Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love #3 and Vegan Muffuletta Sandwiches


Friday, September 30, 2011

Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love #3 and Vegan Muffuletta Sandwiches

Welcome again to the Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love link party!  Reader response has been great, and I love looking at all the clever submissions.  My three sons have now made reading the linky a part of their regular routine so they can troll through the lunchbox ideas and put in their requests :) 

Today I am featuring two of the most popular submissions from last week's party -- one recipe and one post full of great ideas.  Both entries tied for the highest number of views by readers… congratulations!  If you haven’t clicked on them already, take a minute to visit their blogs and get some lunchtime inspiration!

from Wayfaring Chocolate

from To The Moon And Back

For lunch today, I’m sharing a Vegan Muffuletta recipe that my boys have dubbed Rainbow Sandwiches.  The Muffuletta sandwich is a New Orleans tradition that is normally made with a huge peasant loaf stuffed with cold cuts, cheeses and olive salad.   A round loaf is hollowed out a bit, several inches of filling are layered on, and the whole thing is wrapped in plastic and left to marinate overnight in the fridge.   The flavors of a typical Muffuletta are strong, with onions, vinegar and olives as the most recognizable tastes in each bite... and one huge sandwich typically feeds several hungry people.

For my vegan version, I’ve sliced up a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and layered them generously into a whole wheat pita (feel free to use gluten-free bread here) with a yummy tapenade from the store: The Gracious Gourmet Garden Tomato Pesto (tomatoes, dried tomatoes, olive oil, agave, basil, garlic, salt, pepper).  Amazingly, when the veggies are sliced very thin, they act (and almost taste) just like cold cuts in the sandwich.

The inspiration for this version came when VintageDad sprung for a mandolin (the kind that cuts food really thin, not the musical instrument!).  On the first night he tried it out, he sliced up just about everything he could find in the fridge, then set out a big buffet and invited the kids to make their own sandwiches... the only rule was that each sandwich had to include at least four items.  The boys had a blast layering up apples, yellow squash, zucchini, strawberries, chives, endive, red and green pepper, olives, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos and even figs.  They had a choice of three different spreads -- two savory and one sweet -- and darned if even Picky Eater went back for seconds and thirds!

As I made my own Dagwood-type sandwich, piled high with veggies and savory stuff, I realized that I didn't miss the meat in my sandwich at all.  In fact, it occurred to me that my favorite part of muffuletta sandwiches in the past had been the flavorings, and their ability to cover up the less pleasant taste and texture of the cold cuts.  I had thought that going vegan would make eating sandwiches kind of dull, but I just LOVED my savory pile of crunchy healthy stuff, in all colors of the rainbow!  Feel free to make your own combination of fillings, but my favorite is below for reference.

P.S.  In my photo above, the other items in the lunchbox are dried pineapple rings, tiny clementines and lentil chips.

Vegan Muffuletta Sandwich

1 large peasant loaf or 4 small round rolls Bread (gluten free if possible)
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow squash
1/2 sweet red pepper
1 small endive
1 cup mixed spring lettuce (with spinach, if possible)
2 fresh figs
1 Tbsp chives, left at least 3" long
1/2 cup black olives
1 cup Gracious Gourmet Garden Tomato Pesto (or your favorite pesto or tapenade)

Slice large loaf in half horizontally and scoop out a bit of the insides to accommodate your veggies.  Or, slice your rolls in half and lay face up on the counter.  Spread both cut sides with pesto or tapenade.

Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the vegetables as thinly as possible -- almost transparent.  The lettuce can be left in its original state (as shredded lettuce tends to fall off sandwiches) and the chives should be left relatively long for the same reason.

Pile up the sliced vegetables onto the breads, then put the cut slices back together again.  Sandwiches can be eaten right away, or wrapped tightly and set in the refrigerator to marinate.  Gluten-free bread may not hold up to marinating, so if using, eat sooner.

And now on to our new party!  What did you pack for lunch this week?  Remember, recipes don't have to be completely allergy-free, just without whatever foods you are avoiding.

(Shared with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and the Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and This Week's Cravings at Mom's Crazy Cooking and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay At Home Mom and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly The Kitchen Kop and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All and Whisking Wednesday at A Pinch of This That and The Other and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet and Creative Juice at Momnivore's Dilemma and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS. )


  1. I'm so honoured! And to think I almost didn't go through with creating my idea for the protein bites. I'm so glad I did! Love the look of the muffaletta; I need to get out of my just-broccoli-and-cauliflower-as-veggies-every-night rut! :p

  2. @ Hannah ~ I just noticed that you're featured on Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs too -- congratulations!! I think you're famous now ;)

  3. I am honored to be featured! Thank you so much. I needed this after a day of heartless comments about my daughter's lunches on a popular forum....

  4. Oh my gosh - how could anyone say anything negative about your beautiful healthy lunches?!? Some people need to think twice before they write down every last thing that runs through their heads :( Don't let it get to you... think about all the SMART, thoughtful people who loved your post over here! :)


  5. those cookie balls and the lunch are truly fabulous! Thanks for hosting Lisa!
    I linked up my indian desserts round up.. all vegan, some gluten free options!

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  6. What a great idea to put figs in a veggie sandwich! I'm trying that this week. Thank you!

  7. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
    Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    If you have grain-free recipes please visit Wednesday night for a grain-free linky carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge starting Wednesday!

  8. Thanks for linking up last week at my Whisking Wednesday party. I featured your recipe this week. Hope you'll come back and link up another recipe or two this week!

  9. Hi there, thanks for sharing those interesting recipes. The older I get the more I cannot tolerate certain ingredients in foods. I will have to try these recipes. Thank you. I recently found your blog and am now following. Please pop on over to mine and perhaps you would like to follow me also. I would really like that. Hugs, Chris