Last Updated September 4th, 2023 at 07:56 pm by Lisa
Summer picnic food is easy with pressed Italian sandwiches that are neat to hold and eat! This pressed picnic sandwich recipe is bursting with flavor from the olives, pepperoncini, salami, deli meat, and more.
These summer sandwiches keep very well overnight in the fridge. Make the day before, then grab and go. You can make these sandwiches in countless ways using meats, cheeses, and fillings you love.
Pop into a picnic lunch basket or cooler for al fresco meals. And head off to the beach, a concert, or a picnic in the park...
What Are Pressed Picnic Sandwiches?
A pressed sandwich is a loaf of rustic bread (like a sourdough boule) that's split, filled with delicious layers of ingredients, and then wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight under a weight to flatten the layers and meld the flavors. This helps hold the sandwich together after it is sliced and easier to eat at a picnic, as we usually have a glass of something in the other hand!
What Ingredients Are Good?
What I LOVE about this recipe, is that you can use what you have on hand, or make the sandwich using your favorite ingredients from the grocery store. Make a version of these sandwiches that you and your family and friends will love. And try some new flavors and combinations during the picnic season...
- large loaf of bread - round boule, French bread, focaccia, or any thick hearty breads will work
- a spread - that adds flavor using parsley, vinegar, little olive oil, chopped olives, capers, and pepperoncini's
- some leaft greens - fresh baby spinach, small spring lettuce leaves, or peppery arugula
- sliced cheeses - Colby-jack, sharp cheddar, swiss, fresh mozzarella, pepper jack, provolone, Havarti, white cheddar, or creamy goat cheese
- thinly sliced cold cuts or deli meats - slices of ham, chicken, turkey, salami, or prosciutto
- other optional ingredients - artichoke hearts, artichoke spread (Trader Joes), olive tapenade, pickled red onions, roasted red peppers, or fresh basil leaves
- you can easily make these a vegetarian sandwich too!
- wrap it up - if you want, you can wrap each of the individual sandwiches in a small piece of parchment paper then tie with a cute ribbon or red and white string. It isn't necessary, because they hold together after being pressed, chilled, and sliced.
Special Occasions To Serve These
These are one my go-to recipes I love to parties and fun events. Most recently I took them to a girls' weekend at local beach cottages and everyone loved them. You can make these the night before for...
- girls getaway weekends
- baby showers
- beach and mountain picnics
- bridal showers
- pool parties
- Al fresco music concerts
- hiking and outdoor trips
- sports events
- great for a road trip
How to Make Picnic Sandwiches
Pressed Sandwich Ingredients
- flat-leaf parsley
- white wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- kalamata olives (or swap in Olive Tapenade)
- black pepper
- Round Boule Bread Loaf or French bread loaf
- Colby cheese or cheese you like
- Italian dry salami
- turkey or chicken deli meat
- fresh organic baby spinach
- Optional sandwich filling ideas: Chopped Cooked Ham, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, different cheeses, artichoke spread, and chopped olives - any kind.
How To Make Pressed Sandwiches
Prep The Bread
Use a round boule bread loaf, and a small serrated knife and cut the boule around the side evenly.
Rotate the loaf of bread, and cut the boule loaf all the way in half removing the top from the bottom.
Use your fingers and scoop out the bread from the top and bottom of the boule.
Leave about a ½ inch rim around the top and bottom of the bread shells to allow the filling to be pressed flat inside the bread loaf and stay inside.
Make The Filling
In a small bowl add: finely chop the olives (or olive tapenade), chopped pepperoncini's, chopped parsley, olive oil, vinegar, chopped and drained capers, and black pepper. Spread 1 cup of the olive mixture on the bread bottom.
Next, layer all the sandwich ingredients: cheese, deli meats, spinach/lettuce spreads, or toppings you like. Add the rest of the olive mixture if you have any left.
Place the bread tops of the boule loaf back on, and press gently down.
Wrap And Press The Sandwich
Use plastic wrap to tightly wrap the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich tightly a couple of times, and cover it completely.
Place the sandwich between two baking sheets and weigh it down with some heavy objects like a large can, containers of juice, or a heavy skillet to press down the sandwich.
The reason you want to do this is so it slices neatly and holds together with "one hand" hold at the picnic!
Keep in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, overnight is better as it has time to press and the flavors are better the next day.
