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Muffuletta panzanella, meaning simply ‘bread salad,’ is a simplified and lightened up version of the legendary sandwich. But the flavor is unmistakably ‘muffuletta’. Make this salad your own, swapping in your favorite combination of cheeses and cured meats.

Muffuletta-Panzanella-bread-salad-photo from-above

We were in New Orleans ducking into a sandwich shop, out of the daily downpour. But it wasn’t just shelter we were after, it was also a muffuletta sandwich.

Of the famous dishes we tried in The Big Easy, the muffuletta sandwich stood out – piled high with salami, mortadella, spicy sopressata, provolone, mozzarella and spicy briny olive salad. Also worthy of their accolades: beignets from Café Du Monde, seafood jambalaya and coffee with chicory.

Muffuletta Panzanella Bread Salad served on white plates

Muffuletta sandwiches are picnic perfect because they are best made ahead of time, giving the flavors time to meld and soak into the bread. When you make this salad, you’ll toss the bread with dressing a few minutes ahead of time for the same reason. Be sure that the ciabatta or focaccia you use is fresh and soft, primed to soak up delicious juices from the dressing.

And if you love Southern food like I do, don’t miss the BEST crab cake recipe with Remoulade Sauce, or this Slow Cooker Jambalaya, my favorite Skillet Cornbread (make Cornbread Pudding with any leftovers), Shrimp Creole, Homemade Biscuits, Brabant Potatoes and, of course, Fried Green Tomatoes!

Muffuletta Panzanella (bread salad)

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Calories: 753
Servings: 4 people
All of the flavors of the classic sandwich, but lightened up as a bread salad! This recipe serves two as a main dish or four as a side. Scale the recipe to as many hungry mouths as you’d like to feed!

Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces ciabatta or focaccia bread cut into bite sized pieces

For the dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained and minced
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives chopped
  • 12 pitted castelvetrano olives chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced spicy peppers packed in oil such as Mama Lil’s
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano plus more for garnish

For the salad

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 16 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 5 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 4 ounces sopressata sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 ounce prosciutto sliced into 1/4-inch strips

Instructions 

  • Place the bread in a bowl large enough to hold all salad ingredients with room to spare.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar and mustard until combined; slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Stir in minced shallot, capers, olives, peppers and oregano. Spoon all but 2 tablespoons of mixture over bread and toss to coat evenly. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Toss once more.
  • Add remaining ingredients and last of dressing to bread and gently toss to coat. Divide between four serving plates. Garnish with fresh Oregano leaves if you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 1744mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1290IU | Vitamin C: 24.5mg | Calcium: 342mg | Iron: 2.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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19 Comments

  1. Sabrina says:

    Love love love this Panzanella! Sopressata and proscuitto- yum!

  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    What a beautiful sounding salad. I love that there are just a few ingredients, but you have such a richly complex dressing! I always forget about panzanella. So delicious!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Helen! You nailed it…it’s all about the dressing in this. I was thinking it would be a good base for bruschetta too – bruschetta muffuletta kind of has a nice ring to it. 🙂

  3. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four says:

    Oh man, this is so genius! What a GREAT idea! I love everything in a typical muffuletta sandwich, and this bread salad version is freakin amazing! What a talented, fabulous friend I have! 😉 <3

    1. Marissa says:

      You’re so sweet to me, Beeta. <3 This salad isn't exactly light fare - it's still pretty rich, but far less so than the traditional sandwich yet it really really really tastes like a genuine muffuletta.

  4. Mila furman says:

    SO genius!
    I love New Orleans…so much that I did an entire post dedicated to it… The funny thing is I didn’t get to eat the mufelletta either time I was there 🙁 The first time I was preggo so no deli for me and the second time we just never made it to Central Grocery 🙁 So no mufeletta for me….but this salad Marissa…it’s everything!!!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Mila! Central Grocery! That’s exactly the spot we ducked into on that rainy day…

  5. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says:

    I have yet to experience New Orleans, but it’s been on my bucket list for years and now even more so. Food is such a great way to relive our travel, isn’t it? These salads look killer – so completely packed with flavor!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Faith. 🙂 We’ve only been there once and it was 5 days before Hurricane Katrina hit – so crazy. It really is an amazing place and we definitely want to go back.