Here's What Usually Goes On An Italian Sub

Italian subs are one of those classic items that you will find gracing the menu of nearly every deli or hoagie shop from family-run joints to the Subways, Jersey Mike's, and Jimmy Johns of the corporate chain world. Most casual American restaurants and bars offer it as well. Depending on the place, each company or individual chef might craft their own unique spin on the sandwich, but there are certain ingredients that are meant to top a typical Italian.

Food blogger and "Love Your Leftovers" author Nick Evans says an authentic Italian sub starts with using a combination of cured meats. The stars of the show generally include salami and pepperoni, with mortadella and capicola commonly making guest appearances as well. The cheese of choice usually accompanying this meaty goodness is the salty, nutty provolone, though Evans notes that Swiss cheese can make a fine alternative if you prefer switching things up.

Of course, the foundation of any good sandwich is the bread, and with this particular style, it's all in the name. Evans opts for a soft Italian loaf from which to build up his eponymous super sub. Kitchn also advises using an Italian loaf or some variation of a "sturdy sub roll" that won't buckle under the weight of its ingredients or turn soggy from its condiments.

There are guidelines, but ultimately it's up to you

An Italian sub typically comes adorned with a chopped mix of pickled and crunchy vegetables, according to Nick Evans (via Simply Recipes), although there is a little wiggle room here based on personal tastes. He recommends some combination of olives or pickled vegetables and giardiniera or banana peppers. Tasting Table's version features a pickled cherry pepper spread. A number of Italian sub recipes, including Boar's Head's, list ingredients like lettuce, tomato, and onions.

Condiments may vary slightly, but a number of chains will top their Italian subs with oil and vinegar or even sprinkle on a spice blend of oregano and basil, as Jimmy John's does with its Italian Night Club. Jersey Mike's promotes ordering their Italian "Mike's Way," stacked with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and spices like oregano, with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil applied to the bun. The Food Network's Italian sub recipe similarly calls for red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and oregano, along with freshly ground pepper. Kitchn advocates incorporating mayo into the equation, which doesn't always come standard, but is often available as an option at many restaurants and sandwich shops.

Regardless of how you dress it, cured meats, salty cheese, and a hearty bread loaf are the central components to any Italian sub. Where you go from there is completely up to you.