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Nov 28, 2000 01:23 PM

Muffaletta without olives?

  • l

I hate olives - should I even bother trying a muffaletta without them or is the olive spread the whole point?

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  1. That's like asking, "What's a Reuben like without the sauerkraut?" Duh . . . a different sandwich.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Creole

      Hey, I was asking because I didn't know. No need to get snippy about it.

      I'd be happy to advise a saurkraut-hating visitor to NYC to try a delicious corned beef on rye rather than a Reuben -- was similarly wondering if there's anything special about a muffaletta BESIDES the olives.

      1. re: Lisa Z

        Lisa: I'l try to respond w/o being snippy; I wouldn't want you to go Al Gore on me. :>)

        It's not merely olives, it's olive salad: chopped olives and peppers (and maybe carrots?), in an olive-oil based dressing. Olive salad is one of the three essential ingredients of a muffaletta. It's just not a muff w/o the olive salad.

        1. re: Bob W.

          The olive salad is the -only- thing that separates the standard italian sub from a muffuletta -- that and the consistency of the bread. But you can replicate a pretty damn good facsimile of a CG muffuletta with their olive salad and premium cold cuts.

          The traditional ingredients

          Genoa salami
          Olive salad
          Sliced mozzarella cheese
          Sliced provolone cheese
          Round Italian bread, but a ciabotta roll or a tuscan loaf will do quite well.

          I even like to add speck or prosciutto de parma to this.

          If you take a look at whats in the olive salad from Central Grocery, there is an awful lot of other stuff in those jars besides green olives, kalamata olives and olive oil -- I think there is peppers, carrots, cauliflower, and other stuff... I have some at home I can try to identify the contents when I get back.

          Here's a sample URL if you want to buy some with a nice photo. Theres a whole buncha places on the net that you can get it.

          You can buy it directly from the source at:


          1. re: Jason Perlow

            Mmmm, Central Grocery Muffaletta's - you're making me hungry.

          2. re: Bob W.

            Thanks Bob. I'll now concede and leave the muffalettas for others.

      2. Understandably you may not get the full effect of a muffaletta without olives, but if your okay with olive oil and look at the recipe for olive salad it's only one of many ingredients. And I enjoy them without all the time the bread meats and cheeses also play a very big role.

        1. i always leave out the olives, since I'm allergic, and add a giardinera chopped mix instead

          1. While the olives are indeed the most flavor-forward portion of this sandwich, you can indeed as another poster said, do the giardinera salad without the olives. Truth be told, when I'm asked to describe the olive salad, I tell people imagine a giardinera salad with olives added.

            Now, to your dilemma, what aspect of olives do you not like? Are there other things you dislike as well as olives? I'm betting if you tell us your other food likes/dislikes we can inch that sandwich a bit closer to the experience without making you hate it.

            Here's another thought. When you're ready to go home, go to Central Grocery (plan ahead, they're closed Sunday and Monday) and get a muffaletta wrapped to travel. That's how they're served there, by the way. When you get home, the flavors of the olive salad (which will not really be the same as biting into olives) will have permeated the bread beautifully. Then, scrape the olive salad off the bread and enjoy a taste of New Orleans and pretend you're still here.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rouxdauphine

              They probably found an alternative some time in the 13 years since they asked the question... ;)

              1. re: kukubura

                Let us hope so.

                At the end of the day, it was sort of like asking, "can I get a fried shrimp po-boy, when I hate shrimp."

                Now, I loved Ruben sandwiches, BUT wanted turkey, in lieu of pastrami. At one great deli, I would order a "Turkey Ruben," and if Mrs. Goldstein was alone, would have to grovel. If her partner was there, then the order would be "just do a Ruben with smoked turkey, and do not fight with the patron!"

                There CAN be options.


            2. So, where can I get oysters on the half shell, minus dem ersters?

              1 Reply
              1. re: nolala

                Lisa- I feel your pain as I also do not do olives. Central makes dry muff's (which I have had) and there would be nothing wrong with piling on pepperoncini's and a well flavored italian dressing. Maybe it's not a muffaletta (as a rueben is not a reuben without all the ingredients) but the filling is great and the bread is great and don't feel like you are breaking any laws in trying to enjoy it.