• The sandwich that doubles as a birthday cake (Adam Liaw)Source: Adam Liaw

Although originally a sandwich developed in New Orleans by Sicilian migrants, a muffaletta is an excellent and portable picnic dish. It’s also a great way to show off local ingredients. Just layer local smallgoods, cheeses and grilled vegetables into a hollowed-out loaf and you’re just about done.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (53 votes)


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 22 cm sourdough cob loaf
  • assorted cheeses, such as mozzarella or fresh pecorino
  • assorted smallgoods, such as prosciutto, sopressa or coppa
  • 1 large roasted red capsicum, cut into cheeks
  • stuffed green olives, to serve

Olive salad

  • ½ cup giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables), roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted capsicum, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 2 hours

In batches, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the eggplant slices until golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.

Combine the spinach and basil.

To make the olive salad, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Cut a “lid” from the top of the cob loaf and, using your hands, remove as much bread as possible from the inside of the loaf. Reserve the bread for another purpose. Layer the cob loaf with all of the ingredients, starting with a layer of half the spinach and basil then alternating with layers of cheeses, smallgoods and vegetables, ensuring that each layer completely covers the previous. Around the centre of the loaf, include a thick layer of olive salad. Finish with a layer of the remaining spinach and basil. Place the lid on top, cover with a tea towel and tie up with kitchen string, compacting the ingredients within the loaf. Place a weight on top and set aside for at least 2 hours.

Slice muffaletta into wedges and serve with olives.