PRO TIP: The SECRET TO THIS SANDWICH is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and to press or weigh it down between 2 cookie sheets. Use cans or jars in the fridge to "press" the sandwich flatter. It will cut very easily when cold, and looks so pretty!
Use a serrated knife to cut the sandwich into 8 wedges.
What to eat with pressed sandwiches?
PRO TIP: Buy inexpensive paper take out containers and pack salads in these. People love to have their own box at a summer picnic.
When the warmer weather arrives, it is so fun to get outside and enjoy the perfect picnic sandwich at your favorite place.
-Pack in a cooler or picnic basket and use frozen water bottles in your cooler, then you can drink them.
-The best option is to pack a picnic box for each guest! Order larger disposable food take-out containers online. That way the work is done, and you can relax and not have to pass and serve food.
-Pack up those napkins and prepacked utensils from the take-out food deliveries you have been saving!
-Use small paper takeout boxes ordered inexpensively online for salads, fresh fruit, sides, and desserts.
-Small foldable picnic table in a bag, table cloth, blanket, glasses, plates, and utensils.
Make food that is easy to eat like pressed picnic sandwiches, desserts that won't melt like cookies, and sides the night before. Then just box them up in the cooler or picnic basket and go have fun!
The picnic was originally a 17th Century French word, picque-nique. Its meaning was similar to today's meaning: a social gathering where each person shares a dish of food.
What to pack in a picnic?
The best picnic food recipes are ones that can be served in small containers and passed around, or held in your hand like a cut sandwich that stays together, sausage rolls, or hand-held meat pies.
Small bite-size desserts that hold their shapes (and don't melt) are a great choice as well like bars and cookies. You can slice them into smaller portions for each guest too.
Get your cooler or basket packed and go have a picnic..try a new place, it will be delicious and Happy Picnicking!
Glad these are not real ants marching at our picnic today!
More Picnic Food Ideas
Cool refreshing Watermelon Salad is served in the carved-out watermelon as the salad bowl. Serve chilled on a hot day for summer picnics, beach, or pool parties!
Ice cold Blueberry Lemonade captures Summer in every sip, it is made in minutes with homemade blueberry syrup, fresh lemon juice, and honey.
Cole Slaw with an easy vinegar dressing and no-mayo, is great on pulled pork sandwiches, with grilled hamburgers, or BBQ chicken. This coleslaw recipe works as a summer side dish for picnics and cookouts.
The best Potato Salad BBQ side dish loaded with crispy bacon and blue cheese for summer cookouts, potlucks, and a great picnic food idea!
Pressed Picnic Sandwiches Recipe
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar red is fine too
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup kalamata olives finely chopped (or use olive tapenade)
- ¼ cup capers drained and finely chopped
- ¼ cup pepperoncini's finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 Italian Round Boule Bread Loaf
- 6-8 slices Colby cheese or cheese you like
- 10-12 slices Italian dry salami
- 8 slices turkey or chicken deli meat
- 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
- Optional sandwich filling ideas: ham pepperoni, roasted red peppers, different cheeses, artichoke spread, and chopped olives-any kind.
- Use a round boule bread loaf, and a small serrated knife and cut the boule around the side evenly.
- Rotate the loaf of bread, and cut the boule loaf in half removing the top from the bottom.
- Use your fingers and scoop out the bread from the top and bottom of the boule.
- Leave about a ½ inch rim around the top and bottom of the bread shells to allow the filling to be pressed flat inside the bread loaf and stay inside.
- In a small bowl, mix the olives (or olive tapenade), pepperoncinis, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, capers, and black pepper. Spread 1 cup of the olive mixture on the bread bottom.
- Next, layer all the sandwich ingredients: cheese, deli meats, spinach/lettuce spreads or toppings you like. Add the rest of the olive mixture if you have any left.
- Place the bread tops of the boule loaf back on, and press gently down. Use plastic wrap to tightly wrap the sandwich. Wrap sandwich tightly a couple times, and cover completely.
- Place the sandwich between two baking sheets and weigh it down with some heavy objects like a large can, containers of juice, or a heavy skillet to press down the sandwich. The reason you want to do this is so it all holds together neatly in a "one hand" hold at the picnic!
- Keep in the refrigerator at least couple of hours, overnight is better as it has time to press and the flavors are better the next day.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the sandwich into 8 wedges.
- Serve with side salads like easy pasta salad, macaroni salad and cut watermelon.