I gravitate toward sandwiches with pesto when ordering lunch out somewhere. I make plenty of fresh pesto at home, but that tends to be used for pasta, or perhaps to top some fish or chicken. See for instance this popular Orzo, Salmon and Pesto recipe. But after making this tasty Turkey Pesto Panini, pesto is not just for supper anymore!
Turkey is a fairly neutral canvass that lets the flavorful pesto shine. The bite of the pesto is contrasted by savory melted cheese, and you get some just warmed tomato and wilted spinach in the mix for some extra flavor and nutrition. Cooked up in some bread that gets a bit crispy with nice griddle marks, and you know you’ve got a winner with this turkey pesto panini! Just make sure you leave some pesto for dinner!
Earlier this week, I shared a recipe for nut-free pesto. You can use that recipe, this one for traditional basil pesto, or you might have your own favorite way to make pesto. As long as you have pesto sauce with basil, cheese and garlic on hand, you are ready to make this tasty sandwich!
It certain helps to have a sandwich press to get the nice griddle marks going on the panini. I definitely like the Cuisinart Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press that I have–a well-used Christmas gift from a few years ago! I’m sure there are other good options available. Note: The sandwich press links are served up through the Amazon affiliate program. If you choose to make a purchase through those links, I would receive a commission. I only link to products that I use and recommend!
If you don’t have a sandwich press and want to make this turkey pesto panini on the skillet, do so in similar fashion to a basic grilled cheese. Use a spatula to press down on the sandwich as it cooks to facilitate the melting.
OK, enough talking, time to make a panini!
- 2 slices of bread
- 1 slices cheddar cheese
- 2 slices deli style turkey breast
- 2 tbsp basil pesto
- handful of spinach
- 1 thin slice of fresh tomato
- 1 tbsp softened butter
- Preheat a sandwich press. See notes in post text for approach without a sandwich press.
- Spread half the butter on one side of a piece of bread. Spread the remaining butter on one side of the second piece of bread. Place both buttered sides down on a plate.
- Spread the pesto on one of the unbuttered sides of bread, and set aside.
- On the other unbuttered side of bread, add slice of cheese, followed by the turkey. Place the tomato on top of the turkey, then top with the spinach.
- Close the sandwich up by taking the bread with the pesto and placing it pesto side down on the cheese.
- Carefully move the sandwich and set it in the heated press. Gently press down on the sandwich maker.
- The sandwich takes about 5 minutes to get the cheese melted and develop those nice griddle marks. Keep an eye on the cheese as the sandwich heats, you don't need to cook it much past the point where the cheese has started to melt.
- When the sandwich is ready, use a plastic spatula to remove the sandwich from the press. Plate the sandwich, cutting it in half if you like for presentation effects. Enjoy!
Tools to use: