Whether you're making finger food for a party, dinner for a hungry family, or just trying to prep a few days of easy lunches, this big Italian sandwich is a surefire win!
It's loaded with some of my favorite flavors and textures — soft Italian bread, salty cured meats, and crunchy pickled veggies. The best part is you make one huge loaf, slice it and serve it. Dinner is done! Or lunch! Or party snacks! Why did I ever make individual sandwiches?!
What Is an Italian Sandwich?
Generally, an Italian sandwich has a combination of cured meats – I like salami and pepperoni, but other options include mortadella and capicola. I like to add roast turkey to mine also, but that’s not completely traditional.
For cheeses, provolone is standard and what I like best, but Swiss is nice too!
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 sub, a hoagie, or just a party sandwich, this is something that should definitely be in your recipe arsenal!
Why Italian Subs Make Great Party Sandwiches
This is such a great party sandwich option because you just make one huge sandwich and chop it up into the portions you need. It can be a centerpiece meal with larger portions, or you can slice smaller slivers of sandwich for more of an appetizer portion.
If you aren’t planning any parties anytime soon, this makes great fast lunches or a quick and easy dinner for a house of hungry people!
The Best Bread for Italian Sandwiches
I like a soft Italian loaf for my sandwich. The key to making this loaf work is to cut it in half and remove some of the inner breading from the top half of the loaf. This will give you more room for the fillings!
Suggestions and Substitutions
One of the most fun things to do for a sandwich like this is to go to your favorite deli and just pick a few cured meats to add to your sandwich.
Don’t feel like you need to stick to a specific recipe, but do try to keep the proportions in line. For a whole sandwich, I try to shoot for 12-16 ounces of meat and 6-7 ounces of cheese. Could you use more? Sure. But that’s a good guideline.
When it comes to vegetables, you can definitely get creative. Any pickled olive or vegetable can work. Look for giardiniera (hot or mild) or banana peppers. You can also buy a pre-mixed olive tapenade spread and use that!
Tips and Tricks for Packing This Sandwich
If you are packing this up for a party on the go, I’d recommend wrapping the sandwich whole and chopping it when you get to where you are going. That will help the sandwich from falling apart. You can also use toothpicks or small skewers to secure the sandwich portions.
On the other hand, if you are keeping the sandwich in your fridge for fast lunches, go ahead and chop it up completely and wrap the sandwiches individually so you can grab and go!
Make Ahead Italian Sandwich
This sandwich is absolutely fine to make a few days in advance. My wife and I ate this sandwich for three days straight, and it was great even on the third day.
That said, I wouldn’t take it much further than that. After that, the bread starts to get really soggy and the vegetables lose their luster!
You Need a Sandwich, We’ve Got Recipes!
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- Sous Vide French Dip Sandwiches
- Arugula, Mozzarella, Tomato on Focaccia
- Cuban Sandwich (Cubano)
- Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions
Italian Sub Sandwich
- 1 large Italian bread loaf
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces Genoa salami
- 4 ounces pepperoni
- 8 ounces roasted turkey breast
- 6 ounces Provolone cheese
- 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pickled sliced banana peppers (pepperoncini)
- 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Prepare the bread:
Cut Italian loaf in half longwise with a serrated knife. Scoop out some of the bread in the top half of the loaf. This will give you more room for toppings and make sure the sandwich doesn’t fall apart. Just don’t go too deep. You still need it to hold together. (Use the leftover bread to make breadcrumbs!)
Layer the meats and cheese:
Spread mayonnaise on the bottom half of the loaf. Layer the meats and cheese on the bottom portion of the loaf in any order you like. I prefer to the do the cured meats on the bottom, then turkey, and then cheese, but there is no science to it.
Finish the sandwich:
Chop the iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers, and olives. Add a bed of lettuce to the top half of the loaf (that has been hollowed slightly).
Top with chopped tomatoes, peppers, and olives. Drizzle the vegetables liberally with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Bring the two halves of the loaf together and press slightly.
Cutting and serving the sandwich:
Cut the large sandwich into six evenly sized pieces. Serve immediately or wrap and store for later.
Leftovers! If you aren’t serving immediately, cut the sandwich into portions, and wrap each portion tightly with plastic wrap. Sandwiches will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days.