There are few things my husband loves more than sandwiches. I mean he loves Jesus, me, and our son, but I honestly think sandwiches may be next. I created this Spicy Italian Turkey Pesto Sandwich recipe with him in mind. It is piled high with Boar's head turkey and soppressata, finely chopped giardiniera and pesto are pressed into a golden brown demi baguette, fresh mozzarella, thick slices of tomato, baby arugula leaves… Are you drooling yet? Think of this sandwich as an italian sub combined with a pesto grilled cheese combined with a turkey sandwich. I'll share with you the keys to making a killer sandwich and some helpful tips for getting creative with your sandwich making!
- Demi French Baguette (you could also use sourdough bread!
- olive oil
- turkey breast lunch meat
- basil pesto
- giardiniera, chopped fine
- tomato slices
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- fresh baby arugula
Begin by slicing your demi baguette in half lengthwise. Heat a cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Place bread on hot skillet, cut side down and allow to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
While your bread is toasting, prepare the rest of your sandwich toppings. I like to chop the giardineria up finely so that it really gets into the nooks and crannies of the crusty bread!
Remove grilled bread from skillet and spread pesto on to the cut side of the bottom of the loaf. Add giardineria and remaining toppings. Finish with the other browned piece of baguette and serve.
Want to make this into a turkey pesto grilled cheese? Simply follow the previous steps and finish it on a panini press for 3-4 minutes until the mozzarella cheese is melted!
What makes a great sandwich?
Sandwiches are easy, but making one into a true "creation" is an art form. You need four key things here:
- Bread. Sourdough, baguette, tortilla, whole wheat, etc.
- Key ingredient. (generally a meat or multiple meats)
- Additional toppings. Veggies, fermented toppings, pickles, etc.
- Spread. Mayo, Mustard, olive oil, vinegar, pesto, etc.
I often like to start with one of the four key things, and build off of that. If I know that I have a certain spread I want to use (say, pesto), then I think "what works well with pesto?" and go from there! I also like to think of dishes that I already love and use them as inspiration for making a sandwich.
Dishes that could inspire great sandwiches
- Chicken Parmesan (chicken breast, marinara sauce, mozzarella, basil)
- Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing) See my example here!
- Pizza (pepperoni, marinara sauce, mozzarella, additional veggies)
- Hot wings (grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese dressing, iceberg)
Soppressata is an italian cured meat. It is often made from pork, but can also be made from beef. It is made using a coarser grind than salami, and often has red pepper flakes mixed in. It is salted and then air dried to cure.
A demi baguette is simply a baguette, that is demi, or half, the size of a regular baguette. A baguette is a long french bread that is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
There are all types of fun variations. But in its simplest form, pesto is basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
If unopened, fresh mozzarella can last a few days to up to a week past the sell by date. The key here is UNOPENED. Fresh mozzarella cheese generally comes vacuum sealed or in liquid (a brine or water) with a plastic seal on top. These measures help to ensure the cheese stays fresh.
Once opened, you have about 3-4 days to use or freeze the remaining before you run the risk of it going rancid.
Looking for more sandwich inspo?
Spicy Italian Turkey Pesto Sandwich
- 1 demi baguette
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ pound turkey breast lunchmeat
- 4 slices sopressata
- 2 tbsp. basil pesto
- 2 tbsp. giardiniera chopped fine
- 4 slices tomato
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
- 1 cup fresh baby arugula
- Begin by slicing your demi baguette in half lengthwise. Heat a cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Place bread on hot skillet, cut side down and allow to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- While your bread is toasting, prepare the rest of your sandwich toppings. I like to chop the giardineria up finely so that it really gets into the nooks and crannies of the crusty bread!
- Remove grilled bread from skillet and spread pesto on to the cut side of the bottom of the loaf. Add giardineria and remaining toppings. Finish with the other browned piece of baguette and serve!
Yum! My hubby really enjoyed this sandwich for lunch today! Quick and easy, but so flavorful! Definitely making this again soon!