Turkey + Pepper Panini

In November I bought myself a panini press. At first I thought it was just an impulse buy (it was) and when I came home and plugged it in, I swear to you I spent like a month straight grilling everything. We don’t even use the toaster now because we grill our bread for toast.

One of the things I like most about the panini press is that has the power to elevate sandwich making. You can get really creative with your ingredients/flavor combinations. I imagine if we were to rent a house on vacation, I’d pack my panini press with me. That’s how attached I am. Just ask my husband.

After Thanksgiving, I grilled turkey with horseradish cheddar, leftover cranberry sauce & turkey. I think I cried over the deliciousness. Cinnamon toast? DREAMY. Quesadillas with sexy grilled marks? No problem. Want a crispy piece of warm coffee cake? OMG it worked!

It’s the grill marks that get me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

This here turkey/pepper/pesto panini is one of my favorite combinations right now. I used pepperjack cheese to add spice & homemade pesto for flavor. The peppers & turkey are my protein & vegetable additions. You see that crust? It’s SO CRUNCHY and the insides are so ooey gooey. I just can’t deal. I’m ridiculously obsessed with a  panini press… Don’t try and stop me.

And we’re off! Gather your ingredients. Trim the ends off the foccacia. Eat the end pieces if you must.

I bet artichoke hearts would be good in this too. Think about it!

Slice up the cheese.

Spread pesto evenly on both sides of the foccacia.

We’re gonna start layering! READY? Turkey layer. Put down 4 slices.

The pepper layer is second! Drain your peppers. Layer them down.

Then we add the cheese!

Then you top with another layer of turkey, sprinkle with salt & pepper and you close the lid on that sandwich.

DONE! Now we heat up our panini press. We brush both sides with a little bit of olive oil.

Put the sandwich in the press and it becomes a panini.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook on HIGH. You want to hear the cheese sizzling.

That’s the sign that it’s just about ready to come out.

I learned from Rick M. formerly of Rick’s Wine Cellar that you take it off when the sandwich speaks to you.

Cheese speaks the magical panini language.

And here we have our GIGANTIC panini hot off the press. Cut it in half.

This could serve 2 people….or 3…or 4….

Just keep cutting little sections and see how much you can eat.

Let’s take one last look at that crispy crust.

Panini for breakfast lunch and dinner? OK.

Once you get a panini press, there’s no looking back. Promise.

Turkey + Pepper Panini

serves 3-4

  • 1  8×12 inch slab herbed foccacia, edges trimmed
  • 5-6 tablespoons fresh pesto
  • 8 slices roasted turkey breast
  • 1 8oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 4 oz. pepperjack cheese (about 3-4 slices)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper

Heat panini press to HIGH. Trim off the ends of foccacia and cut in half to create a sandwich. Spread half of pesto on each side. Top one side with 4 slices of turkey followed by a layer of thinly sliced red peppers, pepperjack cheese and a final layer of 4 slices of turkey. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Top the sandwich with the other piece of bread and brush both sides of sandwich with olive oil. Place sandwich in panini press and grill for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts & starts sizzling. Cut into 4-6 pieces and serve.

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56 Comments

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  • January 14, 2013

    oh.my.goodness. looks so delicious!

  • January 14, 2013

    i see a green juice in the background and i really enjoy your lime slice. love you maj!

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      Sparkling water with lime. Love you back, MAJ.

  • January 14, 2013

    Man that is some serious pannini porn. That’s right, I said it!

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      Damn straight!!!

  • January 14, 2013

    LOVE that panini press, that’s the kind my parents have! Look at those grill marks, maj!

  • January 14, 2013

    Just got a panini press. I don’t think I can get this sandwich in it fast enough. YUM!

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      Fantastic!!! Let the games begin!

  • January 14, 2013

    I’ve wanted a panini press for a while…but, now I’m convinced that it will change my life. also, my husband would just freak out if he could have grilled sandwiches on the regular.

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      DO IT.

  • January 14, 2013

    I looked. I had to.

    Did you know that Oprah reportedly (as in she said this to a room full of people at Facebook and my friend works there and told me) claims that her panini press is her favorite thing? I want to hear you discuss paninis in Oprah voice, thanksbye.

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      Oh my GOODNESS. This delights me to no end!

  • Kali
    January 14, 2013

    I got a panini press for Christmas from my grandparents a number of years ago, and it’s STILL my go-to kitchen appliance! It’s an obsession. It’s fantastic.

  • January 14, 2013

    ummmmm #obsessed. can you imagine all the panini’s we will eat when we are neighbors? It’s going to be bananas.

  • January 14, 2013

    You could open a panini store. It would be beyond imPRESSive.

    • Tracy
      January 14, 2013

      I see what you did there!!! And I love it.

  • Barb
    January 14, 2013

    Could a George Forman Grill work the same as a panini press? If not, I just need the excuse to add to my kitchen collection.

  • January 14, 2013

    Wow! I’m coming over for lunch!

    Seriously though. I keep debating whether or not I should put a panini press on our wedding registry, because it would be awesome, but keep concluding that it is a luxury I don’t need… but this sandwich might change my mind! And that’s what wedding registries are for, right?

  • Sarah J
    January 14, 2013

    That’s an awesome grill! My husband gave it to me for my birthday a couple years ago and I was a little disappointed with getting another kitchen appliance instead of jewelry… until we tried it out. Now we use it a few times a week. :) And you can get plates to turn it into a waffle maker!

