Turkey Pesto Panini
Growing up, we had a huge garden and planted everything from corn to raspberries to pumpkins. We spent a lot of time weeding and picking vegetables. By mid to late summer, we would have vegetables coming out of our ears. My siblings and I would take a wagon full of vegetables to the end of our street and sell them during the evening commute (I would even spritz them with water to give them that beautiful morning dew appearance)!
When my husband and I bought our house, I knew I wanted to have some type of garden but not *quite* to that scale. I settled on an herb garden 😂. About the smallest and easiest garden I could create (sorry Dad, I just don’t have your green thumb)!! I love planting herbs in the summer - just toss them in some pots, send the boys out to water them and I’ve got fresh herbs all summer long!
My kids, Jack and Will, love to water all of our plants and see how much they grow from week to week. Sometimes, we have so much basil and need to find a way to use it. Enter pesto! Homemade pesto is the perfect way to use a bunch of extra basil that would otherwise be wasted.
Pesto is so versatile - it can be mixed in with pasta, used as a spread on sandwiches, or as a dip for vegetables. You can even use it as a salad dressing - the options are endless. The best part is, it’s easy to make, it’s healthy and it can be stored in the freezer for later (just freeze it in an ice cube tray)!
For this recipe, I made Turkey Pesto Paninis with Provolone Cheese and Tomatoes. It sounds so simple, but with the homemade pesto, it tastes anything but simple! Those perfect panini lines on the sourdough bread, combined with turkey and melted cheese, topped with juicy tomatoes and finished with your bright and fresh pesto - yum!! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
This is a quick and easy meal that you can whip up in no time! If you really want to plan ahead, make the pesto the night before so when it comes time to dinner, all you have to do is assemble and cook the sandwiches. Easy peasy!
Turkey Pesto Panini
1 cup Pesto (can freeze leftover pesto in ice cube tray)
2 Turkey Pesto Paninis
Basil Pesto Ingredients
2 cups basil, packed
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 slices of sourdough bread*
4 Tbsp pesto
4 - 6 oz turkey lunch meat
4 slices provolone cheese
1 Roma tomato, sliced
For the Basil Pesto
Put the basil (just the leaves), garlic, parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor.
Pulse the basil pesto ingredients in the food processor until they are all combined.
When ready to serve the paninis, spray a grill pan ** with cooking oil and warm the pan with medium heat.
Spread 1 Tbsp of the pesto on each slice of bread and cover with 2 slices of cheese. Add the turkey to the sandwich and place it into the pan.
Cook the sandwich until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden and crispy.
Remove the sandwich from the heat and add slices of tomato.***
*You can use any type of bread that you would like but I love paninis made with sourdough bread.
**If you don’t have a grill pan, any other pan will do. You won’t get those grill marks but you will still get the delicious taste!
***If you think the pesto flavor will be too much for your kiddo, just skip it. Make them a turkey and cheese panini instead!
TIPS FOR INVOLVING KIDS
Have them help you grow and pick the basil. My kids thought it was so fun knowing they “made” the basil!
Let them help you measure out all of the ingredients for the pesto.
Give them control of the food processor, with supervision of course!! My boys absolutely LOVE when they can be in charge of some kitchen device!
Have them help you assemble the sandwiches before you cook them.