Italian Sandwich Fried Rice

Italian Sandwich Fried Rice

I was in New York last week and had the best Italian sandwich. As usual it got me thinking about what makes a good sandwich, and what all the elements of the best sandwiches are. One of my favorite recipes is this Italian sandwich deep dish pizza, so I started thinking how else I could use the elements of an Italian sandwich in an unexpected way. After coming up with a handful of ideas, I narrowed it down to fried rice.

I really wanted to add cheese but I almost gave up because I thought cheese would give the fried rice a gross texture. Finally at the last minute I realized a “grillable” cheese like halloumi would be perfect. It could brown up with the other ingredients but wouldn’t melt and create a strange texture.

Onions, cheese, and then the meats. I used salami, ham, and mortadella.

Rice in next, then the egg. I like to cook the egg by itself in the middle for a bit, otherwise I don’t like how it coats some rice. A wok would obviously be better for this but I work with what I have and I do not have a wok at the moment.

When I make mash-up recipes, I am always looking for the “bridge” ingredients. The things that would be in both versions of the dish separately, really help a mash-up come together. For this rice, ham is one, but the true bridge is basil. Sure, basil is not on every Italian sandwich, nor is it in every fried rice, but it definitely plays both sides on this one and feels right at home.

For the liquids, I used soy sauce, sesame oil, and balsamic, then after I plated it, I finished it with a drizzle of balsamic and a really good olive oil.

So good! For me, the banana peppers and lettuce are so important in an Italian sandwich, and they really shine in this fried rice. It’s very meaty of course, but the overall ratio is fantastic.

Italian Sandwich Fried Rice

A simple fried rice dish inspired by an Italian sandwich, with 3 types of cured meat, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, and even halloumi for cheese.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 3 people


  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a small onion diced
  • 1 cup diced halloumi
  • 3 slices salami diced
  • 3 slices mortadella diced
  • 3 slices rosemary ham diced
  • 3 cups leftover long grain rice at least 1 day old
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup diced banana peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic plus more
  • chopped romaine


  • Preheat the pan to high heat and add the olive oil. Add in the onion and cook 5 minutes. Add in the halloumi and cook about 5 minutes until some of the edges of the halloumi are starting to brown.
  • Add in the meats and cook 3-5 minuutes to render and brown slightly.
  • Add in the rice and cook another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Make a space in the rice and add the egg. Scramble it in the pan as it cooks, then mix everything back together.
  • Add in everything else and stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes.
  • Serve with lettuce on top and drizzle on some oil and balsamic

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