This Italian ciabatta sandwich tastes just as good as the ones you’d get from a deli. It’s filled with delicious Italian meats and spread with spicy Calabrian chile mayo. Plus, we share the secret to what makes a deli-style sandwich so good (hint: it’s the lettuce!).
Ever wondered why sandwiches from a deli taste so much better? The secret is plenty of condiments and dressing up your lettuce with oil, vinegar, and herbs. It adds moisture to the sandwich which is key to achieving that sub shop taste.
In this Italian ciabatta sandwich, we made sure to utilize this tip as well as add a bit of Calabrian chile mayo for an extra kick. It’s a satisfying lunch that’s perfect for packing into your spring or summer picnic basket!
- Ciabatta Loaf: We recommend toasting it!
- Italian Meats: We use a combination of salami, capocollo, ham, mortadella, and pepperoni. Capocollo also goes by coppa or capicola, so if you have trouble finding it, look for it under any of these names.
- Provolone: You’ll need about 4 large slices.
- Iceberg Lettuce: This shreds a lot easier than other types of lettuce. It’s also what delis tend to use on their sandwiches.
- Red Onion: You can use white onion if you want, but we prefer red since it’s a bit sweeter and less pungent.
- Tomatoes: One large tomato should be enough for the whole sandwich or you can slice up 3 Campari tomatoes.
- Olive Oil: We use extra virgin.
- Red Wine Vinegar: This gives Italian sandwiches that classic tang!
- Dried Herbs: A combination of dried basil and oregano gives the sandwich a boost of flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: Add as much or as little as you want.
- Mayo: You’ll need ¼ cup.
- Crushed Calabrian Chiles: These give the mayo a bit of a kick and lots of flavor.
We use crushed Calabrian chiles packed in oil from Williams Sonoma.
Since there’s a lot of different meats in this sandwich, you want them all to be sliced pretty thin. Especially the capocollo as it’s a tougher meat than the rest. Our ham, mortadella, and capocollo were cut as thin as possible. The salami and pepperoni should also be thin, but they can be slightly thicker than the rest of the deli meats.
– Black olives
– Green bell peppers
– Olive tapenade
– Banana peppers
More Sandwich Recipes You’ll Love
If you like this Italian sandwich, try out our Mediterranean goat cheese sandwich. It’s vegetarian, but we give you a meat option if you like a bit of protein on yours.
Tips for Making the Best Italian Sandwich
- Toast your bread. Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C and bake for 2-5 minutes or until warm and toasty. We like to spray the oven with water 2-3 times to help it get nice and crackly.
- Don’t skimp on the condiments. The secret to a deli-style sandwich is plenty of moisture, so be sure to add plenty of chile mayo and lettuce (see next tip).
- Season those vegetables! When we make sandwiches at home, we don’t usually think about dressing up our lettuce. But in this case, we’re going to add some herbs along with a bit of oil and vinegar. Trust us, it makes a huge difference!
- Use high-quality meat from the deli. It might seem obvious, but getting your meat sliced from the deli is better than the prepackaged stuff. We like the Boar’s Head brand, but any high quality brand will do.
This Italian ciabatta sandwich tastes just as good as the ones you’d get from a deli. It’s filled with delicious Italian meats and spread with spicy Calabrian chile mayo. Eat it for lunch or a quick dinner!
For the Lettuce and Red Onion:
- 1 ½ cups (105 g) iceberg lettuce, shredded
- ⅓ cup (25 g) red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp dried basil
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Calabrian Chile Mayo:
- ¼ cup (60 g) mayo
- 1 –2 tbsp crushed Calabrian chiles
For the Italian Sandwich:
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- 3 slices salami*
- 8 slices capocolla*
- 3 slices ham*
- 8 slices mortadella*
- 8 slices pepperoni*
- 4 slices provolone
- 1 large tomato or 3 campari tomatoes, sliced
- Pepperonicini peppers, sliced (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried basil, dried oregano, and salt and pepper.
- Toss in the shredded lettuce and thinly sliced red onion until everything is well coated. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayo and crushed Calabrian chiles until combined.
- Cut the ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise and spread a layer of the Calabrian chile mayo on both sides.
- Layer on the meats and provolone cheese on top of the bottom layer of the bread.
- Add the lettuce mix, tomatoes, and pepperoncini peppers (optional).
- Place the top half of the bread on top and cut into 4 equal sandwiches. A long bread knife works best.
- Add a side of chips and enjoy!
Bread: You can also use 4 sub rolls or hoagies. You may have to adjust the amount of meat that goes into each one. We also recommend toasting your bread. Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C and bake for 2-5 minutes or until toasty and crackly.
Meats: Depending on which type of bread you use, you may need more or less slices. It also depends on how large they are. Our salami and ham slices were pretty big which is why there’s less than the other meats. You just need enough of each to have their own layer in the sandwich.
Make sure to get your meats sliced very thin so they don’t overwhelm the sandwich.
Additional Toppings: green bell peppers, black olives, olive tapenade, banana peppers
Use the remaining Calabrian chile mayo for fries, burgers, roasted potatoes, etc. It’s delicious!
Keywords: Italian sandwich, Calabrian chile mayo, Italian ciabatta sandwich