Grinder Salad Sandwich (Viral TikTok Sandwich)
My version of the viral TikTok Grinder Salad Sandwich! I load mine up with thinly sliced deli smoked turkey, lots of iceberg lettuce with pepperoncinis to make the most delicious tangy salad, all on lightly toasted hoagie rolls. This grinder sandwich is seriously so good!
I’m probably the last person on the planet to share my version of the TikTok viral Grinder Sandwich. Or in other words a simple Italian sandwich loaded up with a grinder salad.
By now you’re probably more than familiar with the warm submarine sandwich loaded with provolone or Swiss cheese that is toasted in the oven then loaded up with a thinly sliced pepperoncini peppers, red onion and lettuce mixture dressed in a red wine vinegar and mayonnaise dressing. Top the sandwich with your favorite deli meats like roast beef, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, smoked turkey, or pretty much anything else your heart desires.
It’s a wildly popular recipe for a reason and I’m totally here for it.
Of course, we’re going to do it my way by giving the sub sandwiches a little extra love by brushing it with a garlic butter mixture before we load it up with provolone cheese and bake it until it’s golden and bubbly. I also opt to leave off the deli meat when we toast the roll in the oven. I much prefer my deli meats to be served in true cold cut fashion – served cold on the sandwich. But you can totally heat them through if you’d like.
Alright, lets get to it!
Ingredients for an Italian grinder sandwich:
- a head iceberg lettuce: thinly slice the iceberg lettuce. You can also purchase it preshredded in your grocery case to make prepwork easier.
- pepperoncini peppers: I prefer to use pepperoncini peppers but you could also use thinly sliced banana peppers for this recipe instead. Banana peppers are usually very mild. Pepperoncini peppers come in a range of heat levels so pick what works best for you.
- red onions: to make sure the onions don’t have a harsh bite, I like to thinly slice them and add them to a small bowl with water. This makes the onions a bit more mild.
- tomatoes: slice the tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little salt before topping them on the sandwich! They add the best flavor.
- mayo: forget about spreading the mayo on toasted bread. We’re going to use a few seasonings, mayo, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to make a dressing and toss the lettuce, onions, and pepperoncini peppers in this. This is a grinder salad sandwich after all!
- cheese: I like to use provolone cheese for this recipe, however you can also use Swiss or any other cheese that melts well in the oven.
- garlic: A clove of garlic gets added to the salad ingredients and then a little bit also goes into the garlic butter we’ll spread on the hoagie roll before toasting it in the oven.
- parmesan cheese: plays a two part role. We’ll add some to the grinder salad and some to the garlic butter that we brush on the bread. The parmesan gets all toasty and creates the best crust.
- seasonings: for the seasonings you’ll need a little salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a hint of garlic powder. We’ll use most of these seasonings to make the lettuce salad, and the garlic powder goes into the butter mixture we’ll use on the bread before toasting it.
- olive oil: the olive oil is part of the ingredients for the grinder dressing
- red wine vinegar: Is the acid in the salad dressing. We also use a splash of pepperoncini liquid to help bring that acid that this sandwich so desperately needs.
- deli meats: Like I mentioned above, you can use whatever you like. I usually prefer deli cut turkey slices or roast beef, but the sky is the limit here!
- hoagie rolls: I’ve always found these in the bakery section of the grocery store. You can also make one large sandwich by doubling this recipe and using a 1lb. loaf of rustic Italian bread. Ciabatta bread would also work well for this recipe.
- butter: melt the butter in the microwave with the garlic, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and parsley. Then brush this on the top and the inside of the sandwich before topping it with provolone. Trust me, it’ll make it taste that much better!
- parsley: a half tbsp of fresh parsley goes into the garlic butter. Feel free to swap this with dried parsley or even a little oregano if you don’t have fresh parsley on hand.
How to make a grinder salad sandwich:
- Make the garlic butter. Start by preheating the oven while you prepare the bread and the garlic butter. Combine the garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl along with a pinch of salt. Zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until the butter melts.
- Toast the bread. Cut the hoagie roll in half lengthwise and brush the cut side of the rolls with the garlic butter. You can also brush the top of the roll if you’d like. Top one side with the cheese and you can also add the deli meat if you prefer it warm. Then toast until golden and bubbly.
- Make the grinder salad. These ingredients are the heroes of this sandwich! You’ll toss the mayo, pepperoncini liquid, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, parmesan, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a a bowl. Whisk it together until smooth, then add the lettuce, pepperoncini, and red onions. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust with more seasonings as desired.
- Make sands! Top the bread with the deli meat if you haven’t already done so. Pile on the grinder salad, salted sliced tomatoes, cover with the top half of the bread, slice down the middle and enjoy!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Best Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Vietnamese Chicken Sandwich (Banh Mi)
- Beef Shawarma Sandwiches
- Crunchy Chicken Caesar Wraps
- Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini (plus 1 teaspoon liquid)
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced (soaked in water)
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced (beef steak, Roma, etc.)
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1 tablespoon EACH: olive oil AND red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ½ teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning AND red pepper flakes
- 8-10 slices roasted turkey or other deli meat of choice (plus more meat as desired)
- 4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 Hoagie Rolls
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon parmesan
- GARLIC BUTTER: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Combine the garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl along with a pinch of salt. Zap in the microwave for 15-30 seconds until the butter melts.
- TOAST: Cut the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise. Remove some of the center if desired. Brush insides and top of rolls with the garlic butter. Add the deli meat/cheese to the bottom half of the bread. I usually toast the cheese and add the meat later. Toast for 5-8 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts.
- GRINDER SALAD: While the bread is toasting, combine the mayo, pepperoncini liquid, pressed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, parmesan, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a tiny pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust with more seasonings as desired. Toss in the lettuce, pepperoncini, drained red onions, and stir to combine.
- SANDO: Top bread with deli meat if you haven’t already. Add a heaping pile of grinder salad on the bottom half, slices of tomato and season with a pinch of salt if desired. Cover with the top half of the bread, slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!