Way back in March 2023, which might as well be 10 years ago in social media time, Eric Gaddis of @bigericsbbq went viral on TikTok for his Italian chopped sandwich. He basically took all of the makings of a great Italian sub (Italian meats and cheeses, onion, tomato), then diced everything up on a cutting board, chopped-salad style. He dressed the tasty mix with mayo, red wine vinegar, Italian dressing and dried Italian seasoning, then served it up on a hoagie roll.
Tons of folks made the original recipe and others took the idea and made it their own by swapping in their favorite ingredients. I'm a member of the second camp—and this is my take on the viral recipe. In my version, I add in crispy artichokes and a garlic-and-olive-studded spread that ties the whole thing together. The sandwich is fresh and crispy and creamy and totally delicious. Here's how to make it at home.
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The Magic of Canned Artichokes
The true star of this recipe is canned artichokes. Though fresh artichokes often get all the glory, canned artichokes are a wonderful pantry staple that can be used in so many ways. They're great in creamy dips (looking at you, spinach-artichoke dip), baked on pizza or tossed into salads.
Here, I patted the artichokes dry with a paper towel, sprinkled them with panko breadcrumbs and baked them until they were browned and crispy. They add great flavor and texture to the sandwich, but keep these crispy artichokes in mind for a quick and easy side dish or a great addition to your weeknight pasta.
I also added a garlic and olive-packed mayo to this sandwich to give it a creamy, decadent layer and really pull all the elements together. This savory spread replaces the mayonnaise that's mixed with the meat and cheeses in the original recipe. You might want to double the recipe so you have some around to wake up a plain old turkey sandwich or for dolloping on broiled fish.
How to Make The Chopped Italian Sandwich
The great thing about the original viral recipe, as well as my recipe, is it really is as easy as piling all of your sandwich ingredients on a cutting board and chopping them up until everything is just the size you want it. The idea here is to get a little bit of everything in each bite.
I used iceberg lettuce, salami, provolone cheese, garbanzo beans, red onions and cherry tomatoes, but you can use this formula to chop salad-ify your favorite sandwich combos. This recipe is also a great way to use up any leftovers you have in the fridge that aren't quite enough to make a full meal. With a little of this and a little of that you can create a top-notch chopped sandwich.
Other Salads To Try As A Sandwich
This recipe got me to thinking that there's a lot more fun to be had with salad and sandwich mashups. The obvious choices, such as tuna or egg salad, come to mind, but what about a Chinese chicken salad on toasty roll? Or you could try a southwest salad wrapped on a tortilla, or a Greek Salad in a pita, or what about a chicken Caesar salad between two crusty pieces of ciabatta? Thanks to TikTok, the salad and sandwich worlds may be changed forever.
Chopped Italian Sandwich with Crispy Artichokes
1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 cup panko or dried plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp Espelette pepper or paprika
Drizzle of olive oil
Dash of salt
Heat oven to 400°F.
Drain and slice artichokes in half, lay them out on a paper towel and gently press out remaining liquid.
Add artichoke hearts to a bowl with the panko flakes, olive oil, salt and seasoning. Toss to combine.
Place artichokes on a sheet pan and bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until brown and crispy.
To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
To make the olive aioli, stir all of the ingredients in another small bowl until well combined.
Arrange the salad ingredients on a cutting board. Chop all of the ingredients together until the mixture is diced into small pieces.
Slice the rolls lengthwise being careful to keep them intact along one edge. Drizzle the inside of the rolls with olive oil, then broil until golden.
Add a few spoonfuls of the vinaigrette to the chopped salad and toss to combine on the cutting board.
Spread the olive mayo on the rolls, scoop some salad into each roll and top with the crispy artichokes.