This Easy Turkey Basil Pesto Panini recipe is an easy, delicious meal to put together. It is loaded with pesto, melty fontina cheese, piled high with delicious slices of turkey and tomato, and then grilled or toasted until it is a perfect golden brown. It has tons of flavor and is a great lunch or dinner choice!
I was looking for some additional ways to use my pesto, and thought slathering it on a sandwich seemed like a perfect idea! Add the fontina cheese, turkey and tomato and you've got this amazing and perfect sandwich!
The best part about these tasty sandwiches is definitely the combination of the pesto and super melty cheese. Fontina cheese is a mild, buttery cheese that melts oh, so nicely.
Pair this flavorful sandwich with some crunchy chips or a bowl of warm soup for a perfect, complete meal.
Why You Will Love This
- It has pesto. Both sides of the bread for this sandwich are covered in pesto before piling on the rest of the ingredients. The flavor the basil, parmesan and pine nuts go so well with the other ingredients in this sandwich!
- The melty fontina cheese. After covering the bread in pesto, each slice is then covered with the sliced fontina cheese. This not only makes this sandwich extra cheesy, but it ensures that it stays together!
- The crunch. Grilling this sandwich on a panini grill or toasting it in a skillet or on a griddle to a perfect golden brown, gives this sandwich the perfect crunchy texture. Brushing the bread in olive oil before grilling it, helps to give it its delicious crunch and beautiful color.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients needed to make this turkey pesto sandwich recipe. All of the ingredients can be found at you local grocery store or an online retailer, like Amazon.
- Bread: I have made this with both ciabatta and slices of sourdough. It's great with either one! You will want to be sure you choose a type of bread that is crusty and hearty so it will hold up during the grilling. If you are using a loaf of ciabatta, I would slice it down to sandwich size first and then slice in half lengthwise before assembling.
- Pesto: This is the homemade pesto like to use. My flavorful pesto recipe makes just enough for the 4 sandwiches. You will need about 8-ounces or 1 cup of store-bought pesto sauce.
- Fontina cheese: I buy a 9-ounce block of fontina and I have just enough for the four sandwiches. If you can't find fontina, you could substitute Havarti, slices of provolone or Gouda cheese.
- Turkey: I like to get the turkey sliced a bit on the thicker side from the deli. I also like to choose deli turkey that has an Italian flavor. My number one choice is a sun dried tomato smoked turkey breast from my favorite grocery store. This gives it some additional flavor that works well with everything else.
- Tomato: Use fresh tomato slices. I prefer sliced Roma tomatoes for this but you could use your favorite tomato variety. Roasted red peppers would also be delicious!
- Olive Oil: This is for brushing the outside of the sandwich before grilling or toasting. This is a great way to get that crispy golden bread on the outside!
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make this delicious turkey pesto panini recipe. For the full ingredient list and instructions, see the recipe card below.
STEP 1: Place bread slices on a flat surface.
STEP 2: Spread the pesto on each of the 8 slices, spreading it all the way to the edges.
STEP 3: Place sliced cheese on top of the pesto on each of the pieces of bread. Set 4 slices aside.
STEP 4: Layer the turkey, overlapping and piling it on top of the cheese.
STEP 5: Divide tomato slices, placing them on top of the turkey.
STEP 6: Top with the reserved 4 slices of bread.
STEP 7: Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil.
STEP 8: Prepare your panini press or grill pan by heating to medium-high heat. Grill sandwich until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, transfer to a cutting board and slice in half.
Here are some tips to help you make this easy recipe as perfect as possible:
- If you are toasting or grilling your sandwich in a skillet or on a griddle, use something heavy to place on top of the sandwich while it cooks. I have used my cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich. This helps the bread toast evenly and helps smoosh it down so it all sticks together with the melted cheese.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to slice the sandwich in half after grilling it. This allows you to slice through it without smashing it down and losing all the goods inside.
- Use leftover turkey that you need to use up. A great way to put that Thanksgiving turkey to use for a second round!
- Serve this with chips, pasta salads or soup and salad!
Yes. You could use mozzarella cheese. I have suggested some other cheese above (like fontina, Havarti, provolone or Gouda) because they melt so nice, but mozzarella would be delicious too!
No. You can use a skillet or griddle to toast this sandwich. Its really just whatever you prefer to use to heat up and toast the bread on this sandwich. The goal is to get a crusty golden brown outside bread with melty, cheese on the inside.
Absolutely. I recommend using my basil pesto recipe because it makes the perfect amount for the four sandwiches in this recipe.
Storing and Freezing
This sandwich is best when it is freshly toasted and warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container or zip top bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrap in a paper towel and place in the microwave for about 1 minute or until heated through when ready to eat.
You could assemble sandwiches ahead of time and grill or toast when ready to eat. Just store them in an airtight container or zip top bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to toast them.
Freezing is not recommended for this sandwich.
Other Recipes to Try
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Easy Turkey Basil Pesto Panini
- 8 pieces sourdough bread
- 1 cup pesto
- ½ pound fontina cheese, sliced
- 1 ½ pounds turkey, sliced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Olive oil
- Lay bread slices on a flat surface. Spread pesto on each slice of bread. Divide the cheese among each slice of bread, placing it on top of the pesto. Set 4 slices aside.8 pieces sourdough bread, 1 cup pesto, ½ pound fontina cheese, sliced
- Divide the turkey among the 4 slices of bread, placing it on top of the cheese.1 ½ pounds turkey, sliced
- Divide the tomato slices among the 4 slices of bread, placing them on top of the turkey.2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Top with the remaining bread slices and lightly press down to secure. Brush both sides of sandwich with olive oil.Olive oil
- Grill or toast on medium-high heat until golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from heat and slice in half.