These Turkey Pesto Paninis have been a fan-favorite for YEARS. They come together quickly, make a great lunch, dinner, or last-minute weeknight meal. You can even make them in bulk and freeze them! The pesto brings a great taste and the sun-dried tomatoes add a punch of flavor that puts them over the top.
Considering the simplicity of this recipe, I cannot believe how fabulous they are. They are one of the few recipes from this site that we chose to go into our cookbook, From Freezer to Table. They have proven to be a favorite among website visitors AND cookbook users.
What Makes a Great Turkey Pesto Panini
Let’s talk about the ingredients, shall we?
TURKEY – I prefer to use deli sliced turkey. It’s fresher, healthier (less preservatives), and just tastes better. Shredded turkey would be a delicious alternative too! This can be a great recipe to use up some from a smoked or fried turkey from Thanksgiving! Another great sub for this panini is shredded chicken. Totally yum!
PESTO – The fresher the better! My first choice would be to use our homemade Pesto recipe. And when I say “first choice”, I mean this choice is FAR ahead of my other choices. My second choice would be refrigerated pesto. I found that I like this kind a bit more than the jarred kind.
SUN-DRIED TOMATOES – I’ve used both dry-packed and the jarred kind in these paninis and both will work. I do prefer the jarred kind a bit more than the dried ones but it really comes down to what you prefer.
BREAD – This can be played with a bit too. I do love a good ciabatta roll for this type of panini, but I’ve also been known to use sour dough bread.
Can You Freeze Paninis?
Many don’t think of a panini as a freezer meal. The great news is, they work great to make ahead and freeze! I especially love them because like many of our Freezer Meals for 1-2 People, they can be individually wrapped before freezing. That way you can pull one out at a time!
TO FREEZE: Wrap the (uncooked) sandwiches individually in foil, place in a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze.
TO PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Unwrap and thaw using the microwave defrost setting or in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Cook as directed.
Do I Need a Panini Press to Make these?
Nope! I don’t even own one. I simply use a cast iron skillet to sit on top of them while they are cooking to give that panini-squished-sandwich feel.
What Goes Well with Turkey Pesto Paninis?
Here are some side dish ideas that would go well with this sandwich.Print
Did you know that Paninis can make a great freezer meal?! Considering the simplicity of this recipe, I cannot believe how great these freezer friendly Turkey Pesto Paninis are. To make them a freezer meal, simply assemble them and wrap them up before cooking. You can of course eat them fresh too. So simple and so delicious!
- 6 whole wheat ciabatta rolls (or 12 slices of sourdough)
- 6–12 slices provolone cheese
- ½ cup Pesto
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 pound all-natural deli turkey slices 2–3 tablespoons softened butter
To Make One Sandwich
- Butter the outside of both pieces of bread.
- Then spread pesto on the inside of both pieces.
- Add 1-2 slices of Swiss cheese.
- Add turkey.
- Heat skillet to medium-high heat.
- Place sandwich on heated skillet. Leave long enough for cheese to melt or until the bread gets toasted to your preference.
- When you flip it the first time, make sure to press down on the sandwich with a spatula. Do this a few times throughout cooking.
- Feel free to play with the ingredients.
Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze: Follow steps 1-4. Wrap uncooked sandwiches tightly and freeze.
To Prepare from Frozen: Thaw. Follow steps 5-7.