This impressive sandwich can feed a crowd! It uses an entire loaf of bread. And it’s piled high with fresh ingredients. What really makes this guy stand out is the technique. It gets weighted down and transformed into a perfectly pressed sandwich.
The sandwich is straightforward to make and assemble, but the sheer size of it is a little awkward! I recommend taking the assembly slow the first time you make it. When planning a meal for guests, a practice run is the best thing you can do to guarantee success.
A party-sized pressed sandwich is the perfect option when you’re feeling fancy. Make it for a gourmet picnic date, or serve it as an elegant option at your next party.
First, you need a hearty loaf of bread. It’s the backbone of this sandwich! A loaf of French bread from the grocery store bakery is easy to find and works great.
The bread should be crusty and firm, or it will get soggy during pressing. Ciabatta and focaccia also work, but whole loaves can be hard to find!
Pesto gives this pressed sandwich a ton of flavor and keeps it from drying out. You can use store-bought but my homemade 5 minute pesto puts it over the top!
Make grilled chicken breast or save time by buying store-bought. Check out my recipe for juicy grilled chicken breasts. Let it cool to room temperature before assembly.
This is also a great way to use up leftover grilled chicken!
Roasted red peppers are sweet and flavorful. They also add a little extra moisture. Drain them well before adding. If you leave any excess liquid, they will make the sandwich soggy.
Top it off with baby arugula for a fresh, light crunch and a mild, peppery flavor.
Variations and substitutions
- Make individual sandwiches. I have found that small ciabatta rolls are easy to find. You can use 8 ciabatta rolls to make this into individually portioned sandwiches. Follow the directions but divide all the fillings among the rolls. Then wrap each roll and put it under the weighted tray.
- Use a shortcut for the chicken. Use precooked chicken. Frozen grilled chicken strips, sliced deli chicken, and shredded rotisserie chicken all work.
- Make it with cold cuts. Use 1 pound of pre-sliced Italian deli meats instead of grilled chicken.
How to make a pressed sandwich
Next, add the roasted red peppers. Last, add the arugula.
Place the top half of the bread on. It will be very tall!
Wrap it in plastic wrap. You will need several long sheets of overlapping plastic wrap to make a piece big enough. Lay the pieces of plastic wrap out on your work surface. Overlap them to create an extra wide sheet. Carefully lay the sandwich on top. It helps to have an extra pair of hands for moving it. Roll the sandwich up tightly in plastic.
Press the sandwich. Place the sandwich on an upside-down baking sheet. Then place another baking sheet on top. Place the cast iron or bricks* on top of the second baking sheet.
Refrigerate the weighted sandwich for at least 4 hours. Or up to 24 hours. Keep it weighted down the entire time.
Slice and serve.
Keep the sandwich weighted down until close to serving time. Cut into 8 slices and serve.
If you want to make them into an appetizer or slider size, cut each of the 8 slices in half to make 16 party sandwiches.
How to serve them
- Perfect for picnics and party platters
- Take them tailgating
- Serve them at a luncheon or baby shower
- Eat them as a make ahead lunch or supper
What to serve with cold pressed sandwiches
Sign up below for email updates and don’t forget to check your inbox to confirm your subscription!