These Italian Pressed Sandwiches are loaded with fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced prosciutto and salami, basil, peppers, and a balsamic vinaigrette. They are a great easy, make-ahead cold sandwich for a crowd or summer picnic!
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ciabatta: I love using a ciabatta loaf because it is crusty and can hold up to all the ingredients. It is also long and thin, giving you plenty of surface area for all the ingredients and no bite is too “bready.”
- Prosciutto: I love the salty and smoky flavor of thinly sliced prosciutto.
- Salami: For ease, I use presliced salami from the store. If you choose to use a log of salami, you can carefully thinly slice it at home.
- Roasted red peppers: I keep it easy and buy them in a jar, but you can roast and peel red peppers at home, if you prefer. Pat the jarred peppers down with paper towels. For any peppers that are super thick, thinly slice them in half lengthwise.
- Italian seasoning blend: most stores carry Italian seasoning, but if you can't find it you can substitute it for a little dried oregano and dried thyme, or leave it out altogether.
Why you'll love this pressed sandwich
- Pressing the sandwich down with bricks or heavy pans melds the flavors together and makes it easier to eat.
- This no-cook Italian sandwich is so easy to make!
- You'll have a delicious, hearty sandwich without needing to turn on the oven or stove-- making it perfect for hot summer months!
- You can make this sandwich ahead! In fact, it is actually even better when made ahead.
How to make an Italian Pressed Sandwich
- Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and setting it aside
- Slice the bread in half lengthwise and make sure all your filling ingredients are thinly sliced.
- Layer the Italian deli meats, mozzarella, peppers, and basil on the bottom half of the bread.
4. Drizzle the vinaigrette on the top half of the bread and close the sandwich.
5. Wrap the sandwich in parchment paper (or foil or plastic wrap) and use a brick or heavy pan to weigh it down. Place the pressed sandwich in the fridge (you may need to cut it in half to fit it in your fridge).
6. Allow the sandwich to be pressed for 1-12 hours before removing the weight, slicing, and serving.
Prep ahead and storage tips
This pressed sandwich is an excellent cold lunch to make ahead! This sandwich is best served within 1-24 hours. It will hold up for about 3 days but I love serving it within the first 24 hours so that the basil is still bright green and the bread isn't too soft. Make it the evening before and serve it for lunch the next day!
To store, keep the sandwich wrapped in parchment, foil, plastic wrap, or an airtight container in the refrigerator. The sandwich can be stored cut or uncut.
This Italian sandwich recipe serves 6 by itself or with a small side dish or two. If you are serving this pressed sandwich as part of a buffet or potluck with tons of other sides, you can cut the sandwich into 12 pieces to serve 12.
For a fun appetizer idea for a big party, try cutting this sandwich into 24 pieces by slicing it into 12 pieces, then cutting each piece in half. That would make for a fun slider-sized appetizer for game day, an open house, or any party!
What to serve this pressed sandwich with
This sandwich would be delicious served with some chips or fruit, or a side dish, such as:
- Summer Salad with Quinoa
- Homemade Caesar Salad
- Tomato, Basil, Feta Salad
- Roasted Potato Salad with Corn
If you make this Italian Pressed Sandwich, I'd love to know what you think in the comments below!
Italian Pressed Sandwich
- 1 lb loaf of ciabatta halved lengthwise to separete the top and bottom
- 7 oz proscuitto
- 8 oz thinly sliced salami
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- 16 oz jarred roasted red peppers thinly sliced, patted dry
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella balls thinly sliced, patted dry
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Place your two pieces of bread side my side. with the soft part of the bread facing up. On the bottom half, layer on the proscuitto and salami in an even layer. Top with an even layer of the basil, then the peppers, then the mozzarella.
- In a small mixing bowl, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette evenly over the top piece of bread.
- Close the top piece of bread onto the lower half of the sandwich. Wrap the entire sandwich in parchment paper, foil, or plastic wrap. Use bricks or a heavy pan with cans to weigh the sandwich down. Refrigerate the sandwich for 1-12 hours before removing the weights, slicing, and serving.
- This sandwich can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept wrapped in the refrigerator.
- Serves 6 people as an entree or 12 people if serving with lots of sides. Alternatively, you can cut the sandwich into 24 sliders for an appetizer.