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Italian Pressed Sandwiches- Oh Sweet Basil

For years and years I’ve wanted to share these fantastic Italian Pressed Sandwiches with you all but never took the time to snap pictures.

Layers of Italian meats, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, spinach and fresh mozzarella all pressed between tender slices of Italian bread. Oh baby, these sandwiches are so yum!

You see, picnics are kind of my thing. I adore them. I always have. Growing up we would make a delicious bowl of potato salad, pick up KFC (I KNOW, but don’t judge, KFC and picnics was a thing and I bet you did the same thing!) and head to some park or up into the mountains. Especially in July when our church would hold a huge Stake picnic, an entire day of games, water slides, family activities etc. It was incredible!

Sometimes when we would ditch KFC, we would haul sandwiches and sides and that was truly my favorite kind of picnicking. There’s something so free and wonderful about unplugging and finding respite in the hills. So, in case you’ve forgotten that joy-especially the one you were reminded of during quarantine (come on, did we so quickly forget the lessons we learned?!) then let me remind you, a stacked sandwich, a bunch of fresh fruit, salty chips and maybe a dessert like our lemon drop cookies will bring all kinds of happy to you and your favorite people.

You can try all sorts of flavors for pressed sandwiches such as mayo and turkey blt style, turkey, cheese and avocado, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, peppers and eggplant, etc. The sky’s the limit!

a photo taken over the top of a white plate full of several small handheld pieces of a pressed italian sandwich with a bowl of potato chips on the side and the sandwiches are wrapped with a piece of parchment papers and tied with a piece of twine.

What Ingredients Do You Need for Pressed Italian Sandwiches?

If you’re headed to the store to buy all the items for your next picnic, here is your shopping list for these sandwiches:

  • Italian Bread (ciabatta, focaccia, or your favorite)
  • Prosciutto
  • Italian Meats (genoa salami, varzi, calabrese)
  • Tomato
  • Roasted Red Bell Peppers
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Baby Spinach (or Basil)
  • Pesto

I recommend a bag of crisp grapes and some kettle cooked potato chips! The measurements for each ingredient in the sandwiches can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a ciabatta bun that is sliced in half and open faced with one side covered in pesto and the other side covered in roasted red peppers drizzled with a balsamic glaze. two knives are sitting next to the bread and another ciabatta roll is sliced open in the background.

How to Make Pressed Italian Sandwiches

There’s not much to making a sandwich which is why they are so awesome! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Slice open the bread and spread loads of pesto on one side.
  2. Drizzle the other side with a little olive oil.
  3. Lay the tomatoes and roasted red peppers (see section below) flat on the side with olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  4. Layer the meats, cheese, and spinach (or basil).
  5. Place the top of the bread on and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator and put a heavy skillet (or anything flat and heavy) on top to press it down.
  6. Serve with your favorite picnic sides!

These instructions can also be found in more detail in the recipe card below.

 

a close up photo of a pressed Italian sandwich stuffed with layers of meat, pesto, fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper and tomato.

How Do I Press a Sandwich?

I’ve seen all sorts of methods, but the easiest for me is to just place the wrapped sandwich on a cookie sheet and then set my heaviest cast iron skillet on top. I’ve also seen people put another cookie sheet on top and then pile dumbbells on top. You can do whatever works best for you. You just want the sandwich to be pressed between two flat surfaces.

How to Roast Red Peppers

Put your oven on broil and place your pepper(s) on a cookie sheet right under the coils. Roast them for 8-10 minutes turning them occasionally so they blister on all sides. Pull the cookie sheet out and let the peppers cool until they are cool enough to handle. Then peel off the skin, slice them open and remove the seeds.

What to Serve at a Picnic?

I love these sandwiches with some crunchy chips and a simple side salad or fruit. For a picnic, here are few other great side options:

Take a picture of your picnic and tags us on social media! We would love to see it!

 

a photo of a handheld piece of a pressed italian sandwich wrapped in a piece of parchment and tied with a piece of twine sitting on a white plate. several other small sandwiches are also in the background and potato chips are scattered around the plate.

These Italian pressed sandwiches are hearty, packed with flavor, and so portable which make them perfect for a picnic, potluck, baby (or bridal) shower, or brunch. You can make them a day ahead of time, and they also store well for the next day. You’re going to just love these!

More Tasty Sandwich Recipes:

 

a photo of several small italian pressed sandwiches sitting on a white plate with potato chips scattered around the plate in the foreground. the sandwich is stuffed with laters of meat, roasted red peppers, pesto, tomato, and fresh mozzarella.

Italian Pressed Sandwiches

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Resting Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 6 Small Sandwiches

  • 1 Loaf Italian Bread 12oz, ciabatta or garlic
  • 3 oz Prosciutto
  • 6 oz Italian Meats Mix (genoa salami, varzi, calabrese)
  • 4-6 Slices Tomato
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers roasted and seeded, sliced open (*see note)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup Baby Spinach or basil
  • 1/4 Cup Pesto
  • Slice open the bread and spread one side liberally with pesto. On the other half drizzle a very small amount of olive oil.

  • Lay the tomatoes or roasted red pepper flat. Drizzle with a little balsamic glaze.

  • Layer the meats, cheese and spinach (basil if desired).

  • Close the sandwich and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge with a heavy skillet or anything very heavy on top for 6 hours or up to overnight.

  • Serve with chips and salad!

*Heat the oven to broil and place the pepper on a cookie sheet under the coils. Roast, turning occasionally for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool and peel off the skin. Slice open and remove seeds.

Nutrition Facts

Italian Pressed Sandwiches

Amount Per Serving (1 Sandwich)

Calories 652
Calories from Fat 414

% Daily Value*

Fat 46g71%

Saturated Fat 20g125%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 7g

Monounsaturated Fat 13g

Cholesterol 33mg11%

Sodium 1118mg49%

Potassium 453mg13%

Carbohydrates 44g15%

Fiber 4g17%

Sugar 26g29%

Protein 15g30%

Vitamin A 2074IU41%

Vitamin C 55mg67%

Calcium 31mg3%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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