Monday, July 26, 2010

Al's Veggie-Cheese Subs with Olive Relish

Al's Beefs is almost as popular as Portillo's Beefs here in Chicago, and I have to say I prefer Portillo's beef sandwiches. However, Al's has a veggie-cheese sub sandwich that is SO good that I had to find a way to re-create them at home. I started by going to their website which lists the ingredients to the sub including olive relish. But of course they don't list the ingredients for the relish so I had to come up with it on my own. My husband and I have eaten many veggie-cheese subs at Al's, so I was pretty confidant that I could "taste" my way through the building of the recipe for it.

I started by Google-ing olive relish and found one that sounded good and started there. The following is the Al's veggie-cheese sub recipe and following is my version of the olive relish that goes on it.


1 - 6" cut of french bread
2 slices American cheese
1 slice Provolone cheese
olive relish
tomato slices
thin sliced red onion
roasted red peppers (from a jar)

Spread a thin layer of mayo on the entire inside of the roll. Spoon a generous amount of the olive relish on one side of the roll. Cover the inside of the roll with the 2 American cheese slices, put the Provolone in the middle. Then pile in your lettuce, tomato, red onion and roasted red pepper; choose how much of each according to your taste.

8 black olives
6 kalamata olives
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 roasted red pepper (from a jar), diced
splash of red pepper juice from jar
3 large fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, splash of red pepper juice, salt & pepper; set aside. Chop the olives into small pieces. Add to the vinegar mixture along with the red pepper, shallot and basil. Mix well and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let flavors blend before using.

You can use your own homemade roasted red peppers if you wish; I used to make my own, but the jarred variety aren't bad and are much easier. Plus I use the juice in this recipe, as well as others. (Keep it in the fridge or keep it even longer in the freezer for your next batch of potato salad or pasta sauce.) I am also lucky enough to have an olive bar at the local grocery store where I can pick up exactly 6 kalamata olives, I hope you are too.

I would also like to send out a WELCOME HOME to my neighbor's daughter K. who just came home from the hospital this past week. She was born at 26 weeks back in April and has beaten all the odds and has come home a very healthy little 6 lb. bundle of joy just before her actual due date! Congrats to my neighbors, J. & J.; little K. is just beautiful!

School starts in a month! Ack!

Happy eating!


  1. That sounds like a great sandwich! After years of trying to like kalamata olives, I finally love them...That Olive Relish sounds great!

  2. Oooh. I bet this is SO good! Love the sound of that olive relish.

    So glad to hear that your neighbor's baby got to come home. : )

  3. I second that Ack!

    First- Yum, YUm, YUM!!! That sound sooo good, I love the idea of an olive relish and can't wait to try this. What a GREAT summer dinner!!

    Second- LOVE the new look, very nice and calming :)

    Third- Hurray for Baby K!! That is wonderful, I bet her family is very happy :)