Get the recipe for a stuffed veggie sandwich perfect for an easy backyard picnic. This post and video has been sponsored by Santa Cruz Organic. I received product and compensation, but all opinions are my own. 

A vegan stuffed muffaletta sandwich with vegetables and tapenade is perfect for a backyard picnic.

It’s summertime, and the living’s easy… My girls go back to school in two short weeks and it suddenly feels like summer is flying by. We are trying to savor the last lazy days of summer as best we can. The weather has been warm and beautiful, but a little too warm to do much cooking inside. So my family has been setting up easy breezy backyard picnics. It feels so good to toss a blanket in the shade under our big bushy trees and enjoy the fresh air. I’m excited to share some of my favorite things to pack in a picnic basket, from a big hearty sandwich for sharing, to cold beverages.

COME JOIN OUR PICNIC! My girls and I had so much fun making this short video.

Grilled eggplant, tomatoes, roasted peppers, basil, greens, and mozzarella are stuffed into a loaf of bread in this picnic sandwich.

I absolutely love a good veggie sandwich and picnics are the perfect excuse to make one. Summer produce is so wonderful in August. Juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, and freshly grilled eggplant are perfect with the tangy flavors from jarred artichoke hearts and peppers, and kalamata olive tapenade. If you’re not a fan of tapenade, you could also use a basil or sun dried tomato pesto or other favorite spread. The inspiration for this combination came from my favorite sandwich at a local sandwich shop.

A picnic crate gets filled with pasta salad, berries, a vegetarian picnic sandwich, and Santa Cruz Organic lemonades.

We got a pretty crate and filled it up with our favorite picnic foods.  I like to use a wooden crate rather than a traditional picnic basket, as it doubles as a table when flipped over. This time we included:

  • Stuffed Veggie Picnic Sandwich wrapped up in parchment
  • Blueberries
  • Pasta salad with chickpeas, broccoli, and olives
  • Santa Cruz Organic® Grapefruit Agua Fresca
  • Santa Cruz Organic® Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Santa Cruz Organic® Carbonated Green Tea Lemonade
  • Vegan Paleo Lemon Coconut Tartlets 
This vegetarian and vegan stuffed muffaletta sandwich is perfect for picnics.

Traditionally, muffaletta sandwiches are stuffed with meats and cheeses, and other Italian ingredients. This vegetarian version is not traditional, but I like is so much better. It’s just as flavorful, but filled with wholesome, fresh, colorful ingredients. I love this sandwich because it’s so easy to pack in picnics and fun to share.

A beautiful backyard picnic with Santa Cruz Organic lemonades

It was a great mail day when Santa Cruz Organic sent me a few of their refreshing drinks to use for our picnic. From the iconic Lemonades to the lightly sweetened Agua Frescas and the new Carbonated Tea Lemonades, Santa Cruz Organic offers the perfect way to refresh with unique flavors. Classic lemonade and half & half iced tea lemonade are my hubby’s favorite drinks after his long bike rides and with dinner on warm summer nights. I love that Santa Cruz Organic lemonades are made with 100% organic fruit juice. Whether you’re spending the day by the pool, or prepping for a family picnic, Santa Cruz Organic’s line of organic, non-GMO lemonades and fruit juices are an easy way to beat the summer heat. They made our backyard picnic feel even more festive.

Vegan lemon and coconut tarts with berries

For dessert I brought out a few lemon tarts I keep in the freezer. You can see that recipe here.

Beautiful backyard picnic ideas

I hope you’re enjoying the end of summer and get to squeeze a picnic or two in, even if it’s just in the backyard.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Vegetarian Muffuletta Picnic Sandwich

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

A vegetarian muffuletta style sandwich stuffed with veggies.

Vegetarian Muffuletta Picnic Sandwich


  • 1 Japanese eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 French or Italian style crusty loaf of bread
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olive tapenade
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 jar roasted peppers (red or red and yellow)
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella (I used vegan mozzarella)
  • 3 cups baby lettuces


  1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a grill, grill pan, or other large pan over medium heat. Cook the eggplant until tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat to cool.
  2. Carefully cut the top of the bread off using a serrated knife angled downward. Scoop out the inside of the bread top and bottom to create a crusty bread shell. Save the inside for breadcrumbs. Spread the bottom and top of the bread with a layer of olive tapenade. Layer the basil, vegetables, and mozzarella inside the bread, pressing them in firmly. Pile the greens on top and cover with the top piece of bread. Try to fill the sandwich with as much of the veggies as possible. Wrap with plastic or parchment and refrigerate for one hour or until ready to eat. Cut crosswise into sandwich slices to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Trans Fat: 0gSodium: 736mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 13g

Vegetarian and vegan muffaletta stuffed picnic sandwich