This easy-to-make focaccia sandwich is layered with creamy goat cheese, roasted red peppers, spicy arugula, and quick-pickled red onion. Consider this the vegetarian sandwich to beat all vegetarian sandwiches!

close up of one focaccia sandwich on a plate in front of a platter of focaccia sandwiches.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

This focaccia sandwich ranks right up there with some of my favorite vegetarian sandwich recipes—open-faced eggplant parm sandwich, I’m looking at you! 

Because I make it in the style of a slab sandwich (one giant sandwich cut for a crowd) it’s easy to make and comes together quickly. Plus, thanks to sweet roasted red peppers, peppery arugula, capers and quickly pickled red onion, it has just the right balance of tangy, peppery, and briney flavors. I use freshly baked focaccia glistening with olive oil, but you can use store bought too. 

This recipe will yield 8 sandwiches so it’s perfect for when friends and family are coming over. Whip up a pitcher of white wine sangria or mint lemonade and serve with a Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad! Sit on the patio and visit until the sun goes down.  

Table of Contents
  1. Focaccia Sandwich Ingredients 
  2. How to Make Focaccia Sandwiches
  3. Make it Your Own 
  4. What to Serve with Focaccia Sandwiches 
  5. Wow-Worthy Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes 
  6. Buttery & Smooth Italian EVOO
  7. Focaccia Sandwiches with Arugula, Roasted Red Peppers, and Goat Cheese Recipe
Ingredients for focaccia sandwiches including focaccia bread, red onion, red wine vinegar, salt, chevre cheese, roasted red peppers, capers, arugula, olive oil and pepper.

Focaccia Sandwich Ingredients 

Vegetables are the name of the game when it comes to this focaccia sandwich recipe. Layer on the ingredients and dinner is ready in no time. Because this is a slab sandwich you only have to make one large vegetarian sandwich then cut it down to size. 

  • Focaccia bread: I’m a sucker for homemade bread of any kind. If you are new to bread making, focaccia is a really easy place to start. However, if making bread isn’t on your to-do list, then store bought will work just fine. Just look for a large sheet of focaccia. The bread I used for this recipe was about 12 x 14-inches. If you can’t find focaccia, ciabatta is my next favorite bread for making slab sandwiches like this. 
  • Red onion: I love thinking about how I can add color when I'm cooking. You can use any onion, but the purple color of a red onion just adds an extra level of vibrancy to this sandwich.
  • Red wine vinegar: Vinegar serves two purposes in this focaccia sandwich. First, it takes edge off the red onions and softens their flavor just a bit. Second, it’s poured over the sandwich for a little acidity. 
  • Kosher salt: Salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients. If you make something and it tastes a little flat it just needs some salt! 
  • Chevre: This mild and tangy creamy French cheese didn’t make its way to the US until the 1970s, but now it’s commonly found at most well-stocked grocery stores. Technically, not all goat cheese is vegetarian so if you adhere to a strict vegetarian diet check the label.
  • Roasted red peppers: I love the pop of color roasted red peppers add to this sandwich. The gentle sweetness of the peppers combined with the peppery essence of arugula is one of my favorite flavor combinations. You can, of course, pick up a jar at the market. Or, if you have a ton of peppers in your garden make homemade roasted red peppers. 
  • Capers: Capers bring bright bursts of flavor and a briney quality to the sandwich.
  • Arugula: This humble little green leaf lettuce has quite a peppery bite. You can swap it for spinach, but you'll miss out on that kick of spice. It’s worth seeking out arugula at your local market. 
  • Olive oil: Focaccia is made with a lot of olive oil so I use just a little bit to help moisten the sandwich and help the pickling juices stick. However, if you’re not using freshly baked focaccia it will need some more oil to soften it. Increase the amount of oil to good solid drizzle over the arugula. 
  • Black pepper: I love the earthy-bite of black pepper against the sweetness of the roasted red peppers and the tangy flavors of the cheese.
4 focaccia sandwiches in a row on a platter.

How to Make Focaccia Sandwiches

I love, love, love making sandwiches like this for a crowd. My husband and I are both from big families so having a recipe where I can make one large sandwich then cut it into 8 sandwiches for school lunches, camping trips, or when family comes to visit is my fast and easy secret to feeding everyone! 

  • Warm the focaccia: Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the fully baked focaccia on a sheet pan and place in the warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You just want to freshen it up a bit and warm the bread so the cheese spreads more easily.
  • Quick pickle the onion: While the bread warms, thinly slice the red onion and place it in a small bowl. Sprinkle it with salt and red wine vinegar. Toss it to coat and set aside.a bowl of thinly sliced red onions.
  • Remove the focaccia from the oven: Take the sheet pan out of the oven. Transfer the bread to a cutting board and slice it in half along the equator. Make sure the cut side is facing up. 
  • Add the cheese: Crumble the chevre over one side of the bread. Let it sit for a second so the warmth from the bread makes it easier to spread. Then use a knife to spread the cheese out. a focaccia loaf sliced in half with cheese sprinkled on one side.a focaccia loaf sliced in half with cheese spread on one side.
  • Add the toppings: Top with the sliced roasted red peppers, capers, and arugula. Sprinkle the quick pickled onion over the top of the arugula (a layer of arugula over the slippery red peppers helps keep the onion in place). Add one teaspoon of olive oil to the remaining vinegar in the onion bowl, along with the freshly ground black pepper. Stir it with a fork then pour it over the arugula. Top with the remaining half of the bread. a focaccia loaf sliced in half with cheese, roasted red peppers, arugula and sliced red onions on one side.
  • Slice and serve: Slice into 8 sandwiches and serve. 

