February 10, 2010


After catering the food for a Mardi Gras party this past weekend, the cajun spices that were left lingering in my kitchen gave me a hankering for some New Orleans style grub. However, cajun food is not only loaded with flavor, it is also loaded with calories. For instance: shrimp etouffée, catfish tchoupitoulas (chop-i-TOO-lus), and beignets. All severely high in fat. And as I mentioned last week, I am currently on a get-ready-for-bathing-suit-season diet. So I had to find something that would a) satisfy my craving for cajun and b) adhere to my strict dieting guidelines.

Cooking Light revamped their magazine a couple of months ago, providing a picture for every single recipe (a feature that I absolutely love!) as well as doing an article on one specific city every issue, featuring recipes that pertain to that particular city. I thought I had remembered a feature on New Orleans a while back so I set off to dig through my old stacks (upon stacks) of food magazines, and low and behold I was right! A whole section dedicated to the city of New Orleans.

The recipe that caught my eye was the one for Muffuletta, a meaty sandwich with a spicy and tangy olive salad. The olive salad in Cooking Light's version was, well, a little too basic for me. So I took the liberty of making a few changes to the recipe, and although it might be slightly higher in calories than Cooking Light's, I think the end result was well worth those few measly calories. I'll just do some extra sit-ups later...

Recipe Adapted from Cooking Light

16 oz jar Italian Mix Giardiniera, drained and chopped
1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives (manzanilla or Spanish) chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup chopped pepperoncini
1/3 cup chopped Peppadew (or sweet piquanté peppers)
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T chopped celery
2 T chopped carrot
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T canola oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
¾ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 loaf country Italian bread (other option: whole wheat pita bread)
4 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese (Sargento)
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 oz skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, thinly sliced
4 oz thinly sliced ham 2 oz Genoa salami

1. Combine first 16 ingredients (giardiniera through ground pepper) in a large bowl, mix well, and transfer to a glass jar. Chill overnight as to allow the flavors to combine.

2. Cut the Italian loaf in half horizontally. Hollow out both the top and bottom halves so that you are left with approximately 10 oz of bread.

3. Layer the bottom loaf half with 4 slices provolone, 4 slices mozzarella, 4 oz sliced chicken breast, 4 oz ham, and 2 oz Genoa salami. Top with approximately 6 oz olive salad (about 1 1/3 cups) then top half of loaf. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight. (This will allow the olive salad to soak into the bread.)

4. Remove plastic wrap and cut sandwich into quarters.

Serves 4

* This recipe allows for plenty of leftover olive salad. Use leftovers on other sandwiches, salads, or even on top of grilled fish. It will last for up to one week.

Calories: 494
Fat: 18.8g
Carbs: 44g
Protein: 35.3
Fiber: 3.5

Want to cut even more calories? Layer one slice of provolone, one slice mozzarella, 1 oz sliced chicken, 1 oz ham, ½ oz salami, and 1.5 oz (about 1/3 cup) of olive salad in half of a whole wheat pita.

Calories: 386
Fat: 18. 8g
Carbs: 20g
Protein: 30.8g
Fiber: 3.2g


  1. Love the blog Karlie!
    Super impressed with your food photography skills!!

  2. Your Muffuletta looks delicious!

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope you will visit again. I enjoyed touring your blog!

  3. yum!! i'll take some of that for lunch :)

  4. Anonymous3/13/2011

    This recipe was just what I was looking for.....loved it. I'm going to make another batch of the olive salad and take to a girls' night with pita chips for scooping. Should be great! Thanks for the recipe....I will be making often!

  5. Great idea to use the olive salad as a dip with pita chips! Thanks for the suggestion!!

  6. Anonymous7/12/2011

    I took this to a concert of cajun music in the park. It was delicious. I substituted pickled carrots for the first ingredient and used olive bread. My husband loved the sandwich.

  7. Thanks for commenting! I was just thinking about this sandwich the other day... now I definitely think I'm going to make it again!