Everyone loves a good sandwich no matter the occasion and Mardi Gras is the perfect time to make a party-size Muffuletta. Dress it up using coloring cheese to make it fun for this special occasion.
I’ll never forget the first time I tasted a unique sandwich that was piled high with 4 kinds of lunch meat, 2 kinds of cheese, and a zesty topping made using olives, roasted red peppers, artichokes, capers, and a simple vinaigrette. I was truly amazed at how all the bold flavors worked together so harmoniously.
When compiling recipes to use for Mardi Gras, I knew I wanted to find a way to make this New Orleans ‘ favorite look festive.
The French Boule, the bread in this sandwich, is rounded on top and has patches of deep golden brown color, as well as, white cracks on its surface. I thought of using the colored milk technique as I used in my Conversation Heart Toast Recipe to paint directly onto the bread, but thought it would be challenging to paint around all the cracks, bumps, and color gradations.
I decided to simply cut out cheese, color it using food coloring, and attach it to the bread. I didn’t have any Mardi Gras-themed cookie cutters so I just used alphabet cutters.
To make the cheese decorations:
- Cut letters or shapes out of the cheese slices.
- Pour a few drops of coloring into a small bowl.
- Use a pastry brush or small clean paintbrush (one that has only been used for food) to paint the coloring onto the cheese.
What makes this sandwich unique is the olive salad that is spread onto the bread.
There are so many different versions of this olive salad using green, black, and Kalamata olives and pickled veggies, banana peppers, capers, shallots, garlic, celery, roasted red peppers, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil.
I chose the ingredients that I liked and added some marinated artichokes to the mix, because I was sure they would blend well with all the other flavors and because I just love them.
I refrigerated the olive salad overnight so that the flavors would all marry together, then I slathered it on my bread and allowed it to sit at room temperature for an hour so that the bread could soak up all the aromatic juices before piling it high with the meat and cheese. It was well worth the wait!
You can serve your Mardi Gras muffulettas hot or cold.
If you choose to serve it cold, place the cheese cutouts on top of the bread and heat the sandwich in a 200-degree oven just until the cheese cut-outs melt enough to adhere to the bread.
For a hot sandwich, heat the Muffaletta in a 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes then remove it from the oven, add the cheese cut-outs on the bread, return it to the oven for 1-2 minutes until the cheese letters adhere to the bread.
Cut the sandwich into slices and serve.
This fun Mardi Gras Muffaletta recipe was originally published on March 4, 2011. I updated it with better pictures and instructions in 2022.
A large French Boule topped with ham, salami, Capicola, Prosciutto di Parma, Provolone Cheese, mozzarella cheese, and a zest olive salad made with olives, roasted red peppers, celery, artichokes, and parsley.
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 roasted red pepper, drained well and coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped marinated artichokes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 French Boule 8"-10" in diameter
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces salty ham
- 4 ounces Genoa Salami or Hard Salami
- 2 ounces Capicola Ham
- 2 ounces Prosciutto di Parma
- 4 ounces Provolone Cheese
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
Slice French Boule in half.
In the top half scoop out about 1/2" of the bread and fill with olive salad.
Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour so the olive spread can soak into the crusty bread.
Layer the ham, salami, Capicola, Prosciutto di Parma, Provolone Cheese, and mozzarella cheese on top of the olive salad.
Place the bottom half of the bread over the top and carefully turn the sandwich right side up.
1-2 slices mozzarella cheese
green and purple food coloring (I used neon purple coloring, but you can combine red and blue to create purple coloring)
Cut letters or shapes out of the cheese slices. Pour a few drops of coloring in a small bowl.
Use a pastry brush or small clean paintbrush (one that has only been used for food) to paint the coloring onto the cheese.
Decorate the sandwich with the cheese just before serving. See the notes below about serving your Muffaletta hot or cold.
Serve the Muffuletta Hot or Cold
- If you choose to serve your Mardi Gras muffulettas cold, place the cheese cutouts on top of the bread and heat the sandwich in a 200-degree oven just until the cheese cut-outs melt enough to adhere to the bread. Or attach them using mustard or mayonnaise.
- For a hot sandwich, heat in a 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes then remove it from the oven, add the cheese cut-outs on the bread, return it to the oven for 1-2 minutes until the words adhere to the bread.
More Mardi Gras Recipes
Add a festive touch to a bowl of hearty Creole Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo. See the recipe to make this delicious Mardi Gras gumbo topped with pastry crowns and masks.
These pastry crowns not only look festive and fun, but they taste amazing. Each crown-shaped pie crust is filled with cheesecake mousse and caramelized bananas.
Dress up your beignets for Mardi Gras. It’s easy to create these Dazzling Diamond Beignets topped with colored powdered sugar.