The very best party size Italian Melt. Crusty ciabatta bread, sandwiched with homemade Italian vinaigrette, spicy salami, salty prosciutto, fresh baby arugula, roasted peppers, provolone AND mozzarella. All baked until toasted and melty. Yes, this is every bit as DELICIOUS as it sounds. It’s also the easiest way to serve up a melty sandwich to a hungry group of guests. Perfect for your game day eats…and every other occasion in between.

overhead photo of Party Size Italian Melt with beer on surface

Meet the party size Italian melt 100% inspired by my eldest brother Creighton. Creighton loves a cheesy melt…along with salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni too. He’s one of those real “guys, guys”. He hates quinoa, loves meat, and prefers his veggies to be in the form of tater tots. Yes, that was actually Creighton’s response when I once asked him what his favorite veggie was. I love him dearly though, so every time I see him I’ll sneak broccoli into his tater tots (broccoli tots!!).

Anyway, if he were here, he would love this melt. It’s cheesy, filled with Italian meats, veggies, and the best homemade vinaigrette, so good!

Everyone in your life is going to love you for this sandwich. Basically, it has all the components of your very favorite cheese board…bread, olives, peppers, spreads, meats, and cheese…all piled high onto a warm and melty sandwich.

It’s every bit as delicious as you can imagine. Maybe even better than a cheese board, because well, there’s melted cheese and warm toasted bread.

I’ve been dreaming up this sandwich in my head for a while now…going back and forth on just how to make it. Honestly, for me, I can often do without meat on my sandwich. I’m much more about the cheesy, veggie, carby situation. BUT there’s a time and a place for a sandwich like this, and Super Bowl Sunday is certainly it.

olives on ciabatta bread pepperoni on bread before baking arugula on Party Size Italian Melt

Here are the details.

Start with a good, crusty loaf of ciabatta bread. It’s my very favorite, especially for making sandwiches since it can really hold up to sauces and oils without getting too soggy. Spread the bread with a little homemade red wine vinaigrette. Just a simple mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon, garlic, and lots of olives.

Now the meats. As I mentioned earlier, I debated about whether or not to go all out and do more of a true classic Italian style sandwich, or do something a little lighter and keep things vegetarian. In the end, I decided that I wanted this to be more of a hearty sandwich. One that’s best for wintry months, and for serving up on game day. So I added spicy salami, salty prosciutto, and thin slices of spicy pepperoni. It’s a lot, but so good, and they make for a really great combination. Of course, if there’s any meat you don’t like, you can certainly opt it out. I will say, the meats add a really delicious flavor and heat to the sandwich. Therefore, I do recommend giving them a try. Delicious.

If you’re looking for something vegetarian, I suggest you make these spicy chickpea pepperoni and use in place of the meat. I’m sure these would be delicious as well!

side angle photo of Party Size Italian Melt side angled photo of Party Size Italian Melt being pulled apart

Next up the cheese. I used a combination of sharp provolone cheese and fresh mozzarella. Perfect Italian combo if you ask me.

Finish things off with a handful of baby arugula and roasted bell peppers. These provide some much needed veggies, not to mention color. Next, bake the entire sandwich in the oven until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasty. YES, bake the entire sandwich all at once. No flipping multiple sandwiches, no standing at the stove, and very little mess.

Could not love it more.

side angled photo of Party Size Italian Melt being pulled up

You can cut this into 4-6 larger sandwiches and serve more as a meal. Or cut the loaf into about 8 smaller sandwiches and serve as appetizers. Either way, everyone is going to devour this party size melt. Best part? You can assemble the sandwich in advance, wrap it up, and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Then, all you have to do is bake, cut, and enjoy!

Great for entertaining or as an easy family dinner.

side angled photo of Party Size Italian Melt stacked on top of each other

If you make this party size Italian melt, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

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4.34 from 45 votes
The Recipe

Party Size Italian Melt

Crusty ciabatta bread, sandwiched with homemade Italian vinaigrette, spicy salami, salty prosciutto, fresh baby arugula, roasted peppers, provolone AND mozzarella. It's the easiest way to serve up a melty sandwich to a hungry group of guests. Perfect for your game day eats! 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Calories 398 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup mixed Italian olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 6 thin slices spicy salami
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6-12 thin slices pepperoni
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • 1 red or orange pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

    2. To make the vinaigrette. In a jar or small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano, until combined. Add the olives, jalapeños, and a pinch of pepper. 

    3. Lay the bottom piece of ciabatta bread cut side facing up on a baking sheet. Spread the vinaigrette over the bread. Layer the basil, salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni on top. Add the provolone and mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to melt. Remove from the oven and add the arugula, bell peppers, and top half of the ciabatta bread. Gently cover the sandwich with foil and return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted. Remove the foil and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the bread is toasted. 

    4. Remove from the oven and let sit 3-4 minutes. Slice into 4 larger or 8 smaller sandwiches. Serve and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

*To make ahead of time, assemble the sandwich all the way through step 3. Add the arugula, peppers, and top half of the bread. Wrap in foil and keep in the fridge for up to 1 day. To make, remove from the fridge while the oven preheats. Bake, in the foil for 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. 

horizontal photo of Party Size Italian Melt