This Italian pressed sandwich is a hearty sandwich loaded with Italian cold cuts, cheese and seasonings. Perfect for picnics, game day parties, or any day ending with “y”.
Italian Pressed Sandwiches are one of my absolute *favorite* sandwiches. They are loaded with all kinds of goodies, then pressed together so that everything melds together.
You guys, they are perfect. They are my go-to sandwiches when we are planning a picnic or game day celebrations. They are easy to make and can even be made in advance to make taking them on camping trips even easier!
What are Italian pressed sandwiches you ask? First, you take all of that goodness, the bread, the meats, the cheese, the veggies, the herbs and tapenade and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then you place it in the fridge with a heavy pan, think cast iron skillet, on top. This makes all of those delicious flavors come together and make even more scrumptious flavor babies, resulting in one of the best picnic sandwiches ever to grace a picnic table.
THE BREAD: It starts with the bread. It HAS to be crusty. Because you are pressing it overnight you don’t want something too soft or it will get soggy. Think cibatta or pugliese.
THE MEAT: An Italian sandwich is all about the cold cuts. This sandwich has capicola, calabrese and proscuitto. You can easily substitute hard salami, ham, sopressata or even pepperoni. Whatever suits your fancy. Whatever you do, do a combo, 3 is usually a good variety.
THE CHEESE: I love provolone on an Italian sandwich but you also can’t go wrong with mozzarella. Like ever.
THE FINISHINGS: Finally you get all the finishing toppings like the roasted red peppers, arugula, dressing and my favorite part, the olive tapenade. You can usually find it in the deli section of your grocery store. Some store-bought versions can be a little on the bitter side so you might have to shop around until you find one that you love.
It is pretty easy! The hardest part is waiting for the sandwich to press.
STEP #1: Roast the red pepper. Turn on oven broiler and broil red pepper until the skin starts to blacken. About 5 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and slice.
STEP #2: In a bowl, mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and dijon mustard. Set aside while you prepare the sandwich.
STEP #3: Spread the olive tapenade on the bottom half bread. Place the rest of the toppings, in the following order, on top: provolone cheese, roasted red pepper, capicola, calabrese, proscuitto, parsley and arugula. Drizzle the olive oil/balsamic dressing over the top.
STEP #4: Wrap entire sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and place a heavy bottom skillet, such as cast iron, on top of the sandwich. Allow to set for at least 1 hour.
These Italian Pressed Sandwiches are just begging to be made for your next picnic. You can even make them a day in advance!
Note: This post was originally published 2014. It was updated with new step by step photos, nutrition information and a video in 2021.
Jessica | The Novice ChefJanuary 31, 2019 at 8:16 am
This would really hit the spot for lunch today!
Erin | Dinners,Dishes and DessertJanuary 26, 2019 at 6:46 am
This couldn’t look any more perfect!
CathyJanuary 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm
These are so perfect for game day parties!
CatalinaJanuary 25, 2019 at 5:41 am
This sandwich looks so inviting! Would be perfect for my lunch box!
KimberlyJanuary 24, 2019 at 10:41 pm
YES, these are absolutely scrumptious! It’s way too late at night to eat but boy, do I want one!
AmandaJanuary 24, 2019 at 7:30 pm
These look so tasty! I’ll be making this for lunch tomorrow !
SabrinaJanuary 24, 2019 at 5:57 pm
These are so good and I love them for weekend lunches. The sauce just makes the sandwich!
AnitaOctober 19, 2018 at 8:53 am
I made this sandwich when you first posted it years ago and have made it for every get together where a big sandwich is appropriate since! I love it and it can be modified to fit what I have on hand or on sale! The sauce is the BEST part!! Thank you for sharing, you make me look like a wiz in the kitchen!
DesereeOctober 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Anita- I am so happy to hear that!! This is one of our favorite sandwiches too! :)
Kimberly @ The Daring GourmetJuly 14, 2018 at 8:31 am
That is totally and completely my kind of sandwich!
CarolynJuly 13, 2018 at 3:27 pm
This looks amazing!
Megan @ MegUnprocessedJuly 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm
I love that olive tapenade. I never thought about putting it on a sandwich!
Erin | Dinners,Dishes and DessertJuly 12, 2018 at 2:12 am
Look so tasty! Definitely a must try!
SabrinaJuly 11, 2018 at 6:51 am
Sounds like a good excuse to plan a picnic! Looks delicious!
Toni | Boulder LocavoreJuly 11, 2018 at 12:14 am
This will be a huge hit in my house! Looks fantastic!
I Heart NaptimeJuly 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm
Such a delicious lunch recipe!
DelaneyJuly 10, 2018 at 5:49 pm
I want to have this for lunch!
Marie CzarneckiFebruary 20, 2018 at 11:40 pm
Love Italian Food.
cathy- Noble PigSeptember 24, 2014 at 8:05 am
These are my favorite types of sandwiches, especially with the right kind of bread. Swoon.
Janelle Dangerfield ShankSeptember 24, 2014 at 7:17 am
Great looking sandwich, hearty and filling for both lunch and dinner
Taylor @ Food Faith FitnessSeptember 24, 2014 at 5:03 am
Now his looks like my kind of sandwich girlfriend! Especially with all that crust bread goodness going on! Pinned!
Beth BSeptember 24, 2014 at 4:53 am
So funny, my husband is named Ryan too – and he would LOVE this sandwich. He talks about guest posting on my blog and what he wants to post is a large sandwich!