Make it Your Own 

I like this as a vegetarian sandwich because we hike and camp a lot in our family and I don’t worry as much about keeping it cold, but you can mix and match ingredients to suit your needs. 

  • Swap the bread: This recipe calls for focaccia but you can use ciabatta or a soft Italian loaf. 
  • Mix up the veggies: I like roasted red peppers, but you could layer on cucumbers or thin slices of crunchy red, yellow or orange bell peppers. Use spinach if that’s what you have on hand. You’ll miss the pepper bite of arugula, but get a little extra sweetness from the spinach.
  • Add some pickled peppers and whatnot: Pickled ingredients make sandwiches sing. Take inspiration from this Veggie Sandwich with Whipped Feta and add some Greek favorites, like pepperoncini and Kalamata olives. Pickled turnips, or pickled red onions are always a good idea. You could also get creative with chopped artichoke hearts or olive tapenade
  • Cheese: Chevre, also commonly called goat cheese, is a favorite around here. I use it my Breakfast Strata recipe and it’s delicious in stuffed dates. If you don’t have chevre then try using labneh as a sandwich spread or layers of mozzarella cheese. 
  • Meat: While this rendition is meat-free you can always add sliced grilled chicken breasts or prosciutto. 
  • Fish: Smoked salmon is underutilized in sandwich recipes. It’s healthy, keeps for ages in the fridge and goes really well with all of the ingredients I have here. I highly recommend making a smoked salmon version of this recipe one of these days. 
close up of one focaccia sandwich on a plate.

What to Serve with Focaccia Sandwiches 

I have teenagers in the house which means hungry kiddos coming in and out at all times.

I like to have these sandwiches at the ready with an assortment of salads, and even a few treats like these chocolate covered date bars. This way I can easily pack them for lunches, serve for unexpected guests or just whip up a fast weeknight dinner. 

Watermelon salad with feta and mint is one of my favorite fruit salads because it hits those sweet salty notes everyone in my house loves and keeps really well. When it comes to loading up on vegetables and adding some plant-based protein to a meal the balela salad made with a slew of vegetables, fresh herbs, and chickpeas is always high on the request list. For a punchy side dish or to add another pickled element to the sandwich itself, try giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables).

Wow-Worthy Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes 

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

Buttery & Smooth Italian EVOO

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from hand-picked, cold-extracted Nocellara olives.

5 from 2 votes

Focaccia Sandwiches with Arugula, Roasted Red Peppers, and Goat Cheese

Summer Miller
focaccia sandwich web story poster image.
These easy-to-make vegetarian sandwiches are made in the style of slab sandwich. Just slice open a loaf of focaccia, make one huge sandwich, then cut it into multiple servings. Perfect for lunch, light dinners, serving a crowd, or your next hiking adventure!
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 10 minutes
Total – 20 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 8
Course:
brunch, Dinner, Lunch

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (2 pound) focaccia bread, store bought or homemade
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces chevre cheese
  • 10 ounces roasted red peppers, store bought or homemade, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 ounces Arugula
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Warm the focaccia: Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the fully baked focaccia on a sheet pan and place in the warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You just want to freshen it up a bit and warm the bread so the cheese spreads more easily.
  • Quick pickle the onion: While the bread warms, place the red onion slices in a small bowl. Sprinkle it with salt and red wine vinegar. Toss it to coat and set aside.
  • Remove the focaccia from the oven: Take the sheet pan out of the oven. Transfer the bread to a cutting board and slice it in half along the equator. Make sure the cut side is facing up.
  • Assemble the sandwiches: Crumble the chevre over one side of the bread. Let it sit for a second so the warmth from the bread makes it easier to spread. Then use a knife to spread the cheese out. Top with the sliced roasted red peppers, capers, and arugula. Sprinkle the quick pickled onion over the top of the arugula (it helps keep the onion in place.) Add one teaspoon of olive oil to the remaining vinegar in the onion bowl, along with the freshly ground black pepper. Stir it with a fork then pour it over the arugula. Top with the remaining half of the bread. Slice into 8 sandwiches and serve.

Notes

  • If you’re using store-bought or not freshly baked focaccia, drizzle an extra tablespoon of high quality olive oil over the arugula. I like our Early Harvest Greek varieties for this because of the peppery notes.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oilshoneyjams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 372.2kcalCarbohydrates: 60.1gProtein: 13.2gFat: 9.6gSaturated Fat: 2.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 6.5mgSodium: 1287.9mgPotassium: 93.2mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 2.6gVitamin A: 501.8IUVitamin C: 18.1mgCalcium: 48.2mgIron: 0.7mg
Tried this recipe?

Share it with the world

Summer Miller is an award-winning cookbook author, journalist, and an IACP finalist in essay writing and memoir. Her recipes, food writing, and editing chops span both print and digital media. You can find her work at Simply Recipes, Eating Well, Saveur, Bon Appétit, and the Kitchn among others. She is the Senior Executive Editor at The Mediterranean Dish.
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.
5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Silvana says:

    5 stars
    Amazing 🤩