Turkey Pesto Sandwiches Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min. + standing
This turkey pesto sandwich has everything you crave for lunch: savory turkey, aromatic pesto, garden-fresh vegetables and gooey melted cheese.

Updated: Nov. 21, 2023

The ingredients in this turkey pesto sandwich may be simple, but when put together, the flavor combination is utterly sublime. This is the type of sandwich you’d expect to order at a fancy café. Now you can make it in the comfort of your very own kitchen.

Turkey Pesto Sandwich Ingredients

  • French bread: A sturdy loaf of French bread provides the base for this hearty sandwich. Stay away from something flimsy like white bread. This sandwich demands a mightier loaf.
  • Pesto: The bright, herbaceous flavor of basil pesto really shines in this recipe.
  • Freshly sliced deli turkey: This is not the place to skimp; turkey is the star of the show, after all. If your budget allows, buy the turkey meat directly from the deli counter. Otherwise, look for prepackaged meat with the fewest added ingredients.

Turkey Pesto Sandwiches With Sauces And TomatoesTMB Studio

Directions

Step 1: Prep the bread

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Horizontally cut the top fourth off the loaf of bread, and reserve. Carefully hollow out the bottom of the loaf, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. (Discard the removed bread, or save for another use.)

Step 2: Spread the pesto

Spread pesto on the cut side of the top and bottom of the bread.

Editor’s Tip: These are our favorite store-bought pesto brands. Got a little extra time on your hands? Learn how to make pesto from scratch.

Step 3: Layer the ingredients

Layer the turkey, cheeses, zucchini, tomatoes and onion in the bread bottom. Gently press the layers together. Replace the bread top.

Step 4: Wrap in foil, and bake

Wrap the sandwich tightly in aluminum foil, and place it on a baking sheet. Bake until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Turkey Pesto Sandwich Variations

  • Swap the cheeses: Fresh mozzarella would be a superb choice here. Or use a savory cheese, such as goat cheese, in place of the more mild provolone.
  • Use a robust tomato: Sub in sun-dried or oven-roasted tomatoes for the fresh tomato slices.
  • Go even bolder: Add a bit of boldness to the sandwich with the addition of jarred roasted red pepper strips.
  • Think outside the basil pesto box: We’ve got recipes for arugula pesto, sweet pea pesto, poblano pesto … The options are endless.
  • Remember the holidays: Keep this recipe in your back pocket for post-Thanksgiving lunches. Slices of home-roasted turkey would make a marvelous substitution for deli meat.

How to Store a Turkey Pesto Sandwich

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and are best eaten within three to five days.

How to Freeze a Turkey Pesto Sandwich

You can also assemble these sandwiches ahead and store them—unbaked—in the freezer. Just place the foil-wrapped sandwiches in a freezer-safe gallon bag or other freezer-safe container. When ready to cook, remove the sandwiches from the freezer, and thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then follow the directions from the recipe above to cook the sandwiches.

Turkey Pesto Sandwich Tips

Turkey Pesto Sandwiches on a Wooden BoardTMB Studio

What other types of bread work for a turkey pesto sandwich?

Breads that work for a turkey pesto sandwich include sourdough, ciabatta rolls or seeded multigrain. Really, any heartier bread that can hold up to the heft of the other ingredients will do for this sandwich.

(Psst: Don’t know the difference between a French and Italian loaf? Our guide to different types of bread can fill you in.)

Can you use a panini press for turkey pesto sandwiches?

Yes, you can use a panini press to make our turkey pesto sandwich. First, assemble the sandwich, then place the sandwich directly in the panini press. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sandwich is heated through and the bread is nice and toasty. You can also cook the turkey pesto sandwich on the stovetop: Oil a pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Place the sandwich in the pan, and top with a grill press or a heavy skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Then flip the sandwich over, and cook the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes.

What sides go well with turkey pesto sandwiches?

So many easy sides go well with a turkey pesto sandwich. Potato chips are classic. These are our picks for the best potato chips, or you could always go for homemade potato chips. Other no-brainer recipes? Our Green goddess salad, peach Caprese salad, or virtually any pasta salad recipe.

Turkey Pesto Sandwich

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread
  • 1 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 pound thinly sliced deli turkey
  • 1/2 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the top fourth off loaf of bread. Carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving a 1/2-in. shell. (Discard removed bread or save for another use.) Spread pesto on the inside of top and bottom of bread. Set top aside.
  2. In bottom of bread, layer turkey, cheese, zucchini, tomatoes and onion. Gently press layers together. Replace bread top and wrap tightly in foil.
  3. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until heated through, 25-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 544 calories, 30g fat (11g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 1828mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 3g fiber), 29g protein.

This yummy sandwich is easy to make and travels well to picnics and potlucks. Use any meat, veggies and cheese you like. —Marion Sundberg, Yorba Linda, California