Muffuletta Olive Salad

Serving a dish of muffuletta olive salad in a white bowl.

My favorite recipes are the ones that can pull double duty. Like this tasty olive spread with black and green olives, capers, roasted bell peppers, garlic and artichokes. Yes, it’s the same muffuletta olive salad you get on that famous New Orleans sandwich, but this blend also makes a great olive dip for snacking. How will you use it? 

olives, roasted bell pepper, cocktail onions, capers, celery and artichokes for olive spread.

I adapted this recipe from Chef John Folse’ cookbook, The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine. This tome to regional Louisiana ingredients, flavors and cooking styles,  weighs at least 12 pounds (not an exaggeration). It’s stuffed with cuisine that’s highfalutin’ enough for very respectable company as well as simple homey dishes with a Cajun kick, Creole recipes that will make you homesick for the bayou and every kickin’ dish New Orleans is famous for. Muffuletta sandwiches included.

artichoke hearts in a bowl for olive dip.

Ingredients for Muffuletta Olive Salad:

  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper
  • Black Olives
  • Green Olives
  • Capers
  • Cocktail Onions
  • Celery
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Celery Seed
  • Dried Oregano
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
adding ingredients to the food processor for muffuletta olive salad.

How To Make Olive Dip

  1. Roast a red pepper in the oven with the skins on until the outside is blistered and blackened and the flesh is soft.
  2. Peel and seed the pepper and transfer to a food processor
  3. Roughly chop the celery stalk and add it to the food processor.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to form a chunky olive spread.
blended ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

Marinate Olive Spread Overnight

I get it. Part of the reason this recipe is so great is because it takes seconds to whiz together in the food processor.  Waiting to eat it seems like a cruel joke. So I’ll let you off the hook and let you dive right in, however, if you want those flavors to intensify and get just a little deeper, cover and refrigerate it overnight. Food for thought.

stirring olive dip with a wooden spoon.

History of Muffuletta Olive Salad

Muffuletta olive spread originated from humble beginnings, like so many good things do, when Italian merchants scraped the bottom of the olive barrels to get the broken or crushed olives that weren’t marketable and instead used them to make a salad to top their now famous sandwich.

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Serving a bowl of olive dip in a bowl.

Ideas For Olive Dip/Olive Spread

Bread Bowl & Olive Dip

  • Cut the top off of a bread boule. Use a serrated knife to hollow out the insides of the boule and remove the bread pieces in large chunks.  Cut or tear the bread into chunks. Place the boule on a serving tray and fill it with the olive dip.  Arrange the torn bread chunks around the boule. Insert a serving spoon into the olive salad and serve as an hors d’oeuvre.

Olive Spread As A Topping

  • Spoon over  a piece of grilled chicken or fish.
  • Spread toasted crostini with goat cheese and top with the olive spread.

In A Marinara Sauce:

  • Add a cup of salad to 4 cups of marinara sauce along with some finely diced anchovies and a little more crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer the sauce on a low heat for about an hour until the flavors come together for an easy puttanesca sauce with pasta.

In A Pasta Salad:

  • Cook bowtie pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Add chunks of pepperoni, mozzarella and baby spinach or small broccoli florets along with a cup of the olive dip. Toss and serve as a side dish at your next cookout.

Muffuletta Sandwich

  • Of course, you’re going to want this in a traditional muffuletta sandwich too.
A crust of bread topped with olive spread.

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A bowl of olive salad with artichokes and pearl onions.
Print Pin
4.73 from 11 votes

Muffuletta Olive Salad

A briny, bright, spicy olive spread to go with crackers, in sandwiches or to top grilled fish, chicken and pork. This traditional New Orleans favorite is a bold pop of flavor! Recipe is adapted from The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword artichoke, garlic, kalamata olives, red pepper flake, roasted peppers, sandwich spread, topping
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • ½ cup green olives
  • ½ cup black olives
  • ½ cup capers
  • ½ cup cocktail onions
  • 1 stalk celery roughly chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can artichoke hearts
  • teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Place bell pepper on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper and roast until skins are blackened and flesh is soft, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer the bell pepper to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. 
  • Let the pepper rest until cool enough to handle. Remove the skin, stem, seeds and membrane and discard. Place the flesh of the pepper into a food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well chopped. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to marry.
  • Use in a classic Muffuletta Sandwich, or spread on crackers with goat cheese for an appetizer.  Spoon a bit onto grilled chicken, fish or pork.


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 574mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 27.7mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.9mg

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  1. Gaye Carson says:

    Is it possible to preserve this? By adding it to sterilize jars and processing in a canner?
    It looks delicious!

    1. I’ve never tried to preserve it, but I’ve seen it sold in jars in New Orleans supermarkets, so I assume it could be done through traditional canning methods.

  2. 5 stars
    Fast and easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    If you have a chance, you should definitely try John Folse’s Crawfish and Corn Soup recipe. It is life changing.

  4. 5 stars
    Lisa, this muffuletta olive spread looks amazing and so full of flavor. I’m dreaming of all the things I could eat it on, but definitely want it on a muffuletta sandwich!

  5. 5 stars
    I’m so glad I stumbled across this recipe. It’s an absolute winner! Amazing and so versatile. I love the way you added serving suggestions at the end of the recipe; so useful, thanks.

    1. I’m so glad you like it, Hannah! It’s got a lot of punch, doesn’t it?

  6. 5 stars
    So many amazing flavors in this. Love the versatility!

  7. 5 stars
    i want to eat this on everything! i am a huge fan of muffaletas and am so excited to try this! Great idea to use it in a dip.

  8. 5 stars
    I have a lot of olive lovers in my family, they would love this!

  9. My husband LOVES olive salad so I couldn’t wait to try this recipe. It did not disappoint! Flavorful, colorful, and delicious – thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    I love anything NO and muffulettas are right in there. This is just in time for my Mardi Gras party plans! I may be eating it by the spoonful when no one is watching.

  11. 5 stars
    It’s the first time I heard about a Muffuletta salad and I am amazed! It looks so yummy and healthy, too.

    1. You can put this stuff on so many things! Tons of flavor.