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Olive Salad (New Orleans Muffuletta Olive Salad)

Muffuletta olive salad is a mixture of garlic, olives, peppers, tossed in a light olive oil and vinegar. Use it to top a cracker, jazz up your boring chicken, or make an authentic New Orleans Muffuletta sandwich!

tray of olive salad and chips

I went all the way to New Orleans and I only brought one thing back!

Low Country Recipes

Have you ever been to New Orleans? I had the pleasure of going three times and each time I ate way too much. Anyone else relate?

When you are traveling somewhere new, what is the first thing you plan? For us, it’s food.

What cool restaurants are there, are there any that have been on the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives show, any authentic, local hangouts that are a must for all tourists?  

I would stay in a tent on the sidewalk if it meant that I would be able to visit all the food joints that I wanted to try.

Right before Brooks and I got married we traveled to New Orleans to visit one of his college friends.We experienced Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street (from a balcony where I got to throw beads and see some things I didn’t want to see!!), watch the parades, eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, and even manage to steal a manhole cover from the Garden District.

Keep that on the down low!

Central Grocery Treasure Olive Salad

One of the foods that New Orleans is famous for is the Muffuletta sandwich. They are served in just about every restaurant in the city but one thing is the same. The olive salad that was invented at the Central Grocery.

The biggest sandwich around, I only ordered 1/4 of one. When the 1/4 Muffuletta showed up, it was bigger than my head. I couldn’t finish it!

Defeated by a sandwich and it wasn’t even a cool eating competition with people cheering you on!

I no longer have the souvenir in my possession morality police so calm down. It stayed in NOLA just not in its original location as it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase.

Despite all our shenanigans, my favorite memory of the whole trip was eating a classic Muffuletta sandwich.

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labeled picture of ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Olives – I love the Castelvetrano olives the best but if you can’t find them then just use all large green olives. Add in a few Spanish and black olives too.

Cherry Peppers – You can find these in a jar in the pickle section. If you can’t find these then use banana peppers. They are the closest.

Piquillo Peppers – These are also in the pickle section but you can use roasted red peppers if you need to. Peppadew peppers are also a great substitute!

Capers – Drain them first but do not rinse!

Garlic – Fresh is best and chopped fine but feel free to use jarred minced garlic if you have it on hand.

Pantry Staples – Olive oil, red wine vinegar, spices.

Why doesn’t it contain cauliflower?

I wanted to highlight mostly olives and peppers. I have included cauliflower in my Giardiniera but you can also add cauliflower to this, just cook it or let it sit longer.

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How to make Muffuletta Salad

FIRST: Chop all the olives and peppers into small uniform pieces. Make sure all the ingredients are roughly the same size.

SECOND: Combine the olives and peppers with the olive oil, vinegar, and spices.

THIRD: Store in the refrigerator until ready to use on your next muffuletta salad or on a dip.

Keep this stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. But I find that I love it on just about everything so mine doesn’t last very long. Try it with your eggs in the morning!

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

overhead of bowl of olives and spoon

How long does it last?

If you just make it fresh it will last up to a week in the fridge. If you want to keep it longer I recommend processing it with traditional canning techniques.

What if I am missing a specific ingredient?

Don’t fret, just leave it out and add more of on of the others:)

Do I have to use olive salad on a Muffuletta?

Nope, feel free to use this on just about anything!

close up of spoon of salad

Is the Muffuletta just a sandwich?

I beg to differ! As a frequent eater of Italian sub sandwiches, I was happy to see that the Muffuletta contained the traditional Italian meats, Capicola, salami, and mortadella.

But there was something else to it that made it special, aside from the sheer size of the sandwich. It’s the olive salad!

The Muffuletta is more than a mouthful!

But I gratefully lost to the Muffuletta because of the one special condiment that adorned it: the olive salad. A mixture a few olive types, some pickled vegetables, a hint of garlic, some vinegar, and peppers for good measure.

Tangy, briny, and filled with so many different flavors, I wanted to buy a jar of it!

I wanted to rub it on my face! I would have rubbed it on Brooks’ face and kissed him but I didn’t want to waste any!

We sat there for quite a while and dissected out all the pieces of the olive salad so I could try and recreate it later.

While not an exact replica due to all the local variations, this recipe is the product of our detective work. I like to think this is pretty darn close.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

spoon of olive salad with text "muffuletta olive salad"

While we did shop for souvenirs, I wanted the one thing I brought back from NOLA to be a recipe. This olive salad recipe!

bowl of chopped olives

Chopped Olive Salad

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This salad is a mixture of garlic, maybe an olive or two, and vinegar with some peppers thrown in there too. Use it to top a cracker, hang out with your boring chicken, or make an authentic New Orleans Muffuletta sandwich!


  • 5 sweet cherry peppers (sliced and seeded)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives (pitted and chopped)
  • 3/4 cup Spanish olives (pimento removed)
  • 1/2 cup roasted piquillo peppers/red pepper (diced)
  • 3/4 cup black olives (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons capers (drained)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Make sure all items are chopped fine and combine.
  2. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Because the olive oil solidifies in the fridge, set out about 5 minutes before you plan on serving!


*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 67Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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{Originally Published 10/13/16 – photos and recipe notes updated 02/25/21} Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Muffuletta Salad up close in a spoon!
New Orleans Salad in a white bowl.

Dee Mittie

Tuesday 14th of December 2021

N'awlins Central Grocery for a muffuletta is my first stop on every trip there. The last time we took a train, I carried a whole one back home with me and yes, it was perfectly delicious! Now, I don't even LIKE green olives, though it's a family joke that I must try one every year...just in case! But this olive salad turns my tastebuds on their little heads to do a merry little dance every time I eat it. I am on my last jar of Central Grocery's olive salad so in lieu of yet another N'awlins adventure, I'm going to attempt this recipe, which sounds amazing!


Wednesday 15th of December 2021

I hope you like it! I got it as close to their recipe as I possibly can!


Saturday 28th of August 2021

I was just in New Orleans. We dined at the Central grocery, just for the famous mulffuetta sandwiches. OMG! It was delicious! I just ordered 2 jars,hats, to be shipped... I can't get enough of the olive salad mixture. Definitely a must !! It's very flavorful and with the meats and bread, we ate the whole sandwich- all 3 of us


Sunday 18th of October 2020

Can you please let me know if I can make it with out peppers or capers can't have either I m allergic


Sunday 18th of October 2020

You can certainly leave out any pepper that you are allergic to. It will still turn out great!

Mick Emery

Sunday 9th of August 2020

do yo have canning recommendations?


Monday 10th of August 2020

I haven't tried canning it yet. The nature of the salad (using already brined olives and peppers) allows it to sit and not go bad. I would make a little more of the vinegar, salt, and olive oil (enough to cover the salad). This will allow you to store it in the fridge or in a cool dark place (40-70F) for up to a year. I usually eat all of mine before I have the chance to save any LOL.

Cynthia L Van Dam

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Love it. Didn't have all the ingredients, but what I had was great. I'm from New Orleans. I was hoping to imitate the olive salad I ate last week at Luizza's last week. This was close enough. 5 stars from me


Monday 3rd of February 2020

Thank you!!

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