Giant Italian Picnic Sandwich
It’s almost beach and picnic season and this giant Italian picnic sandwich is all you need to feed a crowd! Imagine crusty ciabatta filled with all the best Italian meats and cheeses, crisp veggies, marinated onions, and a spicy Calabrian chili spread. This sandwich is absolute heaven and it comes together in a snap.
What is an Italian Picnic Sandwich?
Generally, an Italian sandwich has a combination of cured meats – I like salamis and mortadella, but other options include prosciutto and capocollo. For cheeses, provolone is standard, but I also like to add a bit of torn fresh mozzarella.
Besides loads of meats and cheese on an Italian sandwich, it usually has a chopped mix of pickled and crunchy vegetables to round out the sandwich.
Whether you call it an Italian picnic sandwich, a hoagie, or just a party sandwich, this is a recipe that should definitely be in your arsenal!
How to make an Italian Picnic Sandwich
This recipe is so easy to make. All you need is 10 minutes and some high-quality ingredients. This giant Italian picnic sandwich feeds a crowd and is perfect for game days or heading to the beach.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bread. You’ll want a large piece of bread like a ciabatta loaf or a sturdy focaccia loaf.
- Cheese. I went for Italian cheeses here and used provolone and fresh mozzarella.
- Meats. Head to your local deli counter and pick your favorites!
- Greens. I used iceberg for crunch and arugula for a nice peppery flavor.
- Marinated onions. You can use raw onions here, but the marinated onions are so flavorful and easy to make.
- Tomato. Pick whatever tomatoes are ripe and in season for best flavor.
- Calabrian Chili Mayo. Combine good quality mayonnaise with some Calabrian Chili paste for a super flavorful sandwich spread.
Best meats to use in an Italian Picnic Sandwich
When choosing meats for this Italian picnic sandwich, you’ll want some contrasting options. Pick some softer meats (like mortadella, prosciutto, or porchetta) to compliment firmer salamis. If you have a local Italian market, head to the deli counter and have them thinly slice the meats for you.
Next, you’ll want some salamis with contrasting flavors. Pick a spicy one (like soppressata), a lightly smokey one (like capocollo), and a mild salami (like genoa or finocchiona). Whichever meats you choose, make sure they’re thinly sliced so that they’re easy to bite through.
Where to find ingredients for an Italian Picnic Sandwich
- Your local grocery store. Depending on your location, head to the deli counter at a well-stocked grocery store. Most deli counters have a wide variety of meats and cheeses and having them slice it for you is often cheaper than any packaged meats.
- An Italian market. If you’re lucky enough to have an Italian market near you, that’s the place to go! You’ll find everything you need to make this sandwich plus marinated olives and cheeses to take with your on your picnic.
How to store and travel with an Italian Picnic Sandwich
Now that you’ve got your sandwich sandwich, it’s time to travel! Since I’m probably not bringing a knife with me where I’m going, I like to cut the sandwich before packing it up.
Once you’ve cut your sandwich into pieces, wrap each piece first in either wax paper or parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. This way you won’t have any drips or spills.
You can store these pre-made sandwiches in the fridge for up to 2 days or travel with them right away. I recommend transporting the wrapped sandwiches in a cooler with ice packs to keep them fresh.
More Italian-Inspired Recipes to Try
Instant Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
Kale Caesar Salad
Flank Steak with Burrata
Classic Panzanella Salad
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Giant Italian Picnic Sandwich
- 1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup High-Quality Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 loaf Ciabatta bread (12-14" long)
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Calabrian Chili Paste
- 8 slices Provolone Cheese
- 8 oz Mortadella, thinly sliced
- 4 oz Capocollo, thinly sliced
- 4 oz Genoa salami, thinly sliced
- 4 oz Soppressata, thinly sliced
- 2 Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
- 6 oz Fresh Mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 2 cups Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
- 2 cups Arugula
- Flaky Sea Salt
- Freshly cracked Black Pepper
- To make the marinated onions: place the sliced onions in a small bowl. Toss with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and salt until well coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Slice the loaf of ciabatta in half length-wise.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and chili paste together until smooth. Spread the mayonnaise on the bottom half of the ciabatta.
- Layer on the provolone cheese, mortadella, capocollo, genoa salami, and soppressata. Top with the thinly sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and cracked pepper.
- Add the torn pieces of mozzarella and the marinated onions and top with the shredded iceberg and arugula. Drizzle with the dressing from the marinated onions and top with the top slice of ciabatta.
- Cut the sandwich into 6-8 pieces and enjoy.