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Roasted Turkey Panini Recipe with Arugula Pesto Mayo

Sandwiches. What’s more American than that? Maybe apple pie and the Statue of Liberty. Maybe. Regardless, the sandwich is a classic American icon. It’s commonly consumed by all age groups and all income types. In fact, according to industry experts Americans eat an average of 193 sandwiches per year. That’s amazing. I’m personally a huge fan of sandwiches, a good sharp cheddar grilled cheese being among my favorite.


Today we’ve got a great sandwich for you to add to your repertoire – a roasted turkey panini recipe with tomato, smoked mozzarella and arugula pesto mayo. I’m sure you remember my arugula pesto recipe from January. This recipe utilizes some of that pesto to make a tangy, creamy sandwich spread. I used my handy-dandy stove top grill for this sandwich too, and it provided the perfect finish. Sandwiches are pretty easy overall so let’s chit-chat about the ingredients and methods then we’ll just get right to the recipe.

OK, let’s start with the meat. While I used roasted turkey for this recipe, you can use a smoked turkey or honey baked turkey for this recipe if you so desire. Even roasted chicken would work fine. Remember, this is supposed to be fun, easy and convenient. Not a huge pain in the … I really like the way roasted turkey tastes and for this particular sandwich I sourced my turkey from Whole Foods. It was so flavorful and juicy. YUM. Best sliced turkey I’ve ever had.


The pesto mayo lends a tangy and delicious flavor base to the sandwich. It’s a very easy combination – arugula pesto mixed with mayo. I like to smear it on both pieces of bread for an extra flavorful sandwich. In the end, we’re only using 2 teaspoons of the pesto mayo per sandwich so we’re definitely not overdoing it here. Don’t be afraid to live a little, folks.


Something I’ve heard much about but really hadn’t tried until recently is smoked mozzarella. I’m hooked now. It’s similar to the texture of a regular whole milk mozzarella but has a nice smoky flavor to it. If you’re not able to get smoked mozzarella from your local cheesemonger (wait, you don’t have one of those??) or grocery store, feel free to substitute regular whole milk mozzarella. The flavors won’t be as pronounced but to remedy that, you can use smoked turkey instead to get that delicious smokiness.


Last but certainly not least, the sour dough bread. I like using sour dough for panini and grilled sandwiches because I like the crispy crust that the sour dough creates. This recipe calls for both pieces of bread to be buttered on the outside so that we get a perfectly crispy crust. Don’t worry, I walk you through how to butter the bread in the recipe below. You’ll simply butter one side prior to putting the sandwich on the grill and then once on the grill you can easily butter the other side. Easy and done!


Now that we’ve covered the main ingredients, let’s talk cooking method. I hope by now that you’ve acquired a stove top grill (if not, go now and get one!). As I’ve said before Academy Sports and Outdoors has one for $10. Hard to beat that. I’m sure Wal-Mart sells one for a comparable price. Remember to look in the camping section in Academy and I think Wal-Mart has a cast iron section in their cooking section… but it probably depends on the store. In some places you probably need to go to the camping section. I know my hometown Wal-Mart is like that.


Anyway – cooking method! So I cooked my sandwich on my stove top grill. For those of you lucky enough to have a panini maker, please use that. If you have neither, you can easily cook this sandwich in a skillet. You just won’t have the signature panini grill marks, which I guess is OK… The sandwich cooks pretty quickly – it’s really just toasting bread – and then you’re ready to dive head first into deliciousness.

I want…no, I need a sandwich. You too? Great, let’s get to the recipe!

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Roasted Turkey Panini Recipe with Arugula Pesto Mayo

This roasted turkey panini recipe features arugula pesto mayo along with smoked mozzarella and roma tomatoes all presented on crispy sour dough bread. Make the perfect lunch or dinner sandwich.


Arugula Pesto Mayo:
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 4 teaspoons arugula pesto mayo
  • 1/2 pound sliced roasted turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 4 slices of roma tomato
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


  1. To make the arugula pesto mayo, simply mix the mayo and pesto together until fully incorporated.
  2. Next spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of arugula pesto
  3. Divide the turkey between two slices of bread and each with half of the mozzarella and tomatoes.
  4. Place the other two slices of bread on top.
  5. Smear the outside of the top of the sandwiches with butter.
  6. Preheat a stovetop grill over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
  7. Place the sandwich, butter side down on the grill. While the sandwich is on the grill, butter the side that's up.
  8. After 2 minutes flip the sandwich and cook another two minutes on the second side.
  9. Remove from heat, cut each in half at an angle and serve.

Add 10 minutes to prep time if you need to make the arugula pesto. The arugula pesto mayo will keep in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container.

Prep:10 minutes

Cook:5 minutes

Total:15 minutes

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