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Italian Pressed Sandwiches

These classic picnic sandwiches pack a punch in flavor and are easy to make!

First, choose a good ciabatta bread. Focaccia will work in a pinch but we like ciabatta best because of its density.

Cut the bread horizontally into top and bottom slices, then add a layer of basil pesto to the top and a layer of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to the bottom. I lightly strain the excess oil from the pesto before applying to keep the sandwich from getting too soggy!

Add your ham in layers to the bottom half of your bread.

Remove roasted red peppers from jar and pat dry. Add on top of ham.

Continue to layer ingredients. I prefer to order it provolone, spinach, salami.

Add your top layer of bread and tightly wrap your sandwich in saran wrap. You're going to want to add a weight on top (the press!) and store your sandwich overnight in the fridge. I use an empty casserole dish of similar size and add the right amount of weight.

If you are short on time, you can "press" your sandwich for 3-4 hours instead of overnight.

When it's time to pack your picnic, slice your sandwich into even squares and secure in place with a toothpick! Because we eat with our eyes first, I wrap mine in parchment paper and pretty twine first, then add toothpick vertically through center.

Italian Pressed Sandwiches

Prep time: 20min

Total time: 9hrs

Makes: 16 pieces


  • 1 loaf ciabatta bred (focaccia in a pinch)

  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham

  • 1/4 pound sliced salami

  • 1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese

  • 1 15 ounce jar roasted whole red peppers - drained and patted dry

  • 2 cups organic spinach leaves - stems removed

  • 1/3 cup basil pesto (try to use the least amount of oil)

  • 3 T high-quality olive oil

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Slice bread horizontally.

  2. Spread pesto on one half of the bread and olive oil on the other. Add salt and pepper to taste over olive oil side.

  3. Layer your ingredients. Ham, peppers, provolone , spinach, and salami.

  4. Add the top of the bread on and wrap tightly in plastic wrap several times.

  5. Place your wrapped sandwich on a cookie sheet. Add a large baking dish and some weight on top. We really want to press it down so don't be afraid of weight--I've placed a brick in a casserole pan on top before!

  6. Store in refrigerator overnight or at least 3 hours. Remove plastic, slice and serve!

  7. Garnish with toothpicks and olives if desired.

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