here are the changes I made...With the dressing, I changed the quantity of a couple of the ingredients and the length of time it is blended. Then, I changed the ingredients of the salad itself so it became more of a meal. The dressing is what really makes this dish. It's wonderful, really wonderful. You have to try it.
BTW, I took the salad to a neighbors house (with kalamata olives, not canned). She loved it, so I decided to post it. Thanks Joan!
Ingredients for the salad dressing
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive juice from can
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup diced black olives (I used kalamata)
- 1/2 cup diced green olives
- 1/2 cup diced marinated artichoke hearts, diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
DirectionsIn a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, olive juice, lemon juice, red chili flakes, pepper and all vegetables. Pulse until pureed. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator.
- 16oz. of orzo
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- 1/2 - 1 English seedless cucumber, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 3 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
- the remainder of the black olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- 2-3 jars of marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Cook the orzo according to directions. Drain and coat with enough dressing to keep the pasta from sticking together and give it flavor. When the orzo is cool, add the vegetables and toss. Finally, add more dressing to taste and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate. You will end up with dressing left over, but it's great on greens and pasta!