Big kids have big appetites and this Italian grinder sandwich with olive tapenade will satisfy any big appetite! A crusty bread stuffed with layers of delicious Italian meats, provolone cheese, bell peppers, basil and homemade olive tapenade. Who says kids won’t eat gourmet? Sponsored by Hellmann’s.
When I was in elementary school, I discovered that I loved sandwiches. Unfortunately, my mom was never good at making sandwiches. You see, my mom was born in Iran and came to the U.S. for graduate school, where she met my dad.
Sandwiches weren’t very popular in Iran, and if Persians did eat sandwiches, they were made with flat breads. My mom’s idea of a sandwich was to slap a few slices of meat between two pieces of bread and call it a day.
Don’t get me wrong. My mom is an excellent cook. But she knew nothing about making a good sandwich.
After voicing my complaints, my dad took pity on me and presided over the sandwich making responsibilities. Under my dad’s lunch reign, new condiments appeared between my sheets of bread: mayonnaise, mustard – even olives. My taste buds exploded!
Quickly, I realized that even my dad’s sandwich skills were starting to bore me, and I soon took over the task of making my own lunches. I varied the meats and switched out the vegetables, but I always kept the mayonnaise and olives. In fact, I would cut my green olives into perfect little circles so I could have an even layer of that salty goodness in every bite.
What is an Italian Grinder?
An Italian grinder is another name for an Italian submarine sandwich. It is a creation of an Italian Americans where Italians meats, cheeses and vegetables and served up on a long bread roll. It is typically served with a vinaigrette, but you can also use pesto.
Some favorite meats for an Italian grinder include salami, mortadella, capicolla, pepperoni and ham. For cheese, provolone is typically the number one choice. And for more flavor many people add olives, banana peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and red onions.
What is olive tapenade?
A tapenade is actually a French dish consisting of puréed or finely-chopped olives, capers, and olive oil. The variety of olives is up to you, but do choose green and black olives of different sizes and flavors. You also want to choose extra virgin olive oil that is vibrant and not bland.
You can also add other ingredients into your olive tapenade for more flavor like anchovy paste, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, red pepper flakes and vinegar. Typically the tapenade ingredients are combined in a food processor to make a paste, but I preferred a chunkier texture and finely chopped everything by hand.
How to serve olive tapenade
Olive tapenade falls more on the condiment and appetizer category on the family menu. For my olive loving family, it’s the most amazing thing since sliced bread! In our house olives, artichoke hearts and pickles are eaten straight out of the jar. It’s an expensive snack habit!
You can spread olive tapenade on a slice of baguette or serve as a dip for potato chips, pita chips or even vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and celery sticks. I especially love smearing olive tapenade on my sandwiches, like this Italian grinder – they were made for each other!
- 1 6-inch hoagie roll
- 1 TBS mayonnaise
- 1/8 lb sliced mortadella
- 1/8 lb sliced Genoa salami
- 1/8 lb sliced pepperoni
- 1/8 lb sliced provolone
- 1/2 oz micro greens or sprouts
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 4 oz mixed olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 oz capers, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- Split hoagie roll in half lengthwise and spread mayonnaise inside both cut sides of the roll.
- Start layering meats and provolone cheese onto the bottom half of roll.
- Top with micro greens, basil and red bell peppers.
- In a small bowl, mix together olives, capers, garlic, olive oil and vinegar.
- Generously spoon olive tapenade over the peppers.
- Place top on sandwich, cut in half and serve.
Also terrific with ham, capicola, prosciutto and mozzarella. Additional condiments and veggies you can use are tomatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, sprouts, pickled pepperoncini and red wine vinegar. For a smoother tapenade, combine ingredients in a food processor.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1539Total Fat: 114gSaturated Fat: 36gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 70gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 5221mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 59g