Wicked Italian Cold Cuts


Root vegetables are so underrated. They’re full of fiber, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They’re also high in vitamin C, potassium, and other important nutrients. Plus, they taste great! Take rutabagas for example (called swedes in Britain): a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, this purple-tinged root has a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and texture similar to potato but without the starch. Or how about celery root (celeriac)? This light brown root ball looks gnarly and knobby on the outside, but inside, the flesh is tender and aromatic with a taste similar to celery but slightly sweeter. Here, we transform these two badass root vegetables into the most beautiful cold cuts: thin, savory, and bursting with satisfying flavor. The rutabaga (swede) becomes Wicked capicola, and the celery root (celeriac) becomes salami. Fold them up to create a mind-blowing plant-based charcuterie board with pickles, nuts, and vegan cheese. Or layer them with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and slice cheese in one of our all-time favorite sandwiches: the Wicked Italian Sub.

This recipe makes enough cold cuts for 4 big sub sandwiches.


  • 1 large rutabaga (swede), about 1 1/2 pounds (680 g)
  • 1 large celeriac (celery root), about 1 1/2 pounds (680 g)
  • 3 large potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds (680 g)
  • About 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • Salt
Salami Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seed
  • 1 Tbsp white peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp beet powder or 1/4 cup beet juice
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano and/or thyme
  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
Capicola Marinade
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) bottling liquid from a jar pickled pepperoncini


  1. For the Veg: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  2. Trim any rough bits from the rutabaga/swede and celeriac, especially the top and bottom. Rub them with oil, then sprinkle them with salt. The oil helps crisp the skin, but you could skip it if you’re going no-oil. 
  3. We’re going to Hot Box these, so get your Hot Box ready: I use a large cast-iron Dutch oven, but any covered, oven-proof roasting or baking dish will do. Put something on the bottom to lift up the root veg and keep the veg from browning. I line the bottom with carrots, then feed the cooked carrots to Frankie, my dog. Position the whole root veg over your bottom layer then fill in the empty spaces with potatoes, also rubbed in oil and salt. Cooked potatoes always come in handy. That said, if you don’t want these extra vegetables, skip the carrots and potatoes, and just put a steamer basket in the bottom or wad up some aluminum foil balls to use as a base in your hot box. 
  4. Cover and bake until the root veg is soft enough for a skewer to slide in but it’s not totally soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We’re looking for a somewhat firm texture here, not squishy like a fully cooked sweet potato. You need to be able to slice the veg when it cools. When the veg hits that firm-ish doneness, remove it to a plate or tray and let rest until cool. Then cover and refrigerate the veg until cold, at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. The cool-down will make your cold cuts easy to slice.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut the skin off each root—just the skin: we want to save all the awesome veg flesh. Then use a mandolin or a super-sharp knife and a very steady hand to cut the root veg into super-thin round slices, no more than 1/16” (1.5 mm) thick. A mandolin is the ideal tool for the job at home. In a commercial kitchen, you could also use a meat slicer.
  6. For the Salami Marinade: Toast the fennel seeds and white & black peppercorns in a small dry pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan now and then. Transfer to a mortar & pestle or spice grinder and crush to a powder. Set aside 1 Tbsp of this toasted spice mix for the Capicola Marinade. Into the remaining toasted spices, mix in the beet powder (or wait on the beet juice if you’re using that), red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, allspice, and chopped fresh herbs. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the boiling water to open up all the flavors. Mix in the beet juice if you’re using that instead of beet powder. Finally, mix in the soy sauce for a darker color and salty, umami flavor.
  7. For the Capicola Marinade: Put the cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, along with the reserved 1 Tbsp toasted spice mix from the salami marinade. Grind to a powder, then mix in the salt and sugar. Transfer the spice mix to a bowl and mix in the pepperoncini liquid. That pickling liquid is slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly tangy…the perfect flavors for this marinade. 
  8. Pour the salami marinade over the sliced celery root, then coat every single piece front and back, separating the slices to make sure everything is coated. 
  9. Pour the capicola marinade over the sliced rutabaga, separating the slices to coat each one completely with marinade. Set aside so the capicola and salami can marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably a few hours, or even overnight. (Cover them if you’re going more than a few hours.)
  10. Remove the cold cuts from the marinade and lay them out on parchment paper on sheet pans, overlapping each slice in rows, just like you see cold cuts in the grocery store. Let air dry for about 30 minutes. Or cover and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. At this point your cold cuts are ready to go.


  • Sprinkle some salt on your cooked potato and eat it like an apple for a delicious healthy snack. To make it Wicked, drizzle on some extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Once sliced and layered, you can smoke these cold cuts at 225ºF to get some smoke flavor on them.

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