February offers no down time between holidays. We swiftly eat our way through Super Bowl, Valentine’s and straight in to Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”). It’s probably the most appropriately named holiday on the calendar, fully embracing its food focus. It’s a one-day feast and celebration before the 40-day fast that Catholics follow before Easter.
The hub of Mardi Gras celebrations in the US take place in New Orleans, which has an air of an on-going party anyway. But next week, on Tuesday, February 21, people will gather to throw one of the biggest parties of the year!
Traditional New Orleans foods, like jambalaya or a crawfish boil, will be the focal point of any proper Mardi Grad party. But few are as easy to make and easily adapted into a healthier version than the muffaletta sandwich, which is synonymous with Louisiana cuisine.
A true muffaletta sandwich is made on muffuletta loaf and topped with fatty meats like capicola, salami, pepperoni, emmentaler, ham and then provolone cheese. They key ingredient that separates this sandwich from any other is the olive spread, made of olives with celery, cauliflower and carrot, as well as oregano, garlic and olive oil.
You can see where a simple makeover will allow you to still enjoy this robust sandwich on Fat Tuesday or any other day of the year without having to confess your food sins. So that’s what we did, we made it over! Our food editor Terry Grieco Kenny turned the sandwich in to a wrap and filled the whole grain tortilla with hard salami, provolone, Italian dressing, fresh celery, and a Spanish olive salad. Our recipe has 212 calories. According to Calorie King, one-fourth of a Jason’s Deli ham muffaletta has 792 calories.
2/3 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives or Spanish salad olives
¼ cup diced celery
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat Italian dressing
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. minced garlic
4 large green leaf lettuce leaves
4 whole-grain flour tortillas or sandwich wraps
12 thin slices hard salami
12 thin slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
1. Combine olives, celery, parsley, dressing, oregano and garlic in a small bowl.
2. Put 1 lettuce leaf on each tortilla. Top each with 3 slices salami and 3 slices provolone cheese.
3. Sprinkle each with rounded ¼ cup olive mixture. Fold ends in and roll up tightly.
4. Cut in half to serve.
For dessert, king cake is a must. However, it also delivers an insane amount of calories and sugar. (Fat Tuesday didn’t get its name by accident!) Biggest Loser’s Heba Salama has recommended using an Angel food cake with frozen whipped topping dyed in traditional purple, green, and yellow. It’s a far lighter place to hide the baby in the cake!
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