  • January 14, 2013

    I got a grill/waffle iron/griddle for christmas, I bet the grill would work as a panini press, maybe not as great as a great one but damn I need this sandwich so I’m going to try!!! :)

  • January 14, 2013

    This looks ah-mazing. :)

  • January 14, 2013

    My Dad got me the same Griddler last year for my birthday. I’ve made a similar sandwich, but with chicken. I need to break it out again now!!

  • amanda barkey
    January 14, 2013

    dang girl! that is one killer looking sandwich!

  • Steph
    January 14, 2013

    Have you ever posted a pesto recipe? :)

  • January 14, 2013

    YES PLEASE. I don’t have a panini press, though, so I’m totally going to just scheme about doing this as grilled cheese or in the toaster oven. It will still be amazing!

  • January 14, 2013

    I love that picture of the ooey goey cheese, magically delicious!

  • January 14, 2013

    I want one! A panini press and the sandwich too! YUM!

  • January 14, 2013

    Agreed, panini presses are kitchen magic. I’m dreaming of toasted coffee cake now, btw!

  • January 14, 2013

    I absolutely love putting roasted peppers in my sandwiches. Also, I don’t know if a cold sandwich will ever look appealing to me ever again after seeing pictures of that amazing panini!

  • January 14, 2013

    Oh Tracy! Big mistake looking at this while at end of day 1 of a juice cleanse. Big mistake. One very big delicious mistake. I’m gonna go drink my juice now and wish it was this panini. Real bad.

  • January 14, 2013

    Tracy!!! Those grill marks. I’m just about to cry. So beautiful. I love sandwiches so so much but panini. Oh my, I can’t even start. Maybe this is a sign that I should finally take the plunge and get one.

  • January 14, 2013

    all of that pesto… i LOVE pesto! and roasted red peppers… and everything else you added into the panini. I’d love to make this tomorrow.. for breakfast, but I don’t have a grill *cries*

  • Miriam
    January 15, 2013

    Looks soooo good. I think I’m gonna make it for lunch tomorrow! But what a great tutorial, I really like the step-to-step thing. Oh my, it just looks so delicious..

  • I have that same press and am equally obsessed! We just can’t eat cold sandwiches any more.

  • Tracy
    January 15, 2013

    I bought a panini press a few years ago and it’s been one of my favorite things…my girlfriends (and my kids’ friends) love to come to our house for lunch. There is just something about making a mommy friend a deliciously crispy melty & warm panini for lunch. With a couple of chips. And a Diet Coke. It really means love :)

  • January 15, 2013

    That looks so good!!!! I dont have a technical “panini” press, but I have a grill pan with a press that is basically the same thing. I love it, have you tried cooking chicken in your panini? It is so easy when it is not weather worthy to grill outside. If only I could eat gluten so I could eat some of that wonderful bread. I guess my yucky gluten free bread will have to do.

  • January 15, 2013

    I’ve been resisting buying a panini press for about two years, thinking that it would be a piece of kitchen equipment that I wouldn’t use. I never thought of it replacing the toaster! And now that sandwich? I’m very tempted to go out and buy one. Right now.

    • Tracy
      January 15, 2013

      I like it because you can really control how toasted your toast gets AND the bread gets really flat and crunch!

  • January 15, 2013

    Buying a panini press was the best thing I’ve ever done!! I’m always looking for new concoctions to try out for sandwhiches! This has my mouth watering even though I just had alunch!! I love anything with pesto too!! I will definitely be making this!!! =) Thank you!

    • Tracy
      January 15, 2013

      Great! Now you won’t mind if my website becomes nothing but panini. HA

  • January 15, 2013

    I have the same panini press and I am obsessed. Although…I’ve never actually used it to make a panini! I use the flat plates a lot for grilled cheeses, burgers, pancakes, etc. This panini looks delicious though, and it is going on my must make list!

  • Jenny
    January 15, 2013

    This looks delicious! This is definitely a sandwich I would pay for at a restaurant.

  • fusilliamy
    January 15, 2013

    Grill marks are stripes! No wonder you love it :)

  • January 15, 2013

    YUM!!! I could eat a panini everyday.

  • Kali
    January 16, 2013

    Oh, and made this sandwich for dinner last night! had to make two, they were so good!!!

  • Holly
    January 16, 2013

    I just finished eating this panini and it was SO good. Another yummy recipe to add to my Shutterbean favorites!

  • January 17, 2013

    I am now in love with your panini press also. & yet I find myself demonstrably without a delicious panini. Must rectify this. Dang that sandwich looks SO good.
    HEidi xo

  • January 18, 2013

    Back in October my aunt offered to give me her panini press that she never uses. But my family is so spacey and scatterbrained that we both forgot about it by the end of the weekend. Now I’m KICKING myself!! I make paninis using my cast iron skillet (smash!) but I want those grill marks!!

    Great flavor combos going on here. Sounds so good.

    • Tracy
      January 19, 2013

      Get that panini press!!! Nothing should be holding you back now!!

  • January 19, 2013

    Looks absolutely delicious – I don’t have a panini press but I will workout how to make this anyway!
    xo Emily

  • February 10, 2013

    loved this tonight, though we only had cheddar, so… the turkey/broccoli panini is up tomorrow!

  • February 16, 2013

    I bought a panini press during a random Target shopping trip and I have to say, it’s been slightly life changing. Sandwiches/paninis for dinner have become the best dinner ever :) I can’t believe I haven’t tried quesadillas yet.

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