This vegan muffaletta sandwich is packed with spicy marinated eggplant, roasted red pepper slices, and zippy olive salad! A delicious make-ahead vegan sandwich that gets better with time. This one is perfect for picnics!
Begin by preparing the eggplant. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the eggplant slices in an even layer. Add as many as you can fit without crowding the skillet, and cook the remaining slices in a second batch.
Cook the eggplant for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until tender and browned.
Remove the cooked eggplant from the skillet and transfer it to a plate. Let it cool while you prepare the marinade.
Stir the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Arrange the eggplant slices in a shallow dish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the eggplant, and place the dish in the fridge.
Allow the eggplant to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
While the eggplant marinates, stir the ingredients for the olive salad together in a small bowl.
To assemble the sandwich, slice the bread in half, thickness-wise, and scoop out some of the interior.
Layer the fillings on the bottom half of the bread in the following order: half of the olive salad, two slices of cheese, half of the eggplant, two more slices of cheese, roasted red pepper, the remaining eggplant, and the remaining olive salad.
Place the top half of the bread over the fillings to close the sandwich, then wrap the loaf in plastic wrap. Place a heavy flat object, such as a cookbook or skillet, over the sandwich and press it for at least 30 minutes.
Cut into quarters and